Once people find out I homeschool, I typically can anticipate the next few words that hesitantly roll off their lips, " How.do.you.do.it?"
My answer is always simple and the same, "minute by minute."
Well, if you are one of those moms who's at a crossroads trying to determine if this road less traveled is one you may want to journey, here are a few things you may want to consider before you bungee jump in.
1) Why are you thinking about doing this? Like seriously, write it down. There are going to be days you're going to have to go back and re-read it, maybe even recite in a hypnotic chant trying to remind yourself why you're still doing this. While over time these reasons may evolve, understanding why you are willing to forget all semblance of life as you previously knew it to advance the goals of your family is critical to the success of your homeschooling journey. It will also help you as you embark on the more daunting questions around your homeschooling approach and curricula which I'll address below.
2) Do I want to pray more? Now, that you know "why" you want to do this, pray like you never have before asking God why "He"
would have you do this. A wise homeschooling mama once told me, if you want to strengthen your relationship with the Lord, homeschool. And, she couldn't have been more right. I learned the hard way my first year of homeschooling what laying prostrate before the Lord actually meant. More times than I can count, I found myself on my knees before the Lord repenting for the things I had thought or actually said to my kids. How do people do this I thought? Bottomline is you can't without the daily help of the Lord. So, you might as well get used to inviting Him into your homeschool because you'll definitely need Him in your classroom. Trust me.
3) Take an intellectual and emotional inventory of yourself. What I've found is that homeschooling will prick at every insecurity, weakness and doubt you've ever had in your life. Yep, those old issues you thought you were done with, they may soon be ringing your doorbell unexpectedly forcing their way in. Homeschooling can create a kind of pressure that would put the best of pressure cookers to shame. You better know your hot buttons because I promise your youngest of homeschooler will find it, and when he does, he will just keep ringing.
4) What kind of homeschooling mama do you wanna be? Do you envision yourself outside in nature discovering creepy crawlies with creative play sprinkled in between (Charlotte Mason)? Do you see yourself following a more traditional classroom approach or online (School at home)? Do you want your schooling to follow your child's innate interests (unschooling)? Do want to teach your child to learn for herself (classical), Do you want to mix and match multiple approaches (eclectic, the category most homeschoolers fall into). Knowing what kind of homeschooling mama you want to be will help you craft how to organize your day and what curricula might best suit you.
5) Do you want to go it alone, with a co-op, a community, or with a hybrid? While I think the idea of going it alone is misleading in that most homeschoolers connect with other homeschoolers in one way our another, there are some homeschoolers who gain solace in knowing there are limited outside influences on their homeschooling journey. Conversely, others find comfort in sharing the load and obligations with others of like approach. This may look like an information group that meets regularly for fieldtrips, teaching and/or playdates (co-ops). Still others opt for additional support where the syllabus is developed, weekly assignments, classes and grades are managed by a third-party (hybrid). This consideration should also include your homeschooling budget as that can aid in refining your options as well. Some, simply decide how they want to support each other more informally through a homeschooling community. No way is right or wrong, but these are questions you should contemplate as you embark on this journey.
6) Can you search out another homeschooling mama who can hold your hand through the first year? I was fortunate a friend hooked me up with her sister who homeschooled. I'm gonna be honest, my first year, I just copy-catted whatever she did. Her kids seemed smart enough and well, I just figured what she was doing would be good enough for us. Yep, I rode her coat-tail right on into homeschooling. While over time I made some changes that better suited my family, her help my first year was priceless. She was able to answer questions about the curricula and provide advice about approaches, supplements, you name it. It can be hard to find some of these answers independently when you already have more questions than answers. Most importantly, she was that steady voice that consistently, confidently, and repeatedly told me, "Naj, you can do this," over and over and over again. I needed that reassurance, and you probably will too. You "can" do this.
Clearly, there is much to consider before homeschooling. Needless to say, my homeschooling experience moreso resembled a circus trial by fire. Nonetheless, the more awareness and contemplation you do prior to taking the leap, you can take solace in knowing you did the best you could to prepare. Even with all the planning you do, be prepared to expect a little crazy. While I can't tell you exactly what that first year will look what I can assure you is in the midst of it all, you'll find a love and joy that you had yet to know existed. No matter how you choose to homeschool, it will be uniquely your own, complete with hugs, kisses, messes, mistakes and hot glue guns.
The unlikeliest of homeschoolers
DiviniCo's founder, Najah Drakes, is a writer, turned blogger, designer and homeschooling mompreneur. While she is academically trained in all things finance, she desires to use her real life experiences to encourage and inspire women to live the regret-free life God so desires each one to live. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Spelman College and the Master of Arts degree in International Economics with Distinction from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. When she's not blogging, you will find her dancing, reading, writing and loving on her husband of almost 16 years and their five sons.