The older boys were almost eight and seven. My oldest girl was almost six, and I was the most tired mother on the planet. We had seven little children under the age of eight. Half of the population of my household was not in school yet and couldn't tie their own shoes. Three kids were still in diapers. It was the year I resorted to buying everyone a pair of rain boots…for church. And on top of all of that, we were jumping into our first year of homeschooling.
There is no right time to begin. There is only beginning.
I am so glad I didn’t wait until I felt totally ready to homeschool. I just started with Sonlight and figured that I would learn what my kids needed as we went along. When I had challenges or doubts, I would ask around for resources. I read everything I could get my hands on about the brain, child development, personal growth, parenting, and self-care. I was determined to quell those negative voices in my head with firm facts.
Homeschooling is a journey of learning—for you and for your children.
Looking back, that first year of homeschooling was a sweet time of cuddling on the couch and reading books which remain beloved favorites to this day. We built forts and suits of armor out of cardboard as we acted out our history lessons. Good times!
Expect Homeschooling to be an Epic Adventure
No great journey is without its struggles. I said it was an adventure, and I meant it. Some days our adventure was like The Boxcar Children, full of brotherly love and discovery. Other days our adventure was more like The Lewis & Clark Expedition, slogging through the unknown wilderness with unexpected plot twists and obstacles everywhere.
The truth is, in the thick of it, some days were incredibly hard. Those days are a part of the whole package. I am so grateful to the many parents who openly share their struggles and challenges. If you are just starting out, please know you are not alone. Just like you, I didn’t always feel like I was doing the best job. But I knew I was making the right choice by teaching our kids at home.
There were days when I didn’t know if I would be prepared for everything that was going to come my way. It took some time for me to realize I did not need to be prepared for everything. I just needed to succeed today. Then I could focus on tomorrow. One foot in front of the other is how we came all of the way from those crazy years to last year’s high school graduation day.
Don't Get Too Far Ahead of Yourself When Launching Your Homeschool Adventure
If you are starting out in preschool, Kindergarten, or elementary years, you do not need to know how you are going to get through calculus or offer high school biology with a lab. You merely need to know what you are going to prepare for lunch and where your Instructor's Guide is.
When you actually do need to know how to create a transcript, for example, the resources are at your fingertips, quite literally. A Google search, a question in a Facebook group, or a call to Sonlight Advisors will answer most any homeschool dilemma you have.
To launch into homeschooling right now you need only a handful of things:
- a calling to teach your kids
- the knowledge of how your kids prefer to learn and how they learn best (usually the same ways)
- humility to admit when you don’t know the answers and ninja Google skills
- a willingness to work hard on the pains of your past so they don’t cast a shadow on your future
- a community of people to help answer your questions and encourage you
- a sense of humor
- a solid curriculum
- an occasional coffee date with another homeschool mom or your supportive spouse
Those should get you off to a pretty good start and should help keep you on track through your adventures.