Most of us with school aged children are having to think through school options for the fall, trying to figure out what will work best for our children and our family. Thankfully we live in a time and place where there are many options, even though in this season none of them might feel ideal. Since some of us are considering homeschooling for the first time, we asked two of our homeschool veterans for their tips and advice.
by Lorna Dirks and Amanda Damskov
1. WHY would I homeschool?
- Want to try something different during Covid
- Flexibility - I get to choose our schedule, pace and curriculum
- Want to incorporate our faith into what my children are learning
- My child is struggling with a subject - I want to give them extra attention in this area
- My child isn't thriving in a classroom environment and I want to try a different approach
- My child has been begging me to be homeschooled and now seems like the time to try it
- I want to have more connection time with my children
- I really think this is what God is calling us to do in this season
2. WHAT do I need to consider before I get started?
- What are my children's learning styles? (learning-styles-online.com)
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- How much time do I have to "teach" them?
- What is our budget?
- What does my support system look like? Don't try to go at it alone, reach out to others for community and support for you and your children.
3. HOW do I pick my curriculum/approach?
- If you want a "traditional" worksheet based approach with a Christian emphasis, consider an option such as Abeka or BJU Press.
- If you want more of a hybrid approach, consider something like Sonlight. This approach allows for teaching multiple children the same subject matter using classic readers and read-alouds.
- If you want a co-op/classical learning style, consider Classical Conversations. Children are taught by a tutor one day/week and the remainder of the week is planned out and taught at home.
- If you want to go in-depth into specific topics that you and/or your children are passionate about, consider Unit Studies.
- If you want someone else to do most of the teaching and your children work well on the computer, consider something like Switched on Schoolhouse.
- If you want to partner with those offering state resources Homelink and Mid-Columbia Partnership might be a good option.
- If you are not sure, consider mixing and matching the options above.
4. Other Things to Consider
- Write down pros and cons of all the options you are considering, pray about it and let God guide you.
- Create the structure that works for you!
- Build things into your schedule that you and your kids look forward to (i.e., recess with friends, extracurricular activities, hands-on learning projects, pajama day).
- Buy used curriculum whenever possible.
- Consider doing subjects that take a lot of brain power earlier in the day.
- Take breaks - remember you get to set the pace.
- Nothing you try is permanent. Give it at leas a semester - but after that if it just isn't working, change curriculums or approaches. It's okay to try it and decide this isn't for you. Extend yourself and your kids grace.
- Ask for help (from friends and your husband) when you need it - the first year is almost always the hardest.
If you'd like to chat with a veteran homeschool mom, just email email@example.com and we'll get you connected.