To be a successful homeschooling family you must be a super mom, married to a super dad, parenting genius kids, and have mountains of resources and tons of free time – and even then it’s a gamble! Something like 99% of homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers agree on this one point.
In fact, one of the few things homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers agree on is that homeschooling is very hard work! So, when I tell people that anyone can homeschool, they think I’m being kind. When I say homeschooling is a piece of cake, they assume I’m joking. And when I declare, we only do school 30-45 minutes a day, they think I’m just bragging.
So, let me just rephrase my statement: Homeschooling is a piece of cake for those who …
Believe that God knew what He was doing when He assigned parents, not schools, the job of raising children.
Reject the school model. If public schools have taught us anything, it is what “not” to do! Examine your own homeschool and ask, “Do we do this because it is best, or because it is the habit of public educators?” Nothing should get an automatic go. Scrutinize grading, testing, class size, length of school year, age segregation, socializing, curriculum, standards, grade objectives, teaching styles and recess. Do not stop your purge, until you’ve considered striking the “school” out of homeschool!
Ignore the psycho babble. If you have your children taking learning style tests, personality tests, or learning disability tests you are on the wrong track. These theories were created so that psychologists and psychiatrists would have something to pedal, not because they enhance learning.
Empower children to teach themselves. As soon as your children can read, the teaching balance should begin to shift from you to them. Not only does this take the pressure off of you, but you will find that children who teach themselves learn faster, retain their lessons longer and develop a genuine respect for learning.
Also, there is no law against allowing an older siblings to help teach their younger brothers and sisters. My daughter is only 5, but she does at least half of her “learning” by herself. She has also proven to be a great teacher for her 3-year-old sister. By the time Audrey is seven or eight, I expect she will be her own primary teacher.
Discipline their children. If your children are out of control, homeschooling will be painful. You might even feel the temptation to throw in the towel just so that the schools can deal with your children. On the other hand, properly disciplined children are a joy to be around and make homeschooling a source of pleasure and inspiration.
Limit their time, energy and money. If you do not set limits, homeschooling will overwhelm you, devouring you and your children. You could always invest more, but that does not mean that you should. After all, there is more to life than schooling.
Lead their homeschool. If you try to follow all the homeschooling advice, you will end up going around and around in circles. Homeschooling is an art, not science. There is no “best” way, but several really good ones. So consider all the advice and then decide what works best for your family.
Do you have any advice for new homeschoolers? Please share your wisdom in the comments!
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