First of all, relax. You can do this. There is plenty of help available today that wasn’t around even 10 years ago. This of course is part of the problem. There is SO much information it is hard to know where to start and who to believe.
With this checklist in hand, you’ll have a path to follow so you won’t get pulled off down a hundred little rabbit trails of what other people are doing. It all looks so cool, so innovative and so sure to provide a fun and exceptional education for your kids, it is hard to resist, but resist you must. At least at first, until you get a firm idea of what you want to accomplish based on the needs and abilities of your specific family.
Let’s start with what not to do:
#1 – Stay off Pinterest! Too many distracting, but awesome ideas for what you ”could” be doing. I am only half joking here. As a new homeschooler it is so easy to find a million and one homeschooling ideas, or blogs of other homeschoolers and it looks like they are all doing so many varied and wonderful activities. You can easily get overwhelmed and discouraged thinking you have to do it all too. Truth is, a lot of folks are writing about homeschooling because it is a popular topic, but not many of them have been actually homeschooling very long. They write about things that would be fun to do, but they aren’t actually doing them. They are too busy washing diapers, cleaning up Legos and yelling at their oldest child to SIT DOWN AND FINISH LAST WEEK’S MATH WORK.
#2 – Ignore the perfect family on the cover of this month’s homeschooling magazine. You know the one I mean. All 11 kids are dressed in outfits handmade by mom. They speak 3 languages, play in the local orchestra, run their own business from home, and finish high school at 13, college by 15 and grad school at 20. That family may exist but they are NOT the norm.
#3 – Step away from the curriculum catalog. It should come with a warning label “Caution, may induce panic and overwhelming feelings of guilt because you aren’t doing enough for your children” Your first step is not to dive in and try to figure out which curriculum is best. No wonder you are confused and frustrated!
Let’s stop curriculum hopping!
One of the biggest and most popular homeschool websites tells people to start homeschooling by joining a co-op, buying their magazine, and then going curriculum shopping. Seriously? There is no way in the world you would have any idea of where to begin evaluating curriculum when there are literally hundreds of choices out there.
You are left asking advice from other homeschool moms whose families, needs, experience, lifestyle, and budget are likely to be very different from your own. People end up spending hundreds of dollars on “the best” curriculum and finding out they absolutely hate it so it goes on a shelf. Then you’re off again looking for another “best” curriculum. While the curriculum companies love this, it is not so good for optimal educational results
Now that we’ve conquered the myth of the perfect homeschool family, and discovered the reason behind so much curriculum hopping, lets get you on the path to finding the curriculum that will work for your unique family.