Are you new to homeschooling? If so -- welcome aboard!
Whether you're brand new to teaching or a seasoned veteran, I hope these ideas will encourage and inspire you as you eagerly anticipate a great year ahead:
1) Communicate an upbeat, positive attitude about homeschooling. Share some of your ideas and goals for the upcoming year with your kids, and think of all the great things you and your family will learn and discover. Will you take field trips together? Then share your enthusiasm for the upcoming expeditions. (See blog, 7 Favorite Field Trips or Autumn Arrives for inspirational ideas.)
Highlight some of the positive things that homeschool offers such as the freedom to express our faith, the benefit of one- on- one instruction, fun field trips, more time for music, etc. Consider that small children don't need to be enlightened about the negative things happening in public education. And they really don't need to hear stories about educational methods that don't work. Obviously, when you have older kids, you might want to have those conversations about public education's aggressive push toward humanism and socialism (and other equally troublesome agendas), but again -- I think it's best to communicate the positive aspects of home teaching when it comes to talking to our kids.
When we started to teach at home, I simply told the twins that we felt God called us to homeschool, and that with His help we aimed to succeed.
2) Get your room ready. I know moms who homeschool at the dining room table, kitchen table, or family room. I know people who converted their upstairs guest room into a school room (me for one), and moms who orchestrated lessons and teaching from the front seat of their vans (on days they were out and about, of course... say waiting for one student to do a music lesson or something like that). What really matters isn't the place, but the preparation. Adequate books, materials and supplies.
Decide what works for you. I'm easily distracted, so I turned our 15 x 15 guest room upstairs into a school room. It was a quiet place to retreat -- desks in the center of the room, a cozy nook with fluffy pillows in the corner by the window. Our house faces east, so in the morning that sunshine would pour into those front windows. Warm carpet, lots of light --- an ideal place to learn.
If your kids are young and they enjoy crafts, art and that sort of thing --- think of doing a fun project with them this summer so that they associate that space with a relaxed feeling. Or you might consider having a special snack or treat together in your new room.
Before we embarked on home teaching, I set up desks in our little room. Then late that summer, we used the desks to make sock puppets, color pictures and eat fancy ice-cream cones.
3) Trust God. Ultimately, our success is in His hands. Yes, we can prepare and teach our very best, but in the end -- how our kids turn out -- what they'll be -- who they'll be, who they are becoming... is in God's hands. Our jobs are to be the very best example that we can be and don't worry so much about the results. I know it might sound trite, but I encourage you to simply be who you are, develop your own style and teach with your whole heart.
Meanwhile, savor the remaining moments of summer -- every one of them!
"Do what you can and pray for what you cannot yet do." -Saint Augustine
"Spread out your petitions before God, and then say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." The sweetest lesson I have learned in God's school is to let the Lord choose for me." -Dwight L. Moody