1. An “Official” School Room
I have seen so many super cute pictures on Pinterest of school rooms people have set up in their homes. I have to admit, it makes me a little jealous. We have a decent size home, but our rooms are all tied up at the moment being… well, other kinds of rooms!
There is a spot that will make a great office or school room one day, but for the time being, it is a play room! Instead, I have “school” hiding all over my house. I have a nice looking dry erase board in my kitchen, a basket of supplies on the kitchen counter, bookcases tucked behind furniture and many other little clues that learning goes on here, scattered throughout my home. Growing up, we did school at the dinning room table, on the couch, in our rooms, on the swing set. Sure, if you’ve got the space and want to create a more structured area for schooling to take place and that is what works better for you and your kids, then go for it! On the other hand, don’t feel pressured to make your home resemble a public school classroom. Do whatever works for you!
2. A Teaching Degree
Before I continue, I would like to state that I mean no disrespect to teachers. My grandmother was a teacher, I have two sister-in-laws that are teachers, aunts and several close friends that are teachers. When I talk about confidently teaching my own kids and providing them with a good education, I am talking about something very different than overseeing a classroom of 30 students. Teachers go through extensive training and accreditation to skillfully manage a classroom and oversee the education of many students at varying skill levels and learning styles. Not only that, but they must be up to date on all the latest testing regulations, academic goals mandated by the state and other legal requirements, not to mention what it takes to deal with crazy parents and difficult children. I am talking about working one-on-one, through a structured curriculum, with my own children, who I know better than anyone. There are so many resources at your disposal. So many internet based helps and support groups. On top of that, every math book comes with a teachers guide and answer key :)
3. Involvement in A Million Different Extra Curricular Activities
One of the perks of homeschooling, to me, is the flexibility in our schedule! We choose exactly what we want to spend our time on and where. There is no running to and from school, no added hours of homework, no pressure to join an after school activity, no fundraisers to host, and no waiting in lines. Stop the glorification of busy! Families today are stretched way too thin, see each other way too little, and are way too involved in unnecessary time fillers.
We are very much involved in our church and activities with friends and family. We also have a membership to the rec center, local museums and zoos. We do frequent family outings to these places, as well as homeschool style field trips with other homeschooling families. Our kids are currently involved in community skating lessons. Our plan is to find something new for the Spring that will get them out into the community and keep them active. The best is when we find multi-aged activities that allow our 6 year old and 4 year old to do something at the same time. We also look for sports teams that put more emphasis on fun and recreation versus high pressure and high commitment. Socialization has never been a problem for us! Our kids go with us and live life with us to the fullest. This includes lots of time together as a family and lots of breathing room. Choose your time fillers wisely.
4. Lots of Money
The advantage we have now a days over my mom’s generation of homeschooling parents, is very simply; the internet! Do your research, find out what you want to do, what curriculum you want to use. Then, check ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, etc. Hit up used book sales and don’t forget about the library! There are so many resources at our disposal now a days.
I bought all my base curriculum for Natalie’s first grade year, including math, history and science for around $200. That was buying everything new. I could have spent time looking for used, but kind of ran out of time. Moral of the story; start early. Though I hardly think $200 for a private school quality education is unreasonable! The majority of what I spent this year for my daughter, will be reusable in a couple years for my son. A deluxe package through Sonlight Curriculum will cost you more like $800, but their packages are able to span several grade levels and may be used for multiple kids. But again, in my opinion, even that is not an unreasonable amount in light of all you are getting and most importantly, what you are giving your kids! There is no need to send your kids with lunch money, no pressure to buy expensive back to school clothes, no extra gas money running your kids to and from school – you may be surprised by the areas you will end up spending less.
5. The Approval and Blessing of Everyone Around You
I’ve come to grips with the fact that homeschooling will never be the popular option. I find myself quite often, on guard with family members, friends, and perfect strangers that find the need to express their opinions, preconceived ideas or worst case scenarios of homeschooling. This has forced me to be very prepared and ready with answers. I don’t doubt my kids would get a decent education in the public school system, yet I don’t doubt my own ability to give them a good education. Most importantly, however, is that I can personally give them a much better moral and biblical foundation to build their lives on than anyone else. I feel called to give my children the best spiritual foundation I can give them, and I feel convicted that homeschooling is the best choice I can currently make. I need the support of my husband and peace that comes from following God’s lead in the life of our family, and that is it.