Starting your homeschool can be a very daunting task. Last year when my husband and I decided to homeschool our children, I felt very overwhelmed and inadequate. After some research and reading from a lot of different resources, I still didn’t know where to begin. I ended up buying lots of curriculum and supplementary materials as well as all-access passes to several digital homeschool conventions and summits. I have yet to go through them all. But the recent summit that I happened to dabble in, the Curriculum 2.0 Online Homeschool Summit by homeschoolsummit.com, gave me a great insight into some things that I needed to consider first before starting my homeschool year. These are my takeaways from the first session by Rachael and Davis Carman of Apologia. I hope these help you as you start your homeschool journey.
How do you feel about starting your homeschool?
Do you ever feel like giving up because you’ve had a bad year of homeschooling due to different circumstances, some out of your control? Have you ever had a hard time accomplishing anything due to moody teenagers, little ones at home who need you, and character issues that come up in your kids and yourself? Do you feel like nothing will ever go the way you planned, no matter how much you try to make things perfect? These things happen, but it shouldn’t define how you move forward. What should matter is knowing God, knowing yourself, and knowing your kids.
Before starting your homeschool, you must know God.
The most important fact that you need before starting your homeschool is to know God. Acknowledge who He is and His place in your homeschool. Focus on God’s attributes, His sovereignty, His goodness, His faithfulness, His providence, His grace, His forgiveness. All of these are illuminated when you educate your kids at home. When you begin to choose what is best for your family, base it on who God is. Don’t worry about making the wrong choice because God is faithful and He redeems all things. Just be encouraged that He will give you strength to persevere through all the difficult choices you have to make.It's exhilarating to walk by faith without knowing the outcome, but knowing that God is in it.Click To Tweet Parenting then has this different level of responsibility. You’re not leaving it up to schools to teach your kids. It’s all on you. Yes, sometimes it can be so overwhelming, especially with what the world is telling you to do. But He is bigger than You and I am. Relying on Him for the results is the best outcome you can ask for. It’s not up to you to decide the path for your kids. Just be faithful and do what God calls you to do. The pressure is off of you when you know God.
After knowing God and placing Him in your homeschool, you must know yourself.
The sooner you can admit that “you can’t do this,” the sooner God can participate in what He is already doing. The most beautiful part of homeschooling is God inviting us to be part of what He wants to do in our hearts, in our kids’ lives, in our families, and in our communities and churches. We only need to submit and humble ourselves. Admit that we can’t but He can. God made you qualified to teach your kids because He gave you your kids. He knows your limits. Just rely on Him and you’ll have all the qualifications you need. Just work within the gifts that God has given you.
Your homeschool is for your kids. You must know your kids.
The thing that draws many parents to homeschooling is the opportunity to teach each of their kids as an individual. The key to achieving this customized education is to know each kid which takes a lot of time together. For some people that much time together can be unimaginable. Truth is, that much time together makes you become more in love with them. All your kids’ strengths and weaknesses, the differences in their personalities are all part of this tapestry that God is creating for your family.
The best way to get to know your kids is to read with them.
Once you learn their likes, dislikes, and interests, you can then tailor how you teach them. You can actually teach them in a disproportionate way. Whatever your kids’ interests are, you can spend more time on it to see if a skill develops. Then they can master it. Learning starts from your interests, which is why reading is so fundamental. It opens up different worlds of learning.
But not only should your children master their interests, but they also need to know how extraordinarily blessed they are to be able to learn different subjects. They also need to know to apply themselves to all the opportunities they’ve been given. Most of all, our objective in teaching our kids should be to light a fire in their hearts, so they can be warriors who stand up for God and know how to proclaim the good news.
Your homeschool goal should be to teach your kids to love God.
Deuteronomy 6 tells us “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” There are four practical times to teach this great commandment, whenever you:
- rise up,
- lie down,
- sit at the table, and
- travel along the way.
Basically, all of life. Homeschooling gives you this opportunity to teach how to love God. But you can also teach about life, character, and academic subjects. Your goal should not be to try to teach your kids everything they need to succeed. Your goal is to teach them to love God and He will fill all the gaps.In Acts 4:13, after Peter has spoken his message, the Sanhedrin realized that they, Peter and John, were unschooled, ordinary men, but they had been with Jesus.Click To Tweet Of all the things that you want your family to be known for, you want people to say that you’ve been with Jesus. And this is exemplified in how you speak, work, and live.