If you are a new homeschooler, one thing you’ll soon realize is that homeschool parents learn as much, if not more, than their kids do! This is new territory for most of us, and in addition to brushing up on grammar rules, the Magna Carta, and photosynthesis, we find ourselves searching out information on learning styles, organizational methods, parenting skills, discipleship, and education philosophies. Added to the titles of Mom/Dad, Teacher, Counselor, Coach, Chauffeur, Nurse, Cook, Wife/Husband is the title of… Student! As a Student of Homeschooling, you have some homework to do. The more time and effort you put into this, the better your “grade” will be.
1. First of all, spend time with God, in prayer and in His Word, every day. Keep a notebook close by, and jot down praises and petitions, scripture, and any special insight that comes to you during this time. This is your anchor, your firm foundation – whether your day is calm or chaotic. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Count your blessings.
2. Be a learner! Always be reading at least one book on homeschooling or parenting or Christian life – even just a few pages a day. The public library has lots to choose from. Go to homeschool workshops and seminars. There are hundreds of homeschool websites, articles, and blogs online – enough to give you fresh ideas and insight and inspiration every day of the year!
I created an Amazon list of recommended reading for homeschool moms (or dads). https://a.co/0uRlbFx
3. Find Titus 2 women. These are the more experienced homeschoolers in your support group, church, family –learn from them. Don’t be a Lone Ranger ! Attend support group meetings and workshops. Join a mentor group. Visit online homeschooling forums. You’ll find that there really isn’t anything new under the sun … The encouragement and support of others will be invaluable to you in this endeavor, and nobody can really understand like another homeschooler. Not only will God bring people into your life to bless and encourage you, but you will be able to bless and encourage others as well! This is the power of community.
4. Become a student of your children! Learn about each of them – their strengths, their weaknesses, their dreams, their fears, their likes, their dislikes. Homeschooling is not just about teaching academics, but also about helping your child develop godly character, grow strong and healthy in body and mind, and nurture his or her unique talents and abilities. Write out goals for each child in the areas of academic, spiritual, emotional, and physical growth.
5. Make your home a child-friendly learning environment! Take an honest look around. Is your home a cluttered, disorganized mess? Is it so neat and “perfect” that it could be featured in a magazine, but not really welcome exploration, discovery and creativity by a 10-year-old? It is not necessary to turn your home into a “school” – you are, after all, a family. But there are some things you can do to make your home a COOL place to learn. If you need to declutter and organize your home, check out FlyLady.net or OrganizedHome.com for help. Your kids will need a comfortable place to curl up with books, and a table or desk at which to write or color or do a puzzle or science project. Baskets, plastic crates, or cloth bins can hold a child’s school materials and supplies. Dedicate a wall, bulletin board or the refrigerator as a display place for your children’s special work. Hang up a time line or a white board. A little at a time, invest in things like bookshelves; computers; art supplies; a globe; good resource books like a dictionary, thesaurus, world atlas, field guides and writing handbook; good children’s magazines like Discover or Cricket or Nature Friend; educational games and DVDs ; maps; a copy machine; a magnifying glass, binoculars, telescope, microscope ; musical instruments . Whatever will encourage your children to explore the world, stretch their imaginations, dig deeper, develop their talents, and become lifelong learners! Put limits on “fluff entertainment” like tv shows, movies, , computer games so that your children will learn to use their imaginations and explore the world beyond the “screen”.
6. LAUGH. Enjoy your children and the time you have with them. Delight in their accomplishments and antics. Join in their games and activities. Develop a sense of humor, tell jokes, be silly. There is a time to be serious, but also a time to be lighthearted. This will do wonders to knit your family together and create treasured memories.
7. Make your spouse and your marriage a top priority. There is a danger in homeschooling families for things to get out of balance and become totally child-centered. As much as we love our children and are dedicated to providing everything we can for them, we must not forget that they also NEED a mom and dad who love each other and are a strong team. This takes work. Be creative. Make a commitment to spend time alone together every week, talking about and enjoying life TOGETHER. Invest in your relationship and build a stronger family because of it. Family Life and Focus on the Family are two great Christian organizations that offer a variety of resources for this.