Our blog cruise topic for this week is what advice we would give to someone thinking about homeschooling or just starting out. Hmmmm, as a fairly new homeschooler myself, this requires some consideration. I first heard about homeschooling when my oldest son was about 4 years old, and as a certified teacher myself I thought, “that sounds crazy!” It’s funny how the Lord can make you reconsider your thoughts! The desire to homeschool was planted in my heart about three years ago, after I became friends with a few people who did it. Spending time with them, and seeing how much time they got to just enjoy their children, sparked a desire in me to do the same.
The first thing I did when I started thinking about this is pray! I have learned throughout my life that following the Lord’s leading is the most important thing, and it’s what I desire to do most. After that, I broached the idea with my husband. His first answer was “we could never afford for you to stop working.” This was a disappointment, but as he manages the money and leads our home, I deferred to him and continued to pray. I knew that if this was what God intended, He would make a way. In the meantime, I spent as much time as possible gathering information about homeschool. The internet is wonderful for this. Look up your state homeschool association first. There you can get info about rules and requirements, as well as local support groups and other homeschool related topics that are pertinent to you.
After that, I started looking up my county regulations as well. These were also readily available on my local school board website. It is important to know the guidelines for homeschooling in your area first, to make sure you would be able to meet them if you started homeschooling. These guidelines can vary from state to state and district to district, so make sure you find out what the guidelines are for your specific area. From there, I started spending time with my homeschooling friends, just asking question after question! They were VERY patient and helped me get a better idea of what homeschooling day to day involved. If you don’t know any homeschoolers personally, you may want to look for a homeschool support group in your area and contact them. They are usually very helpful and willing to answer questions as well.
Probably the most time consuming portion of my research was looking for curriculum! Just google “homeschooling curriculum” and you will pull up a bevy of websites ranging from message boards that talk about curriculum, to curriculum product and review sites. I spent hours scouring these boards and sites. I have links to a few of these sites on my sidebar. Check out Homeschool Reviews, the Well Trained Mind, and of course, the TOS website too! I ordered catalogs, compared costs, asked for samples and did everything else I could to get a feel for what was out there and what I would want to work with. Finally, about a year ago, I attended our state homeschool conference with a friend of mine. Even thought I wasn’t homeschooling yet, I went to get information. I was able to attend workshops that explained homeschooling more in detail, and get a hands on look at curriculum (which was my favorite part 🙂 ).
Through all of this, I continued to pray and I asked my friends to pray with me. I kept asking the Lord to show me if homeschooling was what He wanted me to do. Two years later, He opened a door, and my husband told me “I want this to happen. Let’s do this”. It took a while for this dream of mine to come to fruition, but because of the legwork I had put in, I was ready to go when the opportunity arose. We do miss my paycheck, but I wouldn’t go back for anything! I would say, if homeschooling is a dream of yours, do all you can to prepare yourself by gathering information, discuss it with your spouse, and above all, pray and wait on God.
To check out other blog posts on this topic, click here to acces the TOS Blog Cruise: (I’m working on adding this as a widget to my sidebar 😉 )