Mama, are you hanging in there? Are you struggling with the lack of normalcy? Do you currently have your kids “training” so they can attend school in the fall with a mask on or are you considering keeping them home and attempt to home-school them? Are you as afraid as I am, for not knowing what will be the future of this country?
The year of COVID-19. What a year…
Where to start, right?
Businesses closed, social distancing, gloves, and, were masks enforced. One person per family allowed at some stores, no children allowed in others. Sickness, unemployment, schools closed, some had to start working from home…Shortage of food and even of toilet paper.
Life basically stopped.
And that is not even mentioning the protests, the riots, the division of the nation.
And it’s only July…
Let me give you a little bit of a backstory so you understand why I feel like I can write about this. Please know that I write this out of a humble heart. I am, by no means, an expert. I just feel a a strong desire to lift others up and remind us all to seek peace, trust in God and find courage to do the things that He has call you to do.
I am an immigrant from Colombia, I became a U.S. citizen in the year of 2013. I came to this country not knowing much English but with an immense desire to learn the culture and the language. When I first learned about home education was though my husband. His mom had done it with some of his siblings.
Some of the questions that I made back then about homeschooling and that I currently hear other moms are:
- How does a mom teach her kids without a degree?
- Does that mean that I can’t work anymore?
- What happens if I have more than one kid and they are in different grades?
- How do I clean the house and cook if I have to teach my kids?
- What about me time? This sounds like a 24/7 gig. How do I take care of my own needs?
- Will my kids feel lonely without their school friends?
- Are they going to become awkward?
- What about the academics?- What if they don’t qualify for College because of low scoring?
I think back and remember how the idea sounded like total craziness in my mind, at the same time, it started to feel more doable every time my husband and I would come across a homeschooling family and they’d start sharing about their experience. I started to wonder more and more about it but being from a different country brought even more fears to this mama’s heart. Finally, one day, we decided to try it “only for one year” we said. “The next one we will enroll our kids right away back in school”…We are on our 3rd year and going strong.
Friend, if this Colombian mama has been able to figure out a way to make it work for her and her family, I am sure, YOU also CAN do it.
Allow me to answer the previous questions for you:
- You don’t need a degree to teach your kiddos. You might need refreshments of what you once learn or learn as you go (which is what I find myself doing in subjects that were taught to me differently back in my country of origin). You can get help by finding a curriculum. I followed one the first year and once I felt confident enough, I started to customize our learning in a way that would fit our family and kid’s needs the best. A curriculum is a tool and you can use it as much or as little as needed.
- Since you wont be teaching a class of 18 students you can get done A LOT in a little time. So, you can actually work part time if you’d like. It’s just a matter of arranging a schedule that works for your family.
- Educating multi age kids is a little bit tricky but let me tell you some good news: there are multi-age curriculum out there. Also, kids become very independent with their work and, this is great preparation for college and life in general, often overlooked in public schools!. And, after you present a lesson they can be left to do some individual learning while you work with another child. You can stretch or summarize a subject to make it work for all your students. This is my favorite thing to do! If I can teach a history where I can engage my 4, 8 and 10-year-old, then I am all about that. This won’t work for everything of course but it can help you save time whenever is possible. Lastly, you can outsource a class. By finding a COOP (see notes at the end if you need more info about coops) or a mama that knows more about that specific topic (Hello Science mama friends!!- you’re my favorite!!)
- I like to include cleaning, cooking, repairing, gardening and wood working into our schedule. We all live in this house; we are all responsible to keep it and care for it. (These are by far some of the most important lessons children will get from being at home. At least the ones that they will use the most during adulthood). Call it Home Ec. and add it to the schedule. Make sure it happens. Done.
- If you spend a couple weeks training your kids into being independent, if you can be organized with your time, and if you stick to the plan you make and adjust as needed until it works for everyone, you will have time to do YOU. Whether it is reading a book, tending a garden, doing your nails or doing a workout or another personal hobby; you will have the time to do it.
- If you have more than one child, most of the time, with good instruction, they will become the best of friends. Homeschooling has the beauty of allowing your family to work on differences, nourish relationships and create deeper bonds between each other. If you have only one child, let me tell you the homeschooling community (Especially in the US) is extensive. You own your schedule; you can arrange it in a way that you and your kids get enough social interaction as possible. Let me tell you, I have never in my life been as *social* as I have been ever since I started homeschooling my kids. The flexibility that you find in homeschooling is fantastic.
- We ALL are a bit awkward! 🙂 whether we go to school or learn at home. The intellectual, the nerd, the clown, the star, the teacher’s pet, the shy, the bully, the drama queen will be just that, wherever he/she is.
- Actually, studies show homeschooled children enjoy a statistical advantage in many important facets of life. Studies have linked homeschooling to greater community involvement in adulthood, a higher likelihood of civic engagement, and to above-average scores on measures of psychological and emotional development. The college graduation rate for homeschooled students is 67%, nine points higher than the 58% clip for traditionally schooled teens. So, in other words, YES, they will totally be College material.
So now, you are seriously considering the option, but then you wonder. “What do I do next?… Where do I start?”.
I’ll give you 5 steps to get you started:
- Pray about it. Please ask God for wisdom and direction.
- Find yourself a homeschooling mama friend.
- Find a good resource where you can get some good and valuable information. [Please be aware that there is an extensive amount of resources out there and that can lead you into feeling overwhelmed (at least I did)]. Perhaps ask said homeschooling friend to give you a book recommendation or find a high rated one online. A lot of the home school experience is trial by error. You will always be tweaking and refining your schedule and curriculum. What might work for one kid, might not work for another. What might work one year might need to be adjusted the next. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adapt and change as needed. Just remember, friend, patience, prayer and rest are most important and should always be you go to in times that you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
- Attend or find an online (hello again COVID-19) homeschool convention. In short, a homeschool convention is where you can find all the curriculum, all the speakers, all the material in ONE SINGLE PLACE. At the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, my husband and I attended The Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH. And it was AH-MAZING to say the least. You can see if they have one close to you or register for an online one here
Planning for the fall right now seems silly, as we are basically having to guess what we are going to do. But we all need some sort of tangible plan for the future. Especially if there are kids involved. So I really hope these posts helps you organize your ideas and think about what the next steps will be for you and your sweet family.
Let me know if this helped you and also if you have any questions or suggestions about what I should write about next, please drop a comment below.
“We ought to enter into God’s rest and then serve Him wholeheartedly- not out of anxiety, but out of love and trust.”– Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
To read more about homeschooled children going to college read this article: https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/how-do-i-help-my-homeschool-student-get-into-college/
An excellent book to read to get you started and one that I continue to read year after year to get me ready for the new school year is this one. i will have to do a post just in this wonderful book alone because it is that amazing.
Homeschooling is a big, BIG commitment. It might not be for everyone and if you feel like you cannot take on a big challenge, this option might not be for you. Your patience will be tested, it will be hard until everyone gets the routines down, and even then, you may need to arrange and rearrange things every so often. But if you decide to do it, the reward will be immeasurable!
Thank you for reading and remember that with God all things are possible and If God brings you to it; He will bring you through it!”~ Isaiah 58:11.
My next post will be on curriculum. Be sure to sign up to receive my emails so you don’t miss it 🙂