When it comes to homeschooling, you never feel quite prepared at first. When you initially make that decision, whatever the reason, it can seem like a daunting process. Your first year of homeschooling will be an adjustment to everyone. I will tell you, though, that it doesn’t have to be a big one.
Here’s Our Small Background Story
Our decision to homeschool came straight from God. At the time of our calling, my son was halfway through Kindergarten and I was feeling very unsure about his progress there. With the many reasons why I didn’t feel public school was right for him, I started praying for God’s wisdom in our situation.
When my son first started school, I had lovely visions of one day both of my kids being in school and me being alone at home with my business. “Yes! One kid down, one to go!”, I would say to myself.
Of course, God’s timing is perfect and He put homeschooling in my heart at a moment when my son wasn’t having the best time at school. I said yes to God’s calling and waited for Him to also work in my husband’s heart so that we could be on the same page.
One verse came to mind during all of this and that was Jeremiah 29:11 –
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In the meantime, having clear knowledge that this was indeed from God, I started researching homeschooling before God was even done working on my husband. I guess you could call it having firm faith.
The research I found was based on how I felt homeschooling would fit our personalities. For example: we chose year-round schooling and more of a Charlotte Mason approach mixed with a bit of unschooling.
Well the rest is history. My husband and I did indeed get on the same page, and we agreed to homeschooling the following year.
How I Prepared For Our First Year Homeschooling
I want to share with you my 5-tip process for preparing not only my kids for homeschool, but also myself.
1. Taking The Time To Ease Yourself In
When it comes to a life-changing decision, I feel it’s best to take it as slow as necessary to fit your personality.
For me, I like to mix new things into my schedule so that eventually it becomes the new norm. I did this by introducing the concept of homeschooling to my kids a few weeks before school actually started.
During my researching, I loved the idea of morning basket time. If this concept is foreign to you, you can familiarize yourself with our approach.
For the first few weeks of “test school” we only did morning time. No actual school. It was a really great way to get my children use to the idea that now we don’t go somewhere for school, but instead, every morning after breakfast, we have school at home.
2. Deciding To Have School Year-Round
This helped immensely for not only our sanity but also planning our first year homeschooling.
I scheduled our year so that every 4-6 weeks, we would have 1-2 weeks off of school. Not only was this great for taking a breather, but it also helped me with planning.
In order for us to have a successful year, I had to be willing to make adjustments as we needed it. If you’re a planner like me, my natural instinct is to completely plan as far ahead as I can. If I could have planned the entire school year in the Fall, I would have.
However, by planning the school schedule until the next break, it allowed me to adjust what was working from what wasn’t.
If I had planned the entire year out, I would have been at the mercy of what I had already planned, regardless of if it was working or not. So every 4-6 weeks, I’d use our break time to plan out our next 4-6 weeks – based on what was good for us, but also trying something new from what wasn’t good for us.
I LOVED the freedom that this gave us.
3. Continual Prayer For Wisdom And Strength
Did I also mention a lot of patience?? When you’re kids are with you 24/7, continual prayer is very important. Not only was it important because I knew God had called us to it, but I also would pray that He would make His plan clear.
I needed a lot of wisdom to know how God wanted me to teach them. I needed strength to be able to say yes to homeschool every day and no to wanting to take a day off.
Homeschooling is definitely a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But I know you knew that already.
When you can’t ever escape and you’re children are with you all the time, asking for patience is also very important.
It’s not always, but if I’m going to be honest with you, there are some moments when I don’t want to homeschool because my kids are driving me crazy.
Either they fight me because they don’t want to do school that day or they aren’t paying attention when I ask them the same question 5 times.
Prayer is what helped us in our first year and it continues to help us now. That is one part of my planning that I won’t ever get rid of.
4. Research And Plan By Your Personality
I touched on this a little bit already, but I feel like it’s SO IMPORTANT to decide your first year homeschooling based on your personalities. Too many times, I’ve seen people choose how they’ll homeschool based on either what other people are doing or by what they only know.
I want to encourage you to do your research. We chose year-round because I didn’t like not only my kids having a huge break from school and having that dreaded “summer slide”, but also having to do school after school after school with no end in sight. I love our small breaks in between and my kids do too.
We chose the Charlotte Mason approach because I liked the idea of a more literary base rather than a structured curriculum. So far, it’s worked really well for our care-free attitudes.
5. Don’t Try To Be Perfect
Don’t get me wrong, I admit that I’m a perfectionist and know that it is a blessing and a curse. When our year first started, I was really tempted to choose one way or the other.
As I our year began and moved forward, I realized that we have 12 years (depending on what grade your children are in) to fit everything in for their education. You don’t have to have to feel pressured to get everything in you feel you need to for that particular grade. You can mix it up and leave some things for the next year.
I decided that since my kids are in the younger grades, language arts and math would be more structured and learned every day. However, our history and science would be rotated and looped every other day. Also, the kids and I decided together what those topics would be.
It’s so much fun for us to decide together what interests them most and know they can help with the planning. We end up going to the library. We choose what we want to learn and save money at the same time.
How Will You Prepare Your First Year Homeschooling?
When you’re preparing your first year, follow my advice and don’t make it a stressful process. It can be fun and interactive for both you and your children. Make sure that you are planning for not only what’s best for your family but what’s best for your personalities as well.
It makes a big difference when you’re trusting in God to lead your children down the right path of homeschooling. Remember that His way is perfect and He will not only give you wisdom to know what to do, but strength and patience to be able to do it.