How do you start homeschooling? Begin with a goal!
I’m going to start working through the questions from the homeschooling post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to start at the top and work my way down, so never fear…I will eventually get to your question. 🙂
This question came from Allison:
My biggest question is “How do I begin?” What is the very first thing that you did when you started this process. With so much to choose from, I can’t seem to focus on any one thing.
My beginning is a bit different. I didn’t know there was so much to choose from.
Ignorance is indeed bliss!
I had one catalog and it was NOT Rainbow Resource! It was a small publication from a small company called Keepers of the Faith. I purchased Rod & Staff Preschool Books, a McGuffy Reader, and an antiquated math program called Ray’s Arithmetic (you can get an updated version HERE). Somehow I managed to teach my son to count and read with such incredibly outdated materials. (said with a hint of sarcasm and an eye roll…)
The next year I was introduced to Rainbow Resource and I read that catalog…all 2000 pages of it…cover to cover. But, alas, money was tight and I knew I could not afford much from it. So, I purchased an all-in-one curriculum that is no longer published and once again, “made do.” My son continued to thrive.
However, I kept feeling the need to change things up…try new things I saw at all those homeschool conventions I had started attending…and ultimately, I made my life miserable.
I give you this sad tale for several reasons:
1) To say that there is no perfect curriculum.
2) To say that you can teach your child with anything.
3) To say that if you don’t know where you are going, you will end up miserable.
The first two are fairly self-explanatory. I had one curriculum choice when I started and yet, my son learned to read. I was not discontent until I knew there were choices. Prior to that I just used what I had. Like I said earlier…ignorance is bliss!
But let’s work through point #3:
I’m going to just lay it out here…
Without goals, you will eventually get terribly muddled and confused.
At least, I did.
And goals are not as scary as they might sound. They are simply a place to focus your efforts, so you don’t get lost in the many, many homeschooling options there are out there!
So what is the number one thing you should do when you set out to homeschool?
Pray and ask the Lord to define your homeschool.
Ask what His goals are for your family. Who are you as a family and how does homeschooling support who you are? You don’t have to have some fancy document signed and notarized, but I would encourage you to write it out, post it, refer to it often.
Do you need a certain curriculum that works with your goals? Perhaps, but more than likely ANYTHING you use will work if you master the curriculum and don’t let it master you. Yes, there are styles that fit better with certain personalities, but you truly can use just about anything if you keep your goals at the forefront of your homeschool.
So, THAT is what I wish I had done when I began homeschooling. I wish I would have had direction. I wish I would have stopped looking for the perfect curriculum instead of spending years searching for an animal that does not exist. I wish I had known that in God’s eyes, academics are secondary.
Start the journey with an end in mind!