Saturday, May 6, 2017

Weekend Edition~First Year Home Education Tips & Advice

This is dedicated to my readers who are either considering homeschooling this coming year, or have already made the decision and are looking for first year home education advice.

I started researching home schooling as soon as I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter 11 years ago. Thankfully I had many friends who were seasoned, been there, done that home educating mamas, who were able to give me some wonderful advice and tips as a newbie mama. In the following article I am going to share a few of these, that have been extremely helpful for me.

1) In the first year do not sign up for any extra activities that you are tied to doing regularly. Sure go join a loose play group at the park. Or go to the zoo. Or go to a one time science class at the science museum. But, don't sign up for a weekly science class outside the home.

My friends told me it is extremely hard the first year for most mom's to transition to homeschooling, and extra stress of outside commitments could really weigh a person down. The suggested just getting used to homeschooling, and our own routines and rhythms the first year.

2) Do not spend a lot of money on a curricula you think you will just love, but have no idea if your child will love it or be able to actually learn from it. Never spend more money then you can afford to lose on a curricula. In other words, don't spend so much money you force yourself to use it even though you and/or your child hates it! Be adjustable enough to let go of a curricula that is not working for you, and move to something that will work for you and your child.

I remember for sure having a curricula picked out, while Lela was still inside my body! And my friend Cheryl telling me, it may work, but don't get over attached to it. If it doesn't work, don't force it. I kept that advice in mind.. and then it came time, and sure enough we used the curricula I had picked out 6 years earlier, and it was waaay to slow for Lela. And it drove me up a wall because quite frankly it was just too secular, and too much political propaganda, and that was for kindergarten! I kept pushing through, but finally said enough in 2nd grade and have been so happy to just be free since then!

3) You can do it! Jehovah gave you your children as a gift, and commands all parents to teach their children, on the road when they are walking, at night before bed, all the time we are to be instructing our children. He gives us all we need to teach our children. Even though many would like you to believe you are not good enough, you are! So try not to let doubt, get in to your thinking and cloud it.

4) You don't have to do it all at once! I pretty much unschool at this point. But, even if you want to have a very structured home school, you don't have to do it all at once. You have a full 12 months to get the things you want done, done. It takes a while to find your routine and groove. Don't overwhelm yourself the first day and first week. Start your first day and week with just one or two subjects, and then each week add another one or two. That way you aren't overwhelmed and bogged down before you even get started!

I am sure I was given a lot more advice too. But, these were the ones that stood out to me, and I kept in mind when it was time to start home educating my children. And by keeping these in mind, I must say our first year was NOT a hard adjustment, it was fun and seemed really natural and I really have enjoyed the whole experience!

Now, I'm going to add a few more things, that I have learned through my experience.

1) Children will learn no matter what, you can't stop a child from learning. Jehovah created them to learn. So you can NOT mess up!

2) Find your state laws yourself!

Do NOT trust friends, even ones who say they are homeschooling! I have heard way to many stories, of people saying they "homeschool" but in reality they are using a charter or virtual school, which are subject to public school laws. And then pass on that the parent must go by these public school laws, which are often way more regulated then homeschool laws, and the mother just wanting to homeschool is overwhelmed and defeated! When reality was/is homeschooling laws were very much with in the mothers reach! For instance one of my friends was told by another "homeschooling" mother, that she MUST be a certified teacher to legally homeschool her children. That is NOT the law in any state in the USA! So this mother just gave up and didn't even try because she was not a certified teacher. The even more sad thing about this story, this mothers state, has barely any homeschool regulations at all! ANY parent is allowed to homeschool their child, with out any permission being needed!

I highly suggest contacting your local homeschool advocacy or homeschool legal group for your state! They will have the best and most accurate laws for homeschooling in your state.

Above all else, NEVER, I repeat NEVER ask the public school system or district what the homeschool laws are. They do NOT deal with homeschool laws. They ONLY deal with public school laws. They will rarely, or rather almost never have accurate homeschool laws! It is not their job to know homeschool laws, since this is NOT their jurisdiction.

3) I wish wish wish, I had started going to homeschool conferences and conventions from the beginning. The first few years, I had the mistaken idea that it was just a place to look at and buy curricula. While you can do that. That is secondary to the wonderful educational and motivational homeschool workshops. They are priceless! Worth every penny. Seriously you can homeschool for FREE... use your library, and and all our literature... but spend money to go to the conference!

4) Read good books about child development when it comes to education. Like Ruth Beechick. Seriously knowing what is developmentally appropriate and how different that is from the school system will save you a lot of grief. So many get so upset with their children and their selves, thinking homeschooling is not working. When in reality, they are expecting developmentally inappropriate things from their children. That no matter what their child would resist because it's just not time to be learning that. BUT, if the parent relaxed and waited for when it is a better time developmentally to be learning it, there would be NO resistance. And in fact would be fun!

Ruth Beechick
Raymond Moore
John Holt
John Taylor Ghatto
Andrew Puedewa (he does excellent talks, and workshops, that I highly suggest! Pretty much above any one else for workshops! Mainly he speaks about educating boys, but believe me this information transcends to educating girls as well.)

Are all authors I highly suggest! Seriously start with any of their books, and just start reading.

5) Do NOT worry about buying a curricula the first year. Children will learn no matter what you do. So instead of spending money on curricula, spend money on experiences, like museums, zoos, etc. And spend money on mommy being educated on homeschooling! Spend money on homeschool books like from the authors above. Spend money on going to the homeschool conference local to you. Spend money on fun field trips. Go to the library and pick all the books you want for free! Sometimes even curricula books! haha But, save your money for curricula that first year. Curricula will always be there.. and you may even find you don't need one at all. BUT, even if you choose to use one.. a year is not going to make or break using it. So give yourself the freedom to just learn about homeschooling the first year with out the stress of finding the perfect curricula. You will most likely be amazed what your children learn that year!

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