Dear New Homeschool Mom… {10 Things I Have to Tell You}

So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler

Dear New Homeschool Mom:

There are 10 things I have to tell you. I am giving you these ten things from the very depths of my heart as I enter into my 9th year of homeschooling our three precious children. I wish I would have known all of these things I am about to tell you {and more} but thankful for the journey to get me here. I pray that you find solace in this letter to you – dear friend!

Breathe.

Congratulations on the choice you have made to embark on one of the most amazing journeys this life beholds for a mother – educating your precious childrenat home. Before you overwhelm yourself with choosing curriculum, planning, finding homeschool groups, finding activities for your children – just breathe. Take in the moment and reflect on what it is that God has blessed you with. Precious time with your children is a gift from God. As you and I both know, time stops for no one nor will you get any of it back once it has passed. This amazing adventure will be a major foundation in the lives of your precious children and it should not be taken lightly. Relax and allow yourself time to take everything in slowly – and don’t forget to breathe :)

Never look at another family’s homeschool for a picture of what your homeschool should look like.

Just like no two people are the same, all homeschools are unique as well. At least they should be. Because we are all uniquely different people with uniquely different lives blessed with uniquely different children – we should never search outside of our family for what our family should “look” like unless it comes directly from the Bible {and this would only give us wisdom to build character and give grace}. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your homeschool has to be like so-in-so’s homeschool – because it does not. Nor should it be. Allow your homeschool to form organically directed by God to uniquely serve and minister to YOUR family alone – and you’ll see the most beautiful picture of a homeschool ever painted! I promise!

Take your time.

There are no rules telling you that you have to “rush” to the finish line when you educate your children at home. One of the greatest blessings I have found out while homeschooling our children is the simple fact that: time IS on our side. I say this because we are able to do things at our pace, prayerfully, and in God’s timing {which is perfect}. Don’t let the “trick” of hurrying capture you or it will ruin the amazing experience of homeschooling for your family. Trust me, I know. You are not teaching to a test but rather teaching your children the values of life mixed in with academic knowledge. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” {John Heywood} Nor should you expect your homeschool to be built quickly either. Don’t take your task lightly, and more importantly, take your time.

Serve one another in love.

One of the very things that gives our homeschool experience such cohesiveness and joy is the simple fact that we are committed to one another. We teach our children the importance of serving others and this helps make our days run very smoothly. Of course there are bumps in the road from time to time, but I will say that the majority of our days are very fluid and grace-filled because we serve one another. A great place to start in giving your young ones this foundation or adding to one that is already established can be found in a wonderful curriculum called We Choose Virtues. It has changed the entire course of our family – really. And the beautiful thing about this biblical concept of serving one another is that it translates into wonderful blessings in the world outside of the home. It is an advantage that will take your children many places others will never have the chance to go simply because they will be taught to walk with integrity.

Find the homeschooling method/approach that best suits your family.

This takes the guess work out of many things. I am not saying that your methods and/or approaches will not change over the years, but I will say that having one makes life as a homeschooling mom much easier. If you’d like some excellent insight into this, take a peek at my Homeschooling Methods and Approaches series and hear from several wonderful homeschooling moms. The series is running through June and July 2012.

Do not be hasty when choosing curriculum for your children.

Don’t be fooled by all the big beautiful shiny new homeschool curriculum catalogs that come in the mail each year. Don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful resources that you may {or may not} choose to purchase out of one of them – but my advice to you is to take your time. See if you cannot first find someone you know, someone in your local homeschool support group, or perhaps an employee at a used book store that can show you the material before you purchase it. I have found over the last several years that by first looking at the possible curriculum cuts down on “mistakes” of jumping into something and wasting your time and money on a resource that is not best suited for your child{ren}. Many online curriculum sellers have samples that you can download and even placement tests to see where your child fits into their particular program. You’d be surprised at the discrepancies of “grade” levels within the academic world. Being prepared and not rushing into buying will save you a lot of time, money, AND heartache.

Take time out for yourself each day.

This is one of the single most important things to schedule in each day. I have taken it upon myself to take a “time out” each day to read, pray, or even just sit down and take a short nap {there are THOSE days believe me}. This has brought great balance and harmony into our homeschooling years. At first it isn’t always easy for the little ones to understand, but with continued routine, it eventually becomes a part of their day that they accept and eventually look forward to!

Give AND receive GRACE.

Make sure that you make it a priority in your homeschool to give grace to your children each day and allow for mistakes and learning simultaneously. It will help you succeed much more in the the long run if you do. Be sure to extend the same grace that you give your children right back to yourself – it is a MUST in your homeschooling journey.

Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].
~Colossians 4:6

Seek balance in your days.

Make sure that you do not put too much on your plate. Continue to keep a list of priorities and STICK to them in the order of importance. Far too many times I have witnessed amazing families with good intentions fall apart at the seams because they did not know how to keep their life prioritized. And ultimately it led to them getting frustrated with their children and quit homeschooling. If you keep your priorities straight, homeschooling will run smoothly. As will everything else you apply this concept to.

Do not obsess over homeschooling.

There was a time {or two} that I began to obsess over homeschooling. What do I mean? I mean all I thought about, talked about, and did were always homeschool related. Sure, I was excited, but this goes back to the whole BALANCE thing mentioned above. One thing I noticed right away when I went thru these brief periods of homeschool obsession is that my children began to hate even hearing the word homeschool! So I would like to suggest you read my post: There’s More To Life Than Homeschooling. It is a humorous but heartfelt article about this subject.

 

I hope you hear my heart behind this post. I am rooting for you! YOU CAN DO IT!

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