As a veteran homeschooling mom, I hear it ALL.
After 6 years of TRYING to navigate a world that is FOREVER new to me, only SOMEDAYS do I feel like I am slightly NOT FAILING.
I think THAT part of homeschooling NEVER changes. Because everyday is a new battlefield.
Being a homeschool teacher is job that stretches ME.
Because….I only get ONE SHOT at 4th grade.
Well…actually I get 4 shots at 4th grade- or EVERY GRADE for that matter(LOL), but I don’t have the option to fail.
It is TOTALLY my fault if my kids can’t write a paper, multiply 8x9, READ, or know how to navigate the internet.
Can you say PRESSURE????
It is something that only a homeschooling Mom knows.
THAT is the deep dark “secret” of homeschooling Moms….
We answer questions with ease,
we smile with enthusiasm while teaching at co-op,
we mentor other homeschooling Moms,
we attend meetings and we TRY.
But we are all facing our “first day” …that day.
No matter if you have been a homeschooler for 15 years or 5 days…we have that in common.
WHAT WE ARE FACING THAT DAY….IS BRAND NEW FOR US.
The other day I got a Facebook message from a mom who has a young son and she was wondering WHEN to start homeschooling her son….It made ME feel good to see THIS answer posted by another homeschooling friend of mine Melissa:
Let me start be telling you that I am personally a huge believer in the "better late than early" philosophy. If that style does not resonate with you, you can take my advice with a grain of salt. :) If I were in your shoes and starting at the beginning like that, I would spend my time developing a family rhythm/routine that works while also learning everything I could about various educational philosophies. Right now, I believe the most important things to Zion are rhythm, helping you with real work, being read aloud to, TONS OF TIME to play, time outside, stories, art (free art ... let him have at it, not directed "teaching" type art), baking, nature walks, crafts, play, play and more play. Establish a rhythm of waking and eating and sleeping at the same times and fill in the in-between time with those things above.
While you're establishing rhythm and habits with him, do some Momma-education ~ read during naptime or whenever you can. Read up on Waldorf Education, Charlotte Mason Education (my personal favorites), Unschooling, Thomas Jefferson/Leadership Education, The Well Trained Mind, Montessori, etc. Learn everything you can about the various methods and philosophies to see what speaks to YOU most. Always remember that there are no homeschool police coming to see what / how you do things. Take the bits and pieces that you like from the various philosophies and leave what you don't like. You don't have to follow any one philosophy to the letter!
Christopherus Homeschool has a good resource called Kindergarten with your 3 to 6 year old. Siimplycharlottemason.com has a good Early Years guide. Also, the book by Karen Andreola, The Charlotte Mason Companion is great. But, again, none of those philosophies start "formal academics" before the age of 6.
If you think you need structure and guidance even with the tasks I've mentioned above, Little Acorn Learning has "childcare guides" that are awesome (even has a daily rhythm in there for you to follow complete with recipes, stories, crafts, painting, etc.) When you're ready for the letters, I know that Oak Meadow Kindergarten is very popular as far as laying out 36 weeks of "lessons" for you, but only doing simple stories and activities for the letters and numbers and arts and crafts. Oh, another one you might like is Five in A Row. For your age, you'd check Before Five in a Row. It has all kinds of activity ideas based around wonderful children's literature. You might also like Sonlight (depending on where you stand with your faith ... it is a Christian based company). They have LOVELY book choices for the little ones! My Father's World (also VERY Christian) is popular for Kindergarten as well.
Spend some time perusing sites like Simplycharlottemason.com, christopherushomeschool.org, simplehomeschool.net (simple homeschool will break down ALL of the philosophies for you and there are tons of moms that have contributed their schedules, curriculum choices, philosophies, etc). Just google various homeschool styles and learn everything you can BEFORE you try to begin. Read blogs that interest you (but don't get caught up in comparisons). Read a lot now to prepare you for later. But as far as "school" at this age, just have fun with him! Just be there for him right now and prepare yourself for what's to come.
If it were ME (and again, that's just me .. you have to find out what YOU believe), I would set up a rhythm with "in breaths" and "out breaths" ... alternate physical activity with quiet focused activity ... something that includes:
Morning Routine (Dress, Make Bed, Breakfast, Teeth, etc.)
Together Time (Circle Time, stories, songs, dance)
"Focused Time" (daily activity ~ Baking/Cooking one day, Painting day, Coloring Day, Craft Day, Game Day, Household work day)
Snack ~ Let him help to prepare it and clean up
Nature Walk or just time outside
Real work ~ Let him help you with your chores
Lunch ~ Again, let him help
Outside work and play
Lots of free and creative play time
I wouldn't worry about letters and numbers and learning to read or any of that just yet. He will pick those things up during LIFE as long his world is rich.
I'm always happy to answer questions! You are also welcome to peruse my blog. I've talked about a lot of this there.
Many blessings on your journey. TAKE IT SLOW. If you are really going to do this, you have MANY MANY YEARS to teach him all the things you want to teach him. :)
In HIS Light,
PERFECT advice for a young homeschooling Mom.
Start slow. Enjoy the ride. Take comfort in the “secret” that we are all ONE…
we all are walking common ground.
No matter if it is day 1 or day 2001.
It is the same. We are all connected.