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New Homeschoolers: How To Begin

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Faith's Firm Foundation: New Homeschoolers: How To Begin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Homeschoolers: How To Begin

Are you thinking about Homeschooling, or have you just started out and you're feeling lost? Wondering where to begin?

Start here:
  • Go to HSLDA's website ( where you will find the current laws by state.
  • Click on, and read, the section there on You Can Homeschool--Start Here (How To Do It for New Homeschoolers)
  • Go to the  Teach Institute website, which contains encouraging and helpful videos specifically for new Homeschoolers; also peruse and read some of the articles in the archive of Newsletters, which are a wealth of wisdom and edifying encouragement.
  • For curriculum choices:  Let me comfort you and quiet your fears:  You are not going to ruin your child by choosing the wrong curriculum.  I don't recommend any one curriculum. I encourage you to pray, do research, and try something, starting with the basics of Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic (therefore, don't spend a lot of money on anything). If your children are in K-2 that's all you'll need for now, plus library books.  Discerningly use the library extensively for reading.  Get a good Math curriculum for your child.  ABeka and Bob Jones are known classics and have strong programs.  ABeka is about 6 months ahead of grade level, meaning if your child is able to keep up he'll be doing very well, and no need to worry on standardized tests.  It is excellent, but known for repetition, so once the child has the concept, go on, and don't do all the problems.  Bob Jones is really good for learning to do story problems.  You don't need a teacher's guide for anything.  Don't buy products out of your insecurity.  Pray and ask the Lord and your husband. These are your children.  No one knows them like you do. God will lead you. I believe that your family's and your child's needs will change somewhat from year to year.  You'll see a gap or weak area, and you'll need something to address that need.  At that time, look for the best and most appropriate resource, for the cheapest price.
  • Think and pray very long and hard before having others teach them anything.  That teacher is teaching them a worldview, not only a subject. Will you have to unteach, deprogram and deal with the results of that teacher's teaching and influence for the rest of your life? It's not worth it.  You don't need co-ops.  The disadvantages outweigh the benefits.  When people ask you, "What about socialization?" answer them, "Yes, that's one of the reasons why I'm Homeschooling."  You don't want the negative socialization.  Make your children each other's best friends.  Learn with your children.  They're going to have strong subjects and weak subjects, just like you did.  That's ok.  They're not going to remember everything they're taught, just like you don't. Make your foundation the principles of God's Word.  Major on character.  Teach the basics, and make sure they're strong in those: the 3 R's.  Then add in other subjects, skills, etc. 
  • I believe that you will use and need different resources and teaching materials than any other Homeschooling family, because you are not them.  Each individual child in your home will need their Homeschooling tweaked for their individual learning style and strengths and weaknesses.  Designing your child's education to his individual needs, one-on-one interaction and family interaction, and flexibility are the wonderful blessings of Homeschooling!
  • Warning: Don't try to bring school home.  I don't recommend having a "schoolroom" because I don't ever want to communicate that learning only takes place there.  Did we start out having a schoolroom? Yes.  Some things you have to learn yourself.
  • I do recommend reading "living books" (a "living book"--the term coined by Charlotte Mason--is one in which, when you stop reading, the child begs you to read "just one more"! One more page, one more chapter...); and, for Unit Studies, KONOS can't be beat!  (Read my post on KONOS to get an idea of what kinds of activities you might do with your children in a Unit Study on the character quality of Attentiveness and the study of the Ear.) You will have to supplement some subjects later, such as Math, and Art, and lessons in music.
  • As a Homeschooler, you will gain knowledge of your craft as you go along. One valuable resource is The Old Schoolhouse magazine, a favorite of moms. (Clicking the magazine's link will take you to the review of KONOS curriculum that was published in their magazine).
  • The Three R's, by Ruth Beechick (K-3) is a must have for beginning Homeschoolers.   Ruth Beechick is a gem.  She's like the grandmother who understands what you're going through, and the professional who knows what to do about it, in one.  The Three R's contains ideas you can put into practice while you're making dinner!  You may find these sold as three separate little books, but now they have been published together in one.  What I love the most about these three little books:  She gives easy examples of teaching in the everyday moments of family life at home, like her example of teaching "math" by counting the number of forks and knives as you set the table, asking questions using "math terminology" such as "how many more" do you need.  The book is very affordable.  You can get it at the link to, or you can find it also on SonLight's website above.
The 3 Most Important Things To Do When Starting To Homeschool Kindergarten:
  1. Know that you can do this, and you're not going to ruin your child(ren).
  2. Pray and ask God for help. And listen to God and your husband.
  3. Read, read, and read to your children ("living books" and the Bible)!
Mom:  Top 3 Things To Do For Success in Homeschooling:
  1. Love and Respect Your Husband.
  2. Fear God and Obey The Bible.
  3. Discipline appropriately and Train Your Children Up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord.
5 Wonderful Ways To Enjoy Being a Wife and Mom and Homeschooler in one:
  1. Train your children to pay attention to you, and to obey.
  2. Spend lots of time together as a family:  laughing, working, and serving the Lord together.
  3. Read the Bible together, and memorize it. (For young children, memorization is done without effort, by simple repetition!  It's we parents who have to work at it!)
  4. Be, and teach how to be, "A Lover of Learning".  Ask questions about what is going on around you, and find out more about what interests you and them.
  5. Make the most of "teachable moments" when they're asking questions and want to know more!
An additional note regarding curriculum:  I don't recommend a comprehensive packaged curriculum for K-1st grade, especially. (Some "veteran Homeschoolers" recommend buying a packaged all-in-one curriculum when you're starting out, just to get you going when you're lacking in confidence and don't know what to do.)  It's not wrong, but the drawback to this is you may get locked in to that mode, and I feel you miss some of the blessings and benefits of Homeschooling when you do that, such as spending time together with your children, seeing the excitement of hands-on learning in their eyes, the freedom to participate in everyday-life-learning, and flexibility. Whether you use a pre-packaged curriculum or not, you needn't spend a wad of dough on Homeschooling, and especially in the early grades.

Teach your child the skills needed to read:  Recognizing the letters, and knowing the sounds the letters make, and then connecting those sounds together.  That's reading.
Teach your child to love learning.

The most important thing you can do with your children is READ excellent books--living books--to them, and teach them to love learning. If you are excited about learning new things, they will be, too.

Click on the Homeschooling and Child-Training topics on my linkbar at the top of my blog, for additional information and encouragement.  I hope this helps any of you who are new to Homeschooling, or who are thinking of starting next year.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you have, either in the comments, or you can contact me by email at  If I don't know the answer, I will try to get it for you!
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Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for sharing.

May 18, 2010 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Jami Balmet said...

Oh Wendy you are such a deligh! Thank you for sharing. We don't even have kids eyt and I am SO excited about homeschooling lol! I want to start planning it all right now ;) Haha but...I know God is teaching me patience!

And you should consider writing a book on have excellent writing skills and the need for homeschooling books is great :)

Hope your having a good week Wendy!

May 18, 2010 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Jami Balmet said...

Oh and how was your early anniversary weekend?!

May 18, 2010 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Thanks for always commenting when you come by!

May 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I would love to write a book on Homeschooling, one of my very favorite subjects--maybe someday! I appreciate your confidence in me:)
I am glad that you are already excited for those little ones that God will, Lord willing, give you, and Homeschooling them!
Our weekend was good, thank you!

May 18, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

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