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You Can Homeschool thru the Early Years!

You have researched your options, set some goals, charted a course—now you’re off! In this portion of our “itinerary,” you will find some helpful suggestions for actually “getting in gear” and moving toward that destination!

Here are some tips for success adapted from the words of wisdom that Yvonne Bunn of HEAV shares with new and prospective homeschoolers in her how-to-begin seminars:

  • Start your day with God, and pray often with your spouse about your needs, concerns, frustrations, and breakthroughs. Stay teachable; you’ll be tested in new areas.
  • Eliminate frustrations by making time for yourself. A quiet time before the family is up will set the tone for your day, while a 15–20 minute reading break or rest time in the afternoon will give you added energy for the remainder of the day. Before academic time, take care of the things that bother you most—dirty dishes in the sink, unmade beds, laundry—so your mind will be clearer to focus on studies.
  • Be patient with your children and with yourself. Watch for signs of frustration in your child, such as crying, complaining, or becoming angry. For example, never completing library books may indicate that the reading level is too difficult and the child may be frustrated. Areas of frustration (math or language arts, for example) are obvious when a skill is undeveloped (learning gaps) and a child has difficulty accomplishing a given task. If you are frustrated with your child, take a break and pray! Maybe a different approach or your spouse’s perspective will help. You might even need to drop the task for a while and come back to it in a few days or weeks, when the child might be readier to absorb the material or concept.
  • Know the balance between organization and flexibility. Have a plan and work it—but expect interruptions! Don’t compromise time spent teaching basic skill subjects and Bible/character. Establishing a workable routine will give your children security; you can schedule visits, appointments, special activities, etc. for the afternoons, after optimal earlier (morning) learning time. And don’t answer the phone during school time! Take it off the hook or use an answering machine and/or caller I.D.
  • Use family resources and develop good relationships with neighbors, grandparents, and other relatives. Older children can help younger children, and grandparents can participate in special interest areas. Neighbors may be more helpful if they perceive you as friendly and open, and if your children respect them and their property.
  • When we start out, sometimes we only know to do what we experienced, so we tend to bring the classroom into our homes. It’s okay to simply create a learning environment in the sanctuary of our homes, and to enjoy learning along with our children. Education begins with the parent!

(Adapted from “Beginning the Homeschool Journey,” The Virginia Homeschool Manual, ©2003/2008, Home Educators Association of Virginia. Used with permission.)

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