I don’t know a thing about “Back to School” because I’m a homeschool graduate, from K-12th grade. So the first time I was a student in a classroom, I was in a French university!
Now I am homeschool mom with a third grader and first grader, staring down the Back to School season with a 2 year-old and newborn. Here are some encouraging reminders for myself and any other mama gearing up to homeschool!
They Will Be OK
I think all moms worry about messing up their kids, but homeschooling has an added level of stress. What if I fail them, not just as a mom, but academically as a teacher?
I am living proof that homeschooled kids can turn out OK. My mom was a pioneer, with fewer resources and less curriculum choices than we are blessed with today. She tried things, switched, and found what worked for her and her kids. She has successfully graduated seven students from her homeschool. We all can read and write. And those of us that wanted to go to college have gotten excellent grades.
Back to School is Whenever
You don’t have to follow a school schedule. Start July 31 or September 5 or do school all summer and take off December–it is all acceptable. Also, plan out your curriculum to fit your year how you need it.
Homeschool Teaches Them to Learn
The greatest thing my parents taught me in homeschooling was a love for learning, followed closely by curiosity. They provided quality books, from colorful non-fiction and textbooks, to fascinating historical fiction and classics. We had access to a microscope, to the kitchen, to the great outdoors, to the dictionary, to science and history CD-ROMS. We learned that knowledge is beyond the pages of a Saxon math book and high school graduation. A love of learning means kids will explore our world, filling in any gaps in their education because they are self-motivated.
Nevertheless, academics are great and necessary and kids need to be able to read, add and subtract. But if I can teach them the book work stuff at their own pace, and in ways that don’t disgust them, then we are doing great!
Spring is a great time to evaluate our progress and to research what curriculums/aides are out there. I am a huge fan of Sonlight curriculum for History/Geography, and I use their Teacher Guide so I don’t need to write lesson plans. Another boxed curriculum is My Father’s World. I take the summer to either collect used books or to find a package deal on eBay for that year’s curriculum.
Growing up, I watched my mom get pumped for the Back to School season by attending the Teaching Parents Association Convention at Century II every spring. There are dozens of speakers and workshops to help you and provide information. There are so many curriculum booths where you can actually see the materials.
However, this year, I’ve prepped by getting geckos and hanging pictures. Whatever.
I’m Not Alone
One morning after Thanksgiving, overcome by anxiety and morning sickness, I messaged my homeschool group friends and said, “I can’t do this.” They are the reason I am still homeschooling this fall.
Don’t face this Back to School alone. Here’s a list of the homeschool groups in the Wichita area (and beyond). We are members of the Newton Homeschool Fellowship. The Monday morning classes together are fabulous. My favorite is the Apologia Science class. I don’t have to choose which book or plan lessons and they do the cool experiments.
Enjoy homeschooling this year! You got this, mama.
Click here for more resource on homeschooling in Wichita and the surrounding areas.