Considering homeschooling but your mind is swirling with so many thoughts you don’t know where to begin? Or, maybe you jumped in with two feet and are feeling a little overwhelmed just after the starting line. No matter where you are on your homeschooling journey, that overwhelmed sense can creep up on you and cause you to doubt, fear, and want to give up.
Don’t think you are alone! In the beginning, like any new endeavor, homeschooling can seem daunting. However, with the right tools, a little encouragement, and a lot of prayer, you too will be prepared to take on the task.
6 Tips to Equip You for Your Homeschooling Journey
1) Prayer is Invaluable for Your Journey…For their will be challenges!
Pray, pray and pray some more! I don’t say that lightly. Share with God all your hopes, fears, reservations, needs, questions, and concerns. Pour out your heart before Him. He loves it when His children come to Him with all their heart. He can handle your doubts and emotions. And can help you sort through them.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)
The homeschooling journey does not have to be done on your own strength and wisdom. It will challenge you in ways you never expected. At every step along your journey, pray for wisdom, direction, encouragement, faith, friends, or whatever need is before you. Staying on your knees will be your best support for the health and longevity of your journey.
2) Know Your “Why” for Homeschooling
I know this can be such a buzz word these days, but it really is so important to know why you are homeschooling your kids. I once heard some good advice when trying to navigate schooling options – public, private, charter, or home school. Never make your decision based on fear – don’t choose to homeschool because you fear the public schools, and don’t choose to send your kids to public or private school merely because you fear you can’t homeschool.
For the apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7,
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
With that in mind, make sure you have solid reasons for homeschooling. Isolating your family from the sinful world or desiring to give your children a chance to get into a “better” college, aren’t the best reasons to homeschool. While there are many side benefits of homeschooling, you want your vision to be bigger than that of your immediate home or family.
Pastor Voddie Baucham, homeschooling father of 9 kids, believes that as Christians, we have a mandate to educate our children through discipleship with a focus that is
“bigger than our home or children, one that advances the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.”
If you feel the tug to homeschool but you are not completely sure of your reasons why, take some time to pray for God’s perspective and plan for your family. Having clear and focused reasons for homeschooling will help you on your own journey. And being able to clearly communicate your reasons will help answer the questions that come your way from well-meaning family and friends.
At the heart of most of our “whys” is often discipleship. While there are numerous reasons each family begins homeschooling, the underlying reason to homeschool for Christians should have a Kingdom focus. Being a private homeschooler allows you to take a gospel-centered approach to each and every subject. In doing so, you can help raise up a godly generation that will love and serve the Lord, drawing others into His Kingdom.
As you pray for clear vision, keep taking steps forward in faith. Over time, God will reveal His specific plan to you. And when you have been on your homeschooling journey for awhile, going back to your reasons, your “why,” will help encourage you in the moments when you feel frustrated, discouraged, or overwhelmed.
3) Seek Out Other Homeschoolers
Don’t try to walk the homeschooling journey alone! Both you and your kids will need support. Seek out other local homeschoolers in your church, neighborhood, or local area. If you don’t already know any local families, ask around or even do a google search for homeschool groups, co-ops, and organizations in your city.
It can sometimes feel hard to make connections in the beginning. Keep praying and seeking, and in time, those connections and friendships will blossom.
Being part of a homeschool community not only brings friendships, support, and encouragement, but also shared resources and fun! Your homeschooling journey will be stale without a community around you. It may take some extra effort, but the rewards will far outweigh the cost.
4) Decide your Method and Curriculum
Another piece to the puzzle is deciding which style of homeschooling you think best fits your unique family and goals. There are multiple ways to homeschool and that is part of the beauty of it. Don’t choose a method merely because it has worked for someone else.
Do some research and see what you are most drawn to. It can be a fluid process. You will find that you resonate with some methods over others. Don’t be afraid to try different methods to see which you prefer best or to use multiple methods at one time as there are some overlaps.
But…don’t let this step bog you down! It’s helpful to be aware of the different methods, but not necessary to spend a whole lot of time narrowing your preferences. Get an idea of your teaching method, and then move forward with it. Nothing is ever set in stone and your method can change and develop over time.
Some of the various models include:
- Classical approach
- Unit studies
- Charlotte Mason approach
- Montessori method
Each method has a slightly different approach and can impact curriculum choices. Again, feel free to ask others you know for curriculum suggestions, but continue to pray for direction in this area and see where the Lord leads your family. If you need a place to start, check out my reviews section on curriculum that we love!
If you want more information on different methods as well as a total guide to homeschooling, there is a wonderful resource that I highly recommend. There are many great homeschooling resources which is one of the blessings of homeschooling in the 21st century. But, the absolute best resource that helped me when I first started my homeschooling journey, and that I still refer to regularly, is Sally Clarkson’s Educating the WholeHearted Child.
This reference book offers a comprehensive look at homeschooling, with great suggestions, tips, and insights in a variety of areas, many that you may not even have thought of! Parenting approaches, learning styles, teaching methods, home organization, and practical life tips are among the many topics she and her husband cover. Not to mention curriculum ideas and biblical support for homeschooling. This book is a great resource that you will use year in and year out! The tips Sally brings will leave you inspired and encouraged on your homeschool journey.
5) Don’t Forget to Follow Your State Requirements
Make sure you check your state’s requirements for homeschoolers. The rules and guidelines vary state to state on reporting, recordkeeping, laws, etc. You will want to know the specifics so that you can follow the rules of your state.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org) is an advocacy group that I highly recommend joining. For about $100/year they will legally represent your homeschool and give you updates on any legal changes or battles going on in your state regarding homeschooling. This is a must for any private homeschooling family! They also offer discounts on curriculum and other educational resources too.
6) It Takes Less Than You Probably Think
You will probably be surprised at what you actually need to begin the homeschooling journey. A few school supplies, some great quality books, a comfy couch, and a willing heart will take you a long way. I think most of us, especially if we grew up going to public or private schools, think we need a ton of things in order to homeschool. That is not reality!
You will build a library over time as well as a few manipulatives and other resources. But know that overall, you will get by, especially in the early years, with very little. And if you have multiple children, you will be able to reuse curriculum, group your kids together, and share resources.
Finally, homeschooling is a journey, not a sprint, and we are on it together. Trust the Lord as you walk along the road He has before you. I think you will be more than surprised at how much you enjoy homeschooling and how God meets your each and every need.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust Him, and He will act.” (Psalm 37:5)
I hope these 6 tips equip you for your homeschooling journey and are helpful to you. I’m praying for you on this journey with me. If you feel stuck and don’t know where to turn, leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here for you!
Here are some other posts that you may find helpful too:
- How to Find Fun and Easy Field Trips for Homeschoolers
- Basic Principles for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
- Why Homeschooling Should Focus on Discipleship
- 5 Misconceptions About Homeschooling Debunked
- How to Start a Homeschool – It’s Not so Complicated
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