This week, we’re wrapping up our homeschool guest post round-up here on the blog. I pray you’ve been encouraged and inspired as you begin your homeschool journey. Today’s guest post is by Mandy Lucas, another amazing veteran homeschool mom. Be encouraged as you read some homeschooling tips to get you started this year.
Homeschool. By now, we’ve all likely had at least a taste of it because of COVID-19. Maybe now you’re wondering if it’s the best option for your kids this school year as well. My family arrived at that decision before all this started back in February 2019. We had a few rough experiences in a public school, which caused us to rethink our decision. We made the call to homeschool in the middle of the school year.
This was not an easy decision. There were many tears, prayers, and even a few arguments. We were firm believers that our kids should be in public school, “in the world but not of the world.” I believed in public education and wanted to support it. Our decision to homeschool did not come lightly, and I am sure your decision isn’t either.
Whatever the reason you are considering homeschooling, I want you to know that you can do it! You love your child. God loves your child, and he has entrusted you to raise your child. That qualifies you, and He will equip you. Everything else you can learn as you go.
We plunged into homeschooling, and a year and a half later, I can say it’s the best decision we could have made. I don’t regret it.
Here are five things to get you started.
5 Things to Get Started Homeschooling
1. Know Your State Requirements
In Arizona, we had to file an affidavit of intent, have it notarized, and submit it to our school district. Every state is different so you’ll need to research your state’s requirements. Try starting here: https://hslda.org/legal
2. Join a Group
I immediately Googled “Christian homeschool groups” and “Christian homeschool co-ops” in my area. I found one and asked to visit. It was fantastic. It gave me an opportunity to ask questions, connect with other moms, and find support for those difficult days.
3. Find your Curriculum and Routine
If your kids are coming out of school for the first time, they are probably used to a structured schedule. Find a curriculum that works for you (Sonlight, ABEKA, or Classical Conversations, to name a few) and set a schedule.
*Pro-tip: It’s easiest to start with more structure early on and loosen it later, than the other way around.
4. Don’t Forget to Breathe and Pray
We didn’t expect grief to be part of our homeschool experience, but it was. We had a picture of what the school year would be like: I was planning to go back to work, and they would be in school. When that picture was lost, we each experienced different levels of grief. Your family had a picture of what this year would be like, and it isn’t going to be the way anyone pictured it. The way the school year ended last year, and the idea of not going back can trigger grief, for you and your kids. It’s OK to take a breath.
5. Keep the Conversation Open
Our family talked about why we were sad or angry about not going back to school. We talked about the friends they wanted to stay connected to. Talking about the opportunities homeschooling would bring, and what we wanted homeschool to look like, was helpful. We prayed–often. Then we got started. Just remember, sometimes you will need to take a breath, grieve a little, pray a lot, and keep moving forward.
Mandy Lucas is a mother of twin girls. She holds a Master’s Degree in Christian Education and Youth Ministry from Azusa Pacific University. Mandy is a former Children’s Pastor and worked in vocational ministry for over 15 years, and currently serves as Assistant Director of the New Life Transitional Program at Arizona Baptist Children’s Services in Tucson Arizona. She has a heart for encouraging women, and has spoken at a variety of women’s events, groups, and retreats.
*Need more homeschooling encouragement? Check out last week’s guest post by Trudie Schar.