Home schooling can be a challenge, but when approached with an open mind it can be easier than you might expect. We began out journey over 10 years ago and I have never regretted our choice. We have not always had easy days and there have been times that I have thought I could not ever do another day, but somehow I have always managed to tread on and enjoy the years.
I remember in the beginning that I was so scared that I could not successfully teach my children. Now, what most of you do not know is that I attended college to be an elementary school teacher and my kids were second and sixth grade when I began home schooling. As I gave my fears some thought, I knew that I was capable of teaching, but these were my own kids and I wanted the best for them. I had to do a good job as a teacher while still being a parent, mom, wife, and work outside of the home. Yes, I am good at time management, but wasn’t sure that I was that good.. I also did not know where to begin, but I knew that my children were expecting me to do a good job with their education.
I began looking online and talking to other moms that I knew home schooled and I got so many different ideas for curriculum and began to instantly feel overwhelmed. How could I choose which curriculum was best for me? What if I used the wrong thing? What was best to teach the subjects that my girls needed? All of these were legitimate concerns and I had to find a way to weed things out before I went bankrupt buying new things to teach with that might or might not work for them. I had to make some choice and they had to be informed choices.
I knew that Bob Jones University was a good curriculum choice, but I also knew that it would not work for my youngest as she was not going to do 8 hours of work without any problems and she did not work well on her own. I also knew that workbooks were a help for us as she might stay interested if she was busy. I decided to try the Life Pacs from Alpha- Omega. They were easy to understand and I liked the way that they were laid out, but then I learned of the Pace’s from Accelerated Christian Education. These were also workbook based learning that had a similar layout and seemed to be just as entertaining and educational as the Life Pacs. So now another decision and I was sure I would not make the right choice.
I done what every good mother would do, I ordered both. My husband was not thrilled, but when I explained that I was only looking out for the kids and a good education, he understood , I think. Maybe he just tolerated my choices that first year. We were learning along with our children in this journey. Both were great programs and the girls learned from both, but I found that neither program was the perfect fit for us. It took many trials and errors with programs to learn what would and would not work.
The first thing that new home school moms must learn is that they are going to make mistakes and they are not going to find a perfect curriculum without some trial and error. Plus as children age and learn new things, another program might be better than what they used the first year. One important thing to remember is that all children do not learn the same way and that makes teaching more than one a more difficult matter than one might think .
Math-U-See is a great math program but is very repetitive and some children will not need as much practice as it gives. However, for someone who is struggling with math, it can be a good program. It worked well with one of our children, but the other would have been very bored with it. I liked the fact that the professor was on DVD and could teach the child, while I was busy doing something else. I quickly learned that my child expected me to know exactly what he had said on the DVD and when I did not, I was not doing my job as a teacher according to the children. However, I had to at least know what facts they were learning. I found the DVD’s to be a great help when I was not the only one trying to explain a new concept.
Local bookstores and the library was of great help in that first year too. The library offers plenty of reading opportunities and has books on most any subject that you might need to study. Our local library even offered a parent-teacher resource center where many educational books were located. The local bookstore was a help in even finding textbooks that they would use in the public school system that I could use for history and science. The librarians here are very helpful in finding books and other learning items that will aid in our home school work.
Apologia Science was one of our favorites! They know how to make science fun and interesting. We personally enjoy science experiments and I feel they are a great learning opportunity and each unit in Apologia had an experiment with it. Apologia is a very Christ centered learning program, but I was not against that. This program is based on the Biblical creation and not evolution. I chose to add the theory of evolution to the teaching as I feel it is important to teach all aspects and Charles Darwin did make big contributions to the field of science. One of our favorite books in the Apologia Science program was the Land Animals. We found it to be very educational and fun!
Another great aspect of home schooling is that you can teach your children that there are more than one way to look at things. I know many home school families who choose not to teach evolution because it goes against their religious beliefs. I believe that the world was created by God, but I also feel that in order to understand science you must understand that science is all theory that has been proven to a point and I believe that anyone who has contributed to the field should be acknowledged. I taught the theory of evolution in the same aspect as I did slavery. I don’t believe in slavery, but it was part of history and I believe that the children should understand that things happen that we don’t believe in but that is important to the educational field.
There are some great free sites online that will give you access to most subjects until high school and we have even found a program that we are thrilled with for that. Sites like Khan Academy, An Old-Fashioned Education, and All In One Home schooling are great educational tools for anyone who is home schooling. We use All In One for most of my daughters’ classes this year and we love the layout as it is divided up by work to be done daily. I recommend that you check these sites out before you buy curriculum. You might find that you can do most of the work online.
If you are considering home schooling , don’t be alarmed by what is out there. Like any new thing you consider doing, you must be excited about it and you must be willing to do trial and error on some things to find what works for you and what doesn’t. All families are different and what worked for us, might not work for you. This is just my advice for those who might think they would like to do it and can’t.