Monday, December 08, 2014

Advice to a new homeschooler

I started a new job this year.  I now ride the train about 40 minutes each way, every day.  So I now have a little more time for reflection.  My wife and I are in our 15th year of homeschooling.  Recently I got to thinking about what advice would I give to a new homeschooler.  Below are some of the general suggestions:

Think about your long term goal(s)

Our primary motivation for homeschooling wasn’t a better SAT score.  We wanted to raise competent adults who were caring and hard working.  We wanted to nurture in them a love for learning.  We wanted them to stay close to each other.

As you homeschool, step back and take the long view.  Think about what do you really want for your children, and don’t worry so much about little details which don’t work out exactly as you would like.

Educate yourself

Reach out to others and learn from them.  Find your local park day and co-ops.  Attend.  Ask questions.  Find some good books.  Read them.  Go to conferences.  Ask lots of questions.  And trust yourself.

Relax and enjoy the process

You are going to make mistakes.  It is OK.  Teachers in public schools make mistakes all the time.  One of the nice things about homeschooling is you can change, as soon as the next second.

Enjoy the time with your children.  Enjoy who they are.  There is a famous line about “No one ever died saying I wish I spent more time at the office.”  The few years you have now are more precious than gold.  Build bonds of love within the family.  Build memories.

Look for the blessings.  It is easy to get so focused that small and large blessings can slip right by.  Pause frequently and ponder how your children are doing.  I think you’ll be surprised.

Be flexible and open

What works for one child one day may never work again for that child, or any other child.  Try lots of different approaches.  And when a child gets engaged, go with the flow.  In one hour a excited child passionate about a particular topic will often learn more than ten hours.

We've found homeschooling to be wonderful in so many ways.  It really is a blessing.

No comments: