Are you thinking about homeschooling or are you on the fence and not sure where to begin?
That was me a few years ago and I was scared to death!! Thoughts of doubt, anxiety, and a feeling of total inability filled my head.
“How can I do this?” “What AM I thinking?!” “I’m not a TEACHER. How will I teach Algebra?” “When will I go to Target and get grocery shopping done?” “Can I be around my kids every day, all year long?” “What about my children’s social life?” (Why “social” is a priority over education is beyond me but it was a thought!”
I had no other friends who homeschooled and was scared I would have nothing in common with homeschooling moms and had a stereotype in my head for some reason. Now, some of my closest friends and most frequent texts come from homeschoolers! Many of my friends have started homeschooling since then and now it seems like every day someone new is starting on their journey.
My search on homschooling started by Googling “homeschool in Houston, Texas and Kingwood, Texas”. TONS of information showed up and by 1:30 a.m. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and felt no further along than I was when I started. There was just too much to process on my own. I needed help. Someone to guide me.
Now that I have been homeschooling for a number of years, I would like to share some of the information that I found, to help you begin your journey into the huge world of homeschooling.
So, WHERE do you start?
- Go to the THSC site (Texas Home School Coalition). It has a list of FAQ’s and a free newsletter. It’s an advocacy organization with a mission to push for parental rights and against regulation for home education in Texas. As it states, Texas is a great state to live in as a homeschooler! There are no regulations because you are the boss and the decision maker for curriculum, hours, etc. As I believe it should be. After all, WE are the parents and are the ones responsible for raising our children and preparing them to become respectful, responsible and reverent adults and compassionate citizens.
- On a more local level, finding a local support group is a great first step. It helps to connect with someone and have a mentor to ask questions and seek advice. In my area we have the HEART (Home Education and Responsible Teaching) group. It’s a support group with over 500 families! Who knew?! I had NO idea that many people in my immediate area were homeschoolers! They meet once a month, have an online forum, and a classifieds area to post items and curriculum or resources that are for sale. Also included is an events calendar for field trips and organized activities. It’s a great place to post questions and tap into a large database of homeschool families. My girls and I have made many friends through HEART.
- Curriculum, shmurriculum! Geez! Just HOW MANY ways and books can there be to teach a kid to read?! Well, apparently tons! I was overwhelmed and hesitant to order something and worried it might not work out, then it would go to waste. I suggest you find other moms either through a local support group or a forum, ask them questions about specific curriculum’s that you’re considering. If it’s a local mom, she may offer to let you see her books first. I do this with new moms or veterans who want to try new resources. It gives you a visual and a better understanding of what the books contain and how it will work with your child’s learning style. A homeschool convention is another great opportunity to meet vendors and ask them questions. You can also look through curriculum to get a feel for what will work for you.
- Another thing to consider, especially in my area, is the many options you have as a home educator. Many, myself included, think it’s an all or nothing scenario. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
- One of the beautiful beautiful aspects of homeschooling is the great flexibility and vast variety. You may choose to purchase books, DVD’s, Apps, or workbooks and use those at home every day of the week and it’s just you and your kiddos. Or you may want to enroll them in a homeschool co-op program, like Classical Conversations. This co-op meets once a week and parents go to class with their child and a tutor models ways to work at home during the rest of the week. I was a tutor for my daughter’s 8 and 9 year old class and I really liked the program. It’s based on the Classical Education approach and consists of memory work for different subjects and you do your own Spelling, Language Arts, and Math programs. I especially like how all ages work from the same spiral bound book, which has all cycles needed that rotate. So, my 4 year old works on memorizing the same memory work as my 7 and 8 year old. I elaborate on the memory work with my older ones using information on Classical Conversations timeline and science cards, books and resources from Pinterest, and the Classical Conversations forum on their site. There are also programs that meet once a week and the students go all day and you can either stay or drop them off. The program I chose for our first year was PACES. I chose this program because of the Classical Approach and the fact that they laid out curriculum, resources, and basically gave me suggestions for what to use so I didn’t have to think about it!
- In our area there is Homerun Ministries, which meets in Kingwood, TX. They offer individual classes for students taught by teachers including History, Spanish, and Math.
- Super Friday is an extra-curriculum program for homeschoolers offered on Fridays from 8:45 to 12:15 (again in Kingwood). My girls LOVE this and look forward to their classes. They have a Mother’s Day Out class also for your younger ones and the older children are able to choose which classes they like. They have sewing, lego robotics, languages, American Girl, scrapbooking, fencing, martial arts and more! You can find information on the Super Friday tab on the Homerun Ministries site.
- A tutor or a co-op group of moms that enjoy sharing Science and Geography are other examples. One mom may have great Science projects and another is a great artist. You can trade and in the process, your kids can learn together with other kids.
- Kumon is another great addition and they offer Math and Reading. My girls were in this program and I liked that they are able to progress at their own pace and that it reinforces that they are “mastering” each area of Math, which is so important since each piece builds upon one another.
This was WAY longer than I anticipated but there’s a lot of information to cover! To summarize everything,
- Look online and find a local homeschool group and starting connecting and communicating.
- Know your options and find what’s best for your family.
- Believe in yourself and know that you CAN do this!
We were called by God to lead our children and He has equipped us to answer the call.
Please leave a comment or message me with any questions you have! Happy Homeschooling!