Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 6:7
When we think back on it, Curt and I can’t even really remember what made us think about homeschooling. We started talking about it again in the midst of a family loss so I guess maybe the whole “life is short” mantra played a part in it.
We had originally talked about homeschooling before our daughter ever started school and we did some “schooling” for pre-school with her. I quickly figured out that homeschooling her would be a challenge as she was much smarter than me and would debate me on pretty much everything including the spelling of the word “cat”. She was also a social butterfly and loved meeting new friends so we decided school would be the best route to take.
When our youngest came along, we didn’t even think about it, he just went to school too. There were a few times during his 1st grade year that he asked to be homeschooled (he didn’t really care for how loud his classroom was at times) but at that time, we didn’t even discuss it, it was just “nope, you have to go to school”. So we’re back to November of 2014 when basically out of the blue, we started talking about the what-ifs and how it would work.
It’s hard to explain really even why we brought it up. Both of our kids have always been excellent students and weren’t having problems with teachers or peers. There was really no reason for us not to continue down the public school path. The only thing we didn’t care for was the new, common core math curriculum so I guess that may have been the catalyst. Common Core did turn our little, 3rd grade math wizard into a kid that really did not like math and that was disheartening. At this point, we decided we would start researching and considering it seriously. Every journey to homeschooling is different, I’d like to share with you how we went about it and hopefully it can help you with your decision.
1. Do your research. When we got serious about homeschooling, I did what any respectable woman would do; I started a Pinterest board entitled “Homeschool?” and began pinning anything and everything that I thought would help us get started and make a decision. I just kept coming back to, “what if I take my perfectly fine children and completely screw them up? What if they can’t get into college?” I was riddled with fear of ruining their lives! The research continued, along with a lot of prayer and I started to feel a little more comfortable with the idea that I could actually teach my children. There are so many resources on Pinterest for every homeschooling topic imaginable. I was actually able to envision our space and me teaching my kids. I went from being terrified to being excited.
2. Reach out to other homeschoolers. I sat down one morning (December 10, 2014 to be exact) with some of the resources I had accumulated and a notebook and decided to message a friend who was a homeschooler to get some questions answered. It was so comforting talking to her about the curriculum they use and their schedule. She understood my fears and helped ease them. While I was messaging back and forth with her, Curt texted me the verse from Our Daily Bread that hit our email that morning; “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach (God’s commandments) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them…when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7. It really felt like a sign from God and from that moment on, I felt confident that we could do it. At the very least, I felt confident the kids would be fine either way.
3. Check your state requirements. Every state is a little different as far as homeschool laws are concerned. A quick internet search for your state can probably let you know what is required. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is another great resource for figuring out what your laws are . Fortunately for us, Illinois is surprisingly very homeschool friendly. They have guidelines for what is expected to be taught but there are no requirements for testing, registering with the state or oversight by the school. Looking into your state requirements ahead of time will be very important so you can make sure that you, as a family, will be able to meet those requirements and not jeopardize your homeschool.
4. Talk to your family about it. If homeschooling is going to work, the whole family needs to be on board with the decision. I couldn’t imagine trying to do this without the full support of my husband or if the kids were opposed to it. In our case, Makayla decided homeschool was not for her but she was supportive of Connor doing it while she continued to go to public school. We were also really lucky in that our extended family was supportive too. My SIL was already homeschooling so it wasn’t a new concept for anyone and everyone really thought it was great. Not everyone will have the same response so you need to be prepared for that and decide if you want to come at them with studies and statistics or just let it go.
At this point, after we had gone through all of these steps, we made the decision to homeschool. Now is where the real work came in. We’ve made the decision, now what? Now comes the real planning, choosing a curriculum, figuring out how to pull Connor out of school, etc. My next 2 posts will focus more on unpacking all of those steps to actually get ready for a start date. Join me so we can walk through the process together.
What was or is your biggest concern about starting to homeschool?