3 Important Things To Do Before Homeschooling
Our homeschooling journey began out of my personal necessity. I found myself in circumstances beyond my own control and at a point of a destiny of unknown variables.
I was homeschooled, so the concept wasn’t new to me. But I hadn’t been on the parental, responsible side of the spectrum. So lots of research was required to get this venture on it’s way.
In our pre-blended family days, my children and I lived about 9 hours from my mother, (sometimes 12 plus hours if you’re traveling with small children), who was experiencing some major health issues. At the time, I was working full-time, also had finally decided to go to college to make some things in our lives better, but was still trying to figure out what I was going to do with our future.
We lived in Missouri at the time, so I did my homework on the laws and put a plan into action. I decided on using assorted curriculum. I found alot of things online for free, which was such a blessing. I developed my own plans for the entire week, giving the kids more freedom to choose the time.
Some years down the road and a few moves later, we became a blended family in double the size. This did make for twice the work, but also double the fun!
I am definitely an advocate of homeschooling, BUT if you are interested in homeschooling, there are three very important things you need to do before you take the plunge.
First and foremost, PRAY! Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. It is a unique decision and should be carefully considered. Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “there is a way that seems right and appears straight, but the end is destruction.”
You may even question how I could even say this. I mean, come on! It is homeschooling and taking your children out of the world and guarding them couldn’t be bad, right? While this isn’t a bad thought process, this isn’t always the case. Even taking your children out of public school and putting them in a Christian school, isn’t always the best choice for every family.
I know a couple of families who have made alternate choices. One of my close friends, (we will call them The Perkins Family), had been homeschooling their 3 children for a couple of years. Momma Perkins was just completely exhausted, seemingly couldn’t “get out of her own way”, as she put it. She shared that the schedule wasn’t working, everything had fallen behind, including keeping up with the lesson plans; even having time to make dinner for the family was becoming more and more intense. Dad Perkins would come in and try to help as much as he could, after having worked many hours and sometimes even out of town, but even he was getting to the point of exhaustion.
Mom and Dad started seeking the Lord’s guidance, knowing that God has a great plan for every family. After much prayer, they felt the direction to send their children to a local Christian school. They found out a short time later, they were expecting their 4th child and Momma was able to get a handle on things at home and make ready for a new baby.
The second family (we will call the Taylor Family), had one child in Christian school because they knew it was surely the best choice. But even with the Christian education, their son Jack, struggled with keeping his grades, even at average. It seemed to be a fight every day with homework. As the grades, continued to spiral out of control, Dad and Mom Taylor took to prayer.
They were surprised when they both felt the Lord leading them to take Jack out of the Christian school and put him in public school. Now you really may be thinking….. HEY WAIT A MINUTE! From Christian school to public school? Come on??!! But I am serious, so they did just what they felt the Lord wanted for Jack, even in the face of adversity.
Within one quarter, Jack’s grades turned around. He went from a C-D student to an A-B student. God knew Jack and God knew what Jack needed. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go.” The Amplified Bible goes on to clarify that we need to keep in mind each child is an original and to keep with their individual gifting.
Do your own homework (aka: research). This is kind of a two fold thing; you need to know the homeschooling laws for your particular state, as well as making a decision for what curriculum to use, which can also relate to the law governing your state. I highly recommend checking the Home School Legal Defense Association. Their site is packed full of information surrounding laws, headlines, and so much more.
I have homeschooled in several states, over the course of our lives. Before Brad and I were married, I lived in Missouri, Georgia, and Florida. Then after we were married, we lived in Illinois for a time. (It seems like alot, but the circumstances warranted it). Throughout this process, I extensively educated myself about each of those state’s laws and requirements for homeschooling. I also learned alot about different educational programs in the process.
I even wound up creating my own homeschool transcript for each of my children, which was exactly what our local community college required for them to apply for classes and even for financial aid.
In our journey, we used many free resources. Google is always packed full of ideas. You could google a phrase like – homeschool unit studies free printables and let the research begin! We also used PACEs (aka: ACE, School of Tomorrow), Switched On Schoolhouse (which is a computer based program from Alpha and Omega Publications, they have several options now), and Abeka (for many years they have been my favorite for teaching phonics for learning to read).
I have found many times that as people sift through all of the information surrounding homeschooling, things get a little overwhelming. It is a huge amount of material. However, if the Lord leads you to it, HE will lead you through it AND you will have an amazing journey.
“I know what I am doing, says the Lord. I have it all planned out. My plans are to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” JEREMIAH 29:11