I’ve been talking to a lot of new homeschoolers lately and while there has been lots of excitement, I’ve also met up with so much fear.
If you are new to homeschooling, I have something I have to tell you.
There is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Do you know what you need to have a successful homeschooling environment for your children?
- Access to a computer
- A public library
- Love of learning
- Love of your children
- Some good people to support you (even online)
Really, that’s about it. And even some of those are optional.
Think about it…
What did you need to teach your child how to walk? To talk? To ride a bike?
How many things have you taught your children as a natural part of their lives…
How to make pancakes
How to swim
How to use the lawnmower
How to set the VCR
How to use the computer
How to fix it when you hurt a friend
We teach our children every minute we spend real time with them — when we tell stories, answer questions, read books, take them to new places (or old!), play games, give advice, talk about that TV show we just watched together…
Homeschooling is no harder and no easier than parenting or living.
It is simply an extension of both.
Listen, there are about 85 million free resources on the internet alone that will help you do anything from explaining reproduction to teaching algebra.
There are web sites, email groups, local coops, books, newsletters, magazines and Facebook pages devoted to nothing but helping you find more than you could ever need to homeschool.
There are historic sites, parks, nature centers, science museums, art galleries, trails, beaches and other places to discover that can teach your children more than any classroom.
If you cultivate an atmosphere in your homeschool where learning is fun, it will be easier than you’d ever believe.
Treat it like the adventure it is.
Let the kids take the lead. Go places. Do experiments. Make messes. Follow rabbit trails. Be a team.
Last week, my friend Tiffany told me a mother put her small child in time-out at their gym day care because the child had one of her arms inside her coat against her body instead of inside her coat sleeve.
If you are that sort of parent, I guarantee your child will hate homeschooling.
If you make it a battle, try to force a school atmosphere, dictate, punish, nag, belittle and create absolutely meaningless rules, then it’s not going to be easy.
So don’t do that.
Relax, moms and dads.
You probably felt much the same when you first brought these children into the world. And you’ve handled that pretty well, without anybody from the government having to come and teach you how to do it right or do it for you.
You are about to embark on an adventure. It won’t always be easy (what adventure is?) but it is something you are absolutely capable of.
This is an opportunity to reconnect with your kids, to spend real time with them, to pass on some pretty amazing bits of knowledge that only you possess, to learn along with them, and to show them that education is actually a pretty fabulous thing.
Have faith in yourself. Have faith in your children. This is going to be fun.
Okay, most of the time.