Recently, as in today, I got an e-mail from a sweet reader asking me about homeschooling. I probably get at least a question a week asking me about some facet of homeschooling.
And the ones that begin with, “ARE YOU INSANE?” don’t count.
Today, Sara, sent me the following letter:
“Right now I am struggling with the decision to homeschool and go against the grain so to speak! LOL I was a teacher before having my children and now stay home. I know what the public schools are like here…and in my heart know I want to homeschool. The pressure is from all our friends that are getting ready to register for Kindergarten on Thursday. The “peer pressure” is killing me! 🙂 I would love some encouragement from another homeschool mom. How did you make the decision and what was it like in the beginning? Thanks so much!!!”
I love to rehash this story, so bear with me. When Fiddledaddy first broached the subject of homeschooling to me, Emme was 2, and I was sleep deprived with a brand new infant, Cailey. And my nipples may have been bleeding.
Through bloodshot eyes, I said the following words, “Are you insane?” And I may or may not have punched him in the throat. I’m not sure. The events are a bit fuzzy. What with all the lack of sleep, post partum depression, and the fact that my nipples were laying on the floor.
Receptive to the idea? Not so much.
It took me two more years to come around. By that time, I had read my friend, Lisa Whelchel’s book, So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling. She’s a real friend. Not one of my imaginary friends.
Lisa had been a seasoned homeschooler for many years before we started having babies. I think for a good number of years, she was the only person I knew that homeschooled.
She very gently talked to me about homeschooling a kindergartner. And her experiences. She even did it with 2 other preschoolers underfoot. They are teenagers now. Each unique and wonderfully well adjusted. And Lisa’s twitch will disappear in the next few years, I’m sure.
Anyhoo, I warmed to the idea. But, it wasn’t until I attended my first homeschool convention, that I really felt like I could do it. I was blown away by the community of homeschoolers in our state. (We’re in Armpit, Florida.) There is a lot of support here, and the resources are numerous.
Sara, the first thing I would tell you is that you can’t do it alone. You need support. I know what you mean about facing all of the inevitable questions from well-meaning family and friends. And some not so well-meaning! You’ve got to thicken your skin a bit, and be prepared. Do a little research. Statistically, find out how homeschoolers fare on test scores alone. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Mostly though, you’ve got to go with your heart. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. And it’s not always easy. But, if you really feel like it is the best thing for YOUR family (not your friends’), then you have to commit to it. And you’ve already earned a teaching degree! Why not apply it to your own children. The student to teacher ratio is excellent in a homeschool!
The hardest obstacle we face right now, is homeschooling with a nearly 3 year old, high maintenance, toddler hanging from the dining room light fixture. It’s a distraction.
I’ve solved this dilemma at present, by assigning a “helper” to Jensen, while I work with one child at a time in 20 minute intervals. This works when you have 3 children. And since their attention span is short at this age anyway, it makes sense for the Fiddle House of Higher Learning.
Sara, I don’t know what your state requires to homeschool. But, that’s the first place to start. Check into the closest homeschool convention. Get involved in a support group. And then enjoy this precious time with your little ones.
There are a lot of books available at the library on homeschooling. You’ll be overwhelmed at first, since there are so many different methods. I wish I had read Cathy Duffy’s “100 Top Curriculum Picks” when I started. (I’ve seen it at the library.)
And that’s another thing. Don’t get bogged down by the curriculum. My first year, I ordered the whole kindergarten kit from A Beka, because I wanted to take the guesswork out of it. I needed someone to lay it all out for me. I’ve since moved on to different curriculum for different subjects, but A Beka was a great jumping off point for me.
I wish I could give you a big old cyber hug. I know what a huge decision this is. The blogosphere is very full of wonderful homeschooling blogs and support.
I want to turn this over to y’all who homeschool. What is the best piece of advice you could offer Sara, or any other mom considering homeschooling?