New to Homeschooling-Ten Steps to SuccessJul 12th, 2008 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles, New to Homeschooling
Step One-Commit to Consistency
- Be sure to commit to a full year-one year at a time. For many first time homeschoolers, the thought of years of running a homeschool can be daunting-in some cases, so much so that they have trouble making the decision. And although we believe that you will continue for years to come, your level of commitment should be one year at a time–one full year.
- Be sure to commit to a schedule. Many homeschool Moms love to be spontaneous and to enjoy the freedom they have in homeschooling. However, this can sometimes go too far. If you are tired of hearing, “Can we do . . .today?” or “What are we doing today?,” you need structure. Kids like to know-to be informed. In fact, I guarantee that your kids will thrive on organization and a specific schedule. Better yet, you will hear far fewer questions on what to expect each day.
Let me share with you an example that Annette, one of our Bridgeway Advisors shared with me recently:
The friend who was instrumental in my decision to homeschool was always willing to help as questions came up. However, she was virtually unreachable because of her unpredictable schedule. She was always on the run to various doctor’s appointment, last minute get togethers, or other events.
By her own admission, her home was always a disaster and it was difficult to find the seats in her car. Did she get the job done? Yes! Her kids did succeed in getting through their schoolwork each year, and she did come up with some pretty creative enrichments, but she was always a bit frazzled.
It wasn’t until she committed to homeschooling with a friend that she was forced to get organized. Her friend was incredibly structured and required her to follow suit. As a result, she found herself at home much more often following a schedule. She also noticed that she was much more relaxed; her home was much more manageable; and her kids were much more engaged. They knew that there was a time for school, a time to play, and a time to clean up.
In her words, ‘Discipline made such a huge difference in the lives of my younger children. I wish I would have established this kind of routine from day one.’
Best of all, I am still amazed that I can call and find her at home!”
Commit to Spiritual Foundations
If you are homeschooling with the intent of building a strong spiritual foundation, your greatest commitment should be your commitment to building you and your children’s relationship with God.
It is far too easy to let your desire for academic success become a higher priority than training your children to know God. Since most of you are considering homeschooling because of your commitment to a strong Biblical foundation for your kids, you are saying to yourself, “That won’t happen in my home.” But let me assure you, many of us said the same thing and were surprised to find ourselves setting aside Bible time in order to fit in the creative ideas we have developed to enhance our programs.
Go into it knowing that it happens to the best of us and don’t be too confident that it couldn’t happen to you.
Commit to Your Husband/Wife
Your commitment to your husband/wife is essential to a successful homeschool program. In fact, this is one area that many of our homeschoolers say is their greatest challenge in homeschooling. However, when your relationship is strong and you are supportive of one another, you will find that everything else is manageable.
In this area, I recommend the following four steps to success:
- Be sure that you are in agreement with homeschooling-this will be especially essential as you work through the struggles. If your spouse is not in support of homeschooling, his or her attitude will greatly affect your homeschool environment.
- Do the research and share your results with your spouse before making a final decision on what program you will use.
- Define your roles before you begin. For instance, my husband was in charge of science experiments and assisting with math when necessary. He knew in advance that these were his responsibility so he went in to it with his eyes wide open. Those roles can include simple household responsibilities, dinner, physical education, or a specific subject.
- Commit to spending one-on-one time with your spouse a minimum of once a week. If your budget does not allow a formal date, take a walk, brew a cup of tea and find a private place to sit and talk, take a drive, or turn off the TV and go to bed early.
Commit to Establishing New Relationships
Building relationships with other homeschoolers is an essential part of a successful homeschool program. Not only will these friendships provide much needed support, encouragement, and an endless stream of ideas, they will also provide new friendships for your children.
Homeschoolers love to help each other. We love to share ideas, to create field trip opportunities, to hold each other up through times of struggle and to be there to help when needed.
If you are new to homeschooling and have not been steered in this direction by a veteran homeschooler, start with an Internet search. Many homeschool support groups now have websites where they can publish upcoming events, classes and other opportunities. You can also log on to Bridgeway Academy’s website and search for support groups in your area.
Commit to Standing Firm Against the Opposition
Unfortunately, not everyone will support your decision to homeschool. In fact, sometimes the greatest opposition comes from your own family. Therefore, before you take this step, you must commit to standing firm. In most cases, those who oppose what you are doing do so because of a lack of information and preconceived notions as well as a concern for your children.
You can choose to provide some websites where they can research what homeschooling is about-its successes and its benefits. However, avoid too much discussion and debate. Give it some time. When they see the outcome in your children, they will not be able to keep themselves from getting on board.
Commit to Your Child
Know that not every day is going to be easy. And since you are a parent, you know that it is not always easy to handle every situation with patience and love.
- Recognize that you will have days when you are ready to lock your child in a room-then make the commitment not to give in to that temptation! ;-)
- Commit to providing the best education to your child
- Commit to giving of yourself and your time
- Commit to remaining firm on expectations.
- If you are planning to homeschool a child who has already spent some time in school, commit to taking the time to explain your decision; to hearing him or her out; and to working together to design a plan of attack.
- Lastly, commit to helping your child develop a love of learning.
I know this may seem overwhelming, but once you make those commitments you are ready to start one of the most rewarding journeys you will ever experience!
Additional homeschooling posts:
Who’s Got Game? Guest Author Raquel Pedraza Gives Us the Scoop on Tennis and Homeschooling!
Teenage Tennis Star Loves the Ability to “Learn Without Limitations” By Choosing a Bridgeway Homeschool Curriculum .