Once upon a time my then dashing boyfriend (who later became my fiancé, then husband) and I discussed life, our future and all kinds of interesting things. We discussed what we wanted out of life. What would be our goals? What kind of family did we want to be after we got married? What were our likes and dislikes? What personality traits or weaknesses would we need to work on? The topic of how to educate children arose. He emphatically said he would prefer our future children be homeschooled. I thought it sounded like a fun project. I had thought about homeschooling many times before as well. So many times I’m such an optimist. Sometimes I’m too much of an optimist. By the way, neither one of us were homeschooled.
How To Prepare
I read several books about homeschooling. I knew of families that homeschooled for all sorts of reasons. Truthfully, nothing can truly prepare you for homeschooling. You can plan all through pregnancy and the toddler years and it probably won’t matter much. If you try to push worksheets and curriculum too early, your kiddo may become frustrated and you’ll feel tense because your efforts didn’t give you the return you had anticipated. I’m a big fan of perhaps reading and thinking about it for a few months, then just jumping right in if you feel homeschooling would benefit your family.
Don’t Underestimate the Timing
I had to learn to wait until my child was ready. It really was that simple. In the meantime, I looked for ways to incorporate “real world” learning every day such as help with chores, food preparation, conversations about flowers and bees, etc. My eldest loved that! This pushed me into more of a Montessori leaning for the preschool and earliest elementary years. It worked for us and still works for us. Yes, we do have a classical curriculum, but the way we approach our curriculum and the teaching of life skills is much more Montessori leaning.
Fuel Your Efforts
Different methods work for different families or even different children within a family. One of the most important things that supports my educational efforts and the learning of my kiddos is a proper diet. It’s hard to learn if your digestion is weak, your stomach hurts, you have food intolerances, you can’t sleep properly at night or you can’t concentrate. It’s VERY frustrating for the parent/instructor as well. It can make you want to hit your head against a wall. I bet it’s very frustrating for teachers in schools.
Real food, figuring out what works and nourishes kids and mamas is key. It’s also necessary to have a stable, loving home environment that encourages the love of learning. These things are what homeschool runs on. These things are our homeschool fuel. Every educational environment has things that work for their particular situation and these things are what works for ours.