Friday, November 22, 2013

How to Homeschool

.Are you wondering if you can Homeschool?
You can do it!

If you are just starting taking your family into homeschooling, I know that you started this journey by debating with yourself, by researching everything on line that you could, and by talking with your partner and/or your children.  

By deciding that your family lifestyle is one that you wish to create deliberately!

Once you decide to take the plunge, two feelings override everything: excitement and fear!
You understand the excitement! To experience that can-do feeling. To have read a million reports of other parents confidently doing it. To have figured out a direction that appeals to you and that fits your family. It almost feels like flying inside of your own head! We can do this! We can take the reins of our children's education and we can make it everything that we want it to be! Personal, motivated, self-directed, child-focused, child-led, peaceful, exciting, outside-of-the-box, honest, rich, secular. It is a wonderfully heady feeling!

Then comes the fear!
OH how I know it!

For me it resembled that moment when I brought my kids home from the hospital as newborns. Excited and full of promise and...and now what?! 
 I suddenly felt overwhelmed and SO not up to the task of raising this little life, this little child that relied totally on me!  Begining homeschool for me was Exactly like that: The nights in bed where I felt panic. The tears with my husband where I was sure I was messing them up for life. The complete derth of people around me who understood or supported me.

And yet, somehow, here we are!

Homeschooling can be a bit like that. You just move into it, and suddenly, you are homeschooling. For me it took at least a year before that fear in my heart began to find comfort and confidence. And that's fair, isn't it?

 What to do about the fear?
First, be prepared to have that fear for awhile. It is normal in all new situations! Remember your fear when you first started your first new job? Remember walking up to the door and feeling trepidation and excitement all at once? Remember the roller coaster? Fear and excitement all at once. So comfort yourself with the memory of past successes. It takes time, but day by day by day you can get past it.
Remind yourself why you began this journey. Remind yourself that it is worth it. Revisit some of your research, the stuff that supports your belief that homeschooling is beneficial for your children.

Recognize that you are learning to homeschool. 

You are homeschooling yourself. (Do you notice that this process is a familiar one? The fear comes from being so responsible for the ones who you love most and with not wanting to fail them.) You will be learning when to knuckle down, when to lighten up, when to push, when to pull back, where to look for support, what places and people to avoid, who to trust, who your people are, what your strengths are, where to find out more, how to create goals, how does a child learn?, what does knowledge mean?, and, importantly, you will be learning just how capable of a human being you are. Because homeschooling parents eventually become some of the neatest, most capable, shockingly resourceful, admirably passionate, well-rounded people I have ever known.

If possible, connect with other homeschoolers. In real life, on line. Hold on tight and ask questions. Be comforted by the fact that those who you respect now were once beginners themselves. 

As I write this, I am at the swimming pool watching a couple swimming with their young son. He is about four years old. He can't really swim, but they are with him, encouraging him, holding him up, giving him controlled freedom, sharing his smiles, answering his questions, loving him, letting him struggle with them nearby, trusting him, trusting themselves, talking about how he is swimming, letting him go a bit further each time, making his learning a family event.
They are teaching him how to swim.

That child is learning that his parents are there for him, that moving a bit further away is okay, that his parents want him to succeed, that he can take a rest, that learning is fun, that he is capable. And those parents are learning that they are capable teachers.

When I talk to the parents, they tell me that it has been quite a journey from fear to confidence. It is a beautiful thing! Homeschooling is like that.

 If you are a new homeschooler or a parent considering homeschooling, 
please check out some of my other blog posts labeled 
How to Homeschool or Considering Homeschool.
I also have a label for Criticism for Homeschool.
If you enjoyed this post you might also read:  
Homeschool "How To" Books

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