"I really want to homeschool my child, but I just don't know " and their voice trails off as they are deep in thought. This is a statement I have heard repeatedly, and then they ask for advice.
My two youngest children, who are now 13 1/2 and almost 12, have always lived WITHOUT school. My four older children went to school and college, one graduates in May, so I can compare.
Life without school is GLORIOUS and is a wondrous JOURNEY!
Here's some of my advice:
- Please know that you can homeschool...legally and with confidence. You CAN do it!
-All you need to do is LOVE your child WHOLEHEARTEDLY and want to see your child HAPPY.
-You don't need to know everything, but just know where to go to find the information, resources and experiences to provide your child a RICH ENVIRONMENT where learning is JOYFUL and EXCITING.
-You need to be willing to see outside the box though , to REDEFINE LEARNING as you know it (school and separate subjects) .
All of learning and life is INTERCONNECTED. Learning takes places at all times and in all forms.
The WHOLE WORLD is out there to draw from, so please do not mimic school at home.
-Don't worry about a curriculum or textbooks (don't waste your money!), instead, look to your child and see what INTERESTS him/her and START there. Go to libraries, bookstores, videostores, toystores, museum shops,etc. Find something that looks COOL and bring it home. You never know where it may lead.
-TUNE INTO what interests YOU. What are YOU passionate about? Go forth with that . You will be sharing that experience whether your child joins in or just asks questions. And more importantly, you are modeling that LEARNING IS LIFELONG and that all people need BALANCE in their lives and TIME to devote to their passions.
- READ books and websites about learning, homeschooling, unschooling, mindful parenting, etc with an OPEN MIND.
Know that noone is 100% like someone else, but as you read you can take in what will fit in YOUR life.
More knowledge might cause you to QUESTION your life and your expectations. It's a good thing...to question and re-evaluate your life ...to make it the BEST it can be, for yourself and for your child.
- Don't worry about what kind of homeschooler you are or need to be. Don't compare yourselves to other homeschoolers and what they are doing. Everyone is UNIQUE and the benefit of learning without school is to go with that *uniqueness*.
Just let your days FLOW and see learning in all that you do and everywhere you go. Keep a journal for yourself if you must. You will be amazed at what you do and what you learn.
-Realize that people learn things readily and with Joy IF it has MEANING to them. Think back to YOUR school days.
- Be your child's PARTNER . Talk about EVERYTHING (do you know how much learning takes place in conversations?). And really LISTEN to your child with all your being.
Be IN THE MOMENT.
Let him/her tell you and show you WHY he likes what he likes and vice versa. JOIN IN with his passions with him. You will gain much more than knowledge. Respect, love, trust come to mind. And your child will feel valued.
- Ask yourself often, Is my child HAPPY? Am I happy? If not, what one step can you take to make life better? One small step to start with, then the next and so on.
People tend to shrug off the word happy and minimize the importance of happiness. It's a small word but a very important and powerful one.
If you can truly say you and your child are HAPPY,
then Life IS good and you are on your way.