ADVICE FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
For some of you this will be your first year of homeschooling and for some of you it may be one of many, but regardless of whether or not you are a newcomer a bit of support is always welcome.
First and foremost, stay calm: I guarantee you won't do worse than public school, even if you tried. Okay, maybe not if you tried, because you could lock your children up in a room all day (most of us can resist the temptation); if so, public school might be the better option. However, if you're an ordinary mom or dad with some interesting books in your house, which your children can read and learn from, chances are they will learn much more at home than from a public school even if you took a passive role in their education, which many people known as "unschoolers" do. Their children still turn out literate, which makes one question the validity of 8 hours of public school and homework on the weekends, especially when 1/3 of these publicly schooled children will be illiterate and unable to get an entry level job, but more on this another time.
So, again, stay calm and breathe. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, as you will at times, remember why we do this: we homeschool to nurture the love of learning and encourage autodidacts. Sure, we could add other reasons to our list, like character development and a solid education that equips our children with the tools to get into college (even the Ivy Leagues), but if we keep this one idea in mind at all times, maybe even make a banner and hang it in our homeschool room or where we spend the most time, we will remember not to get too overwhelmed, as this will affect our children. The world is vast, knowledge is infinite, our children will not know everything by the time they go to college; homeschooling is a journey, a means to an end, a love of learning that carries us through life and ends with our end. But sure, we do want to get in a few required classes, too.
REMEMBER, IT'S YOUR SCHEDULE
Assuming you have decided upon your educational philosophy, you've got your curriculum worked out, you've bought your supplies for the year (or the week, as some of us just aren't planners, and that's fine too), then it is a matter of diving in. Which brings me to one of my favorite homeschooling perks, and that is being free to choose our own schedule. Life happens, and when it does remember that you do not have to take long summer vacations. Many homeschoolers choose to take shorter breaks and continue their learning throughout the year. If you move, have a baby, deal with an illness or any of the other upheavals life can throw at us, you can take a break from a daily homeschooling routine, and pick it up when things calm down. It's a good time to teach children priorities; like caring for others matters more than getting the work done, a truth we often times forget when growing up in the West. Depending upon the circumstances, you can also turn any unexpected event into a formal learning adventure with a little creativity.
Make learning enjoyable, interesting, and allow your children plenty of time to engage in the pursuits that fascinate them, as well as whatever academic goals you have set for the year. You can build a curriculum around any subject; be creative and let the world be your classroom, as much as possible. Remember that you are doing your best and you can do no more than that; your best will be good enough and your children will too. You really cannot ruin them by homeschooling,* as many people irrationally fear, but you will enrich them in ways you least expect.
Be strong. Be Brave. Be flexible.
For myself, it's my first year of officially not homeschooling, so lest I should miss it, I am going to organize a couple of classes that I can teach for other people's children. I am also available to help you tackle any homeschooling challenges through my consultation service.
*If you have your children in a public school online charter program such as K-12, this statement does apply, because you can thwart their learning with the lack of academically challenging material and harm them through the excessive use of technology, .