5 Things to Consider as You Start Homeschooling
Are you new to homeschooling? Maybe asking yourself, “Should we homeschool this year?” Or perhaps stepping into a new season or year as an experienced homeschooler? Then come listen as I share 5 things to consider as you start homeschooling, wherever you are on the journey.
This episode of the Art of Homeschooling podcast is for you if you’re wondering whether to choose homeschooling or not. And it’s also for you if you’re already a seasoned homeschooler, but want to remind yourself of the importance of this choice for your family.
Homeschoolers are Life-Long Learners
When Rudolf Steiner ~ philosopher, educator, and social reformer ~ founded the very first Waldorf school, his goal was to approach education in such a way that kids would grow up and be able to “impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
I like to think that our goal as home educators is to help our children discover their unique gifts. Because then they can go out and share those gifts with the world.
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Imagination, truth, and a feeling of responsibility…that’s what we’re aiming for!
As a teacher, I’ve taught in public and private school classrooms as well as homeschooled, and I truly believe that a homeschool setting is the best place to help our children achieve this goal to raise free human beings who can guide their own lives.
How does that happen?
Well, with homeschooling, we can provide our children with:
- a holistic, hands-on approach to learning
- a curriculum customized to their developmental stage and skill level
- a flexible schedule suited to our family
- opportunities for strengthening family bonds
- real life experiences, field trips, and community engagement that bring the learning to life
And so, whether you’re taking the first step into a new year or a new journey, here’s a recap of the 5 things to consider as you start homeschooling, as heard on the podcast.
5 Things to Consider as You Start Homeschooling
- KNOW YOUR WHY
Remember your reasons for choosing to homeschool so that you can keep your conviction front and center.
I wrote a Family Mission Statement years ago at the beginning of our homeschooling journey. It served to remind me why I valued homeschooling and to keep my commitment fresh and inspired. Freedom and flexibility were important to me and our family. And I was committed to letting my children’s learning unfold on their own timeline. This mission statement carried us through so many ups and downs of homeschooling!
I highly recommend you take some time to write down YOUR why. If you want help with this, go have a listen to episode #4: Why Are We Homeschooling? How to Write Your Family Vision
- REMEMBER THIS IS YOUR JOB
Not only do I want you to take homeschooling as seriously as if it were your job (because it is!), but I also want you to feel proud of yourself! And to know that your work in this world matters.
You’re helping to make the world a better place!
Early on in my own homeschooling journey, I would sometimes think of myself as “just a stay at home mom” and then feel like I should be out doing something more worthwhile in the world. I have a masters degree after all, and homeschooling can feel, well, kind of like we’re playing small some days.
But I so appreciate how nowadays homeschooling is seen as a more legitimate option and recognized as a valid learning experience for kids. And we can see ourselves as facilitators of learning and keepers of the hearth. Being a homeschooling parent is a beautiful and honorable profession.
- HOMESCHOOLING HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS BUT IT’S ALSO SO REWARDING
Homeschooling is about a bigger vision than checklists and benchmarks and curriculum. It’s about family connections, curiosity about the world, and developing lifelong learners.
Some days are going to be messy for sure. And remember, homeschooling doesn’t have to look like a classroom.
But in the long run, homeschooling is such a rich opportunity! For customizing the learning, for meeting your child where they are, and for individualizing the learning for your children as they grow and learn.
- ACCEPT ALL THE FEELINGS
As homeschooling moms, we are creating and holding the emotional space for our whole family. And that can mean LOTS of emotions.
Accept that feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy may show up for you some days. And on other days, you’ll feel great but maybe one of your kids will be in a funk.
Knowing this from the beginning can help. Because then we can practice accepting and embracing ALL the emotions and allowing them to just be, rather than trying to change them.
- KNOW THAT HOMESCHOOLING IS MESSY
I have to say it again! Because I can’t emphasize enough that homeschooling is not about the curriculum and what you teach. More than that, it’s about engaging with your kids through learning activities.
This requires a willingness to be uncomfortable. Because just to remind you once again, learning is messy. Whether in a classroom or at home!
The Courage to Take the First Step
A lot of conversations I have with parents revolve around how much time is taken away from family life when our children are enrolled in school…and what a relief it is to not have to be out the door on time!
With homeschooling, we can slow down! Spend time with our kids. Simplify.
As homeschoolers, we also get to do something totally unique and customized and adventurous and CONNECTING by choosing to homeschool.
There are pros and cons of any learning environment, including homeschooling.
That’s where the ART of homeschooling comes in. Homeschooling is a process, not a product. It’s a flow and a rhythm, created not just by you, a curriculum, or a set of standards, but by the creative learning process of you and your family.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”~Martin Luther King Jr
Parents who try to see the whole staircase may get overwhelmed and never take the first step. So I encourage you to keep in mind that this homeschooling gig is a journey.
The art of homeschooling is to keep the process doable and sustainable.
Wishing you all the best as you begin a new homeschool year, new main lesson block, or even a new week.
I see you, and I’m sending you love and encouragement on your journey. 💜
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