Have you been thinking about homeschooling for awhile?
Do you find yourself clicking on all the Pinterest or Facebook articles on homeschooling…and then thinking…well…it all sounds great…maybe next year.
I’m gonna wait till someone else teaches my kid to read.
I’m gonna wait till we make more money.
I’m gonna wait till after this pregnancy.
I’m gonna wait till the baby is sleeping through the night.
I’m gonna wait to see how my neighbor’s homeschool kids turn out first.
I am here to tell you, that you may want to reconsider waiting it out.
No, I’m not going to harp on school shootings, bullying, or even our failing education system – even though those are legitimate issues.
There are other reasons you may not have considered and that I haven’t seen discussed much in all of my own homeschool blog consumption.
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I first want you to know a little about me before I start beating this homeschool drum. You see, anyone who knows me, knows that I was a reluctant homeschooler.
I went to public school as a kid and I knew very few homeschoolers.
I didn’t think homeschoolers were weird or anything – I actually really respected parents who homeschool. In the same way I respect Marines and figure skaters – both require extreme discipline that I just wasn’t sure I possessed.
My oldest child attended preschool, pre-K, and a public school kindergarten before I made the decision to pull her out and start homeschooling.
If you’re interested, you can read here about why my family made that decision.
The point is, I came to the homeschool table reluctantly, but I am soooooooo glad that I did start and that I didn’t wait one more year to get going.
Here is why:
The first morning of homeschool for us was July 17th, 2017. I was so nervous to teach that I was nauseous. I started in July because I was pretty sure I was going to fall on my face and need to register my daughter in a “normal school.” My 6 year old daughter was also skeptical leading up to the start day, “Mommy you don’t know how to be a teacher.” Thanks a lot kid.
Anyhow, I had my curriculum laid out, and even set my alarm super early so that I would be all ready to go. When the day’s work was over, I kept flipping through my notes to see if I missed something. It was so short! And so simple! I remember feeling a bit underwhelmed after all of the anxiety and build up to that day.
I was so concerned that I actually did my millionth internet search on my curriculum to make sure it was a good one that met the 1st grade standards.
What I discovered is that 1st grade work is not rocket science. The main focus is on teaching reading, basic writing, and basic math skills (think simple addition, subtraction, skip counting, etc.). Every day you take little baby steps and slowly build upon concepts.
We are now nearing the end of 2nd grade, and I can see things are picking up in intensity. More complex writing (spelling tests, cursive, summaries, creative writing, etc.) is being assigned and more complex math (regrouping, time to the minute, etc.). Third grade is coming and it will bring multiplication tables with it! Yikes!
You need to know that the longer you wait to get your homeschool up and running – the more complicated and intense the material and standards are going to be. This could make your homeschool experience more challenging. I didn’t say impossible, just more difficult.
Would you rather start teaching with 2+2 or long division? Would you rather start with how to write the alphabet or how to conjugate verbs?
Trust me, starting as early as possible, will make things so much easier for you! Your learning curve will be on how to teach your child, NOT the material you are teaching.
As I said, my daughter spent a year in public school as a kindergartener. She was very eager to begin and start learning! She would nearly bounce out the door to my van with her homework packet for the week – she loved doing the work and learning!
I don’t recall how long it took, but eventually she was clued in that homework is “boring” and reading is “stupid.” Doing her weekly assignments became a struggle.
When she was taken out of the school system, it took some time, but we were able to erase the mentality that learning is lame. Yes, I still have struggles some days with getting her to complete her work, but for the most part she enjoys her school work and is interested in what we do – especially US History!
The really interesting thing though is her two younger sisters. I have a 5 and 3 year old who likely do not remember life before we were homeschoolers. They have been watching me homeschool for almost 2 years now and it has produced some surprising results.
My 3 year old was in tears this morning because I could not find her “math book” (dollar store preschool math book). At the same time, my 5 year old (she has a late birthday and doesn’t start kindergarten for about 6 months) asked to do her math book. She started completing page after page and didn’t want to stop! I could hardly keep up with her while I was trying to keep up with Oldest doing her spelling worksheet!
Their zeal for learning has actually become kind of a problem or me. They keep coming up to me and asking me to teach them when I am already doing a lesson with Oldest. I have to explain that we have to take turns. I can’t teach everyone at the same time!
What’s my point? They have been watching us and they think school work is cool. They think it’s neat to sit up to the classroom table and learn like their big sister! That is going to make my job so much easier as they get older!
The longer you wait to make the switch to homeschooling, the more you will have to work to undo the mentality that learning is boring and recess is everything.
The road to raising a life long learner will be that much more difficult for every year you put it off.
This is my number one reason to start homeschooling sooner rather than later. If you have multiple children, you want to start homeschooling the oldest before the younger ones are school age. Why?
As I said above, there will be a learning curve for YOU to learn how to teach and how to run your homeschool. You will be doing yourself an enormous favor if you start out with only one child, and get your feet under you before the next child is school age.
I currently only teach one formal curriculum, but in 6 months I will have a 3rd grader AND a kindergartener. Our routine will shift and I will need to balance things in a very different way. All of us are going to have to adjust to a new normal as we figure out how to navigate this change. I expect it to be bumpy at first as we settle in, but I am so thankful I started out with ONE kid and built up my confidence as a teacher before trying to balance more.
If you were just saying to yourself, “Well that’s it. My kids are all school age. She said it’s too late, so I guess I can’t homeschool.” That’s not what I said at all!
I am saying that for every year you wait to homeschool, you are going to make the transition more difficult. Not impossible, but just more complicated. The content you have to teach will be more intense. The negative attitude towards school work will be harder to overcome. The balance of teaching multiple ages at the same time will be an extra challenge to overcome.
If you really think homeschooling is something you want for your family – go for it! Don’t wait another year! You can do it! And it will never be easier than it is now.
Get started today and download my Ultimate Step by Step Checklist for Getting Started with Homeschooling! It is a FREE tool that I created to help you with every step you need to take to have an awesome first year of homeschooling. I know you will love it! Just click here!
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