Today I had an opportunity to share via phone, and then email, with a mom who is pulling her daughter out of public school NOW, at the end of the school year. What I have copied below is almost exactly what I sent to her via email. I wanted to post it here, as they are words I wish someone had said to me when I first began homeschooling.
1) My first advice is to take a deep breath! It can feel overwhelming to be taking such a drastic step, especially if it’s sudden. Things will be fine, you just have to figure some stuff out. And believe me, even after 6 years, I constantly have to figure ‘stuff’ out!
2) Check out the web site for HSLDA.
There is great information there regarding homeschooling laws. Arming yourself with correct information will help you to be prepared and confident in the event that someone gives you inaccurate information as ‘facts’.
3) Read as much as you can about homeschooling in general. There are a lot of good books at the library as well as at the bookstore. Pick others’ brains, because those who are doing the homeschooling ‘grind’ every day can give you a clear, realistic picture about what is involved.
4) Read about the various homeschooling methods. While doing so, consider the way you like to learn, as well as how your child likes to learn. It may take some time to figure this out for him/her, as he/she has been told what to learn in school. You have the freedom to learn together whatever it is you want! Isn’t that exhilarating?! Google homeschooling, unschooling, learning at home…..tons of web sites will pop up for reading. Don’t get overwhelmed! Pick and choose. It is a constant learning process. I am still reading about methods, types of curriculum, etc. all the time.
5) Be sure to include God in your home school. It is easy to overlook that. Academics is just one small part of homeschooling, and life in general. I am still learning to do this, and we are in the process of adding more of God’s word each day as I write this.
6) Feel free to join activities, utilize teachers at homeschooling classes or co-ops, online…..whatever you think will work for you. But, remember that God gave you YOUR child(ren). Even when you think you are not equipped (and believe me, I feel that way A LOT), He knows that you are. Prayer and always seeking His best will get you through this just like it does everything else. You may decide NOT to attend any activities and just stay home with your child. OR go out to the zoo, the science center, the library, grocery shopping, let him/her help you with your work (or your husband’s work), bake cookies together. ALL of these activities are learning experiences and potential bonding times!
Hopefully, what I have shared will also help others who are beginning the journey, or even those who are already in the midst but need some encouragement.