There are a lot of moms out there who are just beginning their homeschooling journey and have tons of questions. Some have yet to start and are in the planning and pondering stages. Quite a few have already gotten started, but feel like they don’t really know what they are doing. And there are still more who have been doing it for a while and still feel completely lost.
This homeschooling thing is a daunting task.
While there are plenty of things I wish someone had told me about homeschooling, I also realize many moms just need to know they are going to a good job. The specifics will sort themselves out.
That said, there are a few things you should consider in the early days of your homeschooling efforts – perhaps even before you get started.
1. Why are you choosing to homeschool?
I’m going to tell you straight up – the answer to this will probably change over time. It did for me. Ultimately, you need to know why you are doing this. You will get questions from others. You will even get questions from yourself. Homeschooling isn’t all sunshine and roses, so you need to be firmly planted when the storms come.
2. What are the laws in your state?
This is one of those things I really don’t like to talk about because it drains the joy out of nearly every homeschool mom. However, you really need to know the laws in your particular state because every state has different laws regarding homeschooling. Most home schools are considered private non-accredited schools. HSLDA has state-by-state information regarding homeschooling so you can be certain you are fulfilling the requirements of your state.
My word of caution here is to not let your state laws stress you out. Many homeschoolers believe their state laws to be more stringent and confining than they actually are. I live in a very lenient state that does not require much in the way of reporting; however, many homeschoolers I run into here believe our state requires testing and other things it actually does not require. HSLDA can help you make sense of your laws and keep your homeschooling experience from being a nightmare.
3. Where will your support come from?
Homeschooling is not easy. It is important you prepare now for the support you will need later. Support can come in all sorts of forms: your husband, your mom, your church, a local support group, blogs, online communities. And never, ever forget, the best support for you is the Word of God. When everyone else seems against you, God’s Word stands firm and builds you up in running the race and striving toward the goal ahead. Don’t walk into homeschooling unequipped. (Two books that speak to the homeschooling mom are Psalms & Proverbs – read them often!)
4. What are your daily goals?
It is important to know where you are going every day with your homeschooling efforts. Know what subjects you want to teach, know what your teaching style is, know what you would like your days to look like, and know what you want to accomplish. Also, know life happens and you will always need to be reevaluating your daily goals.
5. What is your end goal?
Daily goals are great, but they become meaningless if you aren’t looking toward an end goal. What are you hoping to have accomplished by the time your children are finished with their homeschooling years? Where do you hope they will be in their relationship with Christ? Are you looking toward college, trade school, something else? Are you preparing now for where you want to be at the end? Run toward the prize – it will help you stay focused.
6. What is your budget?
Have you counted the cost of homeschooling? This isn’t just about your financial budget, but also concerning your time and energy, your relationships with others, as well as those within your family. Homeschooling costs. Even if you find a way to homeschool for free, you still must understand that there are other costs involved, and learn to budget for those costs.
Don’t let your marriage fall apart because you are too busy homeschooling the children.
Don’t let your relationship with your children suffer because you are too busy being a schoolmarm.
Be prepared for friends and family who don’t homeschool to question what you are doing. Remember a gentle answer turns away wrath.
Learn to budget your time and energy to avoid burnout.
Be strong in the Lord!
7. Keep learning about your children!
Your children are blessings that keep on growing! They are not static and unchanging, so don’t school them that way. Watch for those sparks of interest. Feed the good stuff, avoid feeding the not-so-pleasant things. Talk with them often. Learn who they are, and who they want to be. Never, ever forget in Whose image they were created!
Looking for encouragement as a homeschool mom? Check out my Homeschooling page here on Raising Arrows!