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Monday, August 18, 2014

Homeschooling, what does it take?

So what does it take to homeschool? A willing heart, and some perseverance, When you get the "why" the "how" comes.

The Why becomes the How.

There are many things to consider when you are considering homeschooling.
I think the most important thing you need to figure out is WHY?
Why do you want to homeschool your child? This is what it always comes back to in the end. There will be days you want to call it quits. Guess what? Life is like that. There are days I hated public school when I was a kid, and days I liked it. There are good days in our homeschool journey, and their are days that can be frustrating.  There are good times, and tough times, and life happens. It will happen when you homeschool too.

The Vision:  The "why" is not the vision. The "why" is the road that keeps you going toward the vision, that you are uncovering during this journey.

I have an incredible book that I re-read often. It is called "The Angel in the Marble." This book made such a big difference in how I approached homeschooling. One of the articles mentions Michaelangelo. He would walk around a square piece of marble for days and just stare at it. Of course people felt this was odd behavior. When questioned, he responded "I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free."  He was able to capture a vision of what that piece of marble would become. He would begin to chip away, little by little, and then stare some more. He continued in this fashion until his work was done.

We like, Michaelangelo,  are called to seek the vision God has for our children. We should ask for wisdom to provide the resources they need to learn and become the person they are to become. We don't need to regurgitate information to them. This goes so much further than just academics. We are to contribute to building the whole person, - mind, spirit and body.

When my daughter turned 3, I enrolled her in her first dance class. It was a creative movement class. I had no idea then that dance would become a passion for her. For her, dance is worship, she can express herself through it. The older she gets, the more I see dance really becoming a big part of her life and who she is.  As we continued on the journey, I allowed her to take different types of dance classes, gymnastics, art, and follow musical interests like piano and most recently guitar. Some things she likes, other things, she may find she is not so passionate about. That is okay. I am partnering with God, in helping her find her destiny.

The Mission: What am I trying to accomplish here.

When I began our homeschooling journey, I wrote out a simple mission statement. It is still in my binder today. It states my vision and my why. My mission has never, ever changed. The vision will become more specific over time, it will fine tune and become more focused. But the mission remains the same. Why am I doing, what I am doing?  There are many reasons I homeschool, but what I want at the end of this journey is what matters most.  One day, the kids will be ready to go out on their own-who do I want them to be?  What kind of person do I want to put out into this world-that so desperately needs people that care.  That is simply two things-I want to know my children (relationship), and I want them to become the person that God has created and destined them to become.

Under my mission statement I have this written:
Relationships first,  (with God, with each other.)
Life Skills second,  (character, diligence, work ethic, etc.)
Academics third. (reading, writing, and arithmetic, etc.)

Keeping priorities in order is key.  Sometimes, we may have to set things down-to get this back in the right priority.

Other things to consider are:

My child's learning style. (Auditory, kinesthetic, visual?)

What curriculum to use.

What activities to be involved in: co-ops, dance, sports if available, etc.  It is important to find others on this journey to support you-and you likewise can be a support system to them. Sometimes the simplest thing can just be one friend of two that you can talk to when you need to vent.
My child is an individual, and the plan for one child, may look very different from the plan of another child. (This is OK. If you haven't read the "School for Animals" article, now is a good time to read it.)

Invest in Yourself
The other thing I highly recommend is to invest in yourself. You cannot give yourself, if you are tired, and frustrated or burnt out.  Get with other like minded moms/parents. Join in some fun activities to help strengthen you and your children. Their are even online support groups that can offer support.

Last but not least is:

You can learn as you go.

Remember, You don't have to have a 12 year plan-when your child is in Kindergarten. Don't become overwhelmed by the "what ifs".  You are not going to ruin your child. You are just taking a different route to get to the final destination. Just take it one year at a time. (Or one semester at a time.)  I began with a 1 year plan.  I knew I could always enroll him the following semester if I needed to or felt I couldn't handle the task.  You don't have to have it all figured out now. You can learn as you go too. On the journey you and your children will both begin to grow and change.