We are going on year 6 of homeschooling and it is everything I’ve wanted it to be and a whole lot of what I never expected. For us, the biggest thing is freedom. Freedom in our time. Freedom in our play. Freedom in our vacationing. Freedom in how we teach each child. In so many areas, we get to design exactly how we see things playing out and how our children are educated. And we are able to teach our children in the best way that they learn.
When I first started homeschooling, I felt I had to do everything a certain way. Like I had to mimic what the traditional educational route had deemed as appropriate. Or that I had to follow what other homeschoolers were doing. And over the years, I have realized, I don’t. I don’t have to do what anyone and everyone else is doing but I can actually do what works best for our family.
We have tried multiple different types of homeschool curriculums and some we have liked and others we did not. We even tried a free online curriculum and it was good for the time we used it for. This past year, I actually switched the curriculums halfway through the school year. And then by the new year, I really started exploring unschooling more and began to play out our days in a more relaxed, natural learning environment. By April, when my 6th baby was born, we were pretty much done with homeschool for the year and have been slowly picking up some learning time this summer.
We make space for lots of imaginative play, lots of active playtime and lots of time for reading. I started my homeschooling journey very strict and scheduled and we are now embarking on a much more relaxed and flexible path. The neat thing with homeschooling is that you get to make of it what you’d like.
If you are considering homeschooling for you and your family and you don’t know where to start… Google. Find out the requirements for your location. In Minnesota, we need to send in a yearly form stating that we intend to educate at home. We also need to do yearly state testing starting at age 7 that we can do from home. We use this one. There are co-ops you can join and there are associations you can be a part of like this one.
Start doing your research and realize that you don’t have to keep doing the same thing. You can find what works best for you. And it is going to look different for everyone. And it might look different year to year and kid to kid. There is an incredible collection of homeschool curriculums available. There are books and workbooks or completely online templates to use. You can teach your kids or there can be an online format where a teacher can teach your kids. There are supplemental programs that can teach certain subjects you may need help with. We have recently been trying Revolution Math and have loved it. The girls hop on Zoom once a week for an hour and get tutored in math. They enjoy that time and learn a lot from their teachers. Plus, I get a little break from teaching in the math area and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
We like to use a lot of natural learning so visits to the Children’s Museum, History Museums and even just exploring the local park can be a huge part of our homeschool journey. There really is such a huge community and many resources available these days. If this has been something lingering on your mind, I encourage you to start here and start today. One step at a time and realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. There are detailed homeschooling planners available so you can schedule daily lessons for the entire year, if that’s your thing. Or, you can fly by the seat of your pants and take each day as it comes.
A few curriculums we have used are Christian Liberty Press and Rainbow Resources. Some on my radar have been My Father’s World and The Good and Beautiful. There are countless curriculums out there and chances are, one that fits your teaching style and your children’s learning styles. Don’t be afraid to try them out and add supplemental lessons from other places as needed or desired. This year, we have been using The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum and I really like it. As do the kids. The lessons are laid out each day and so we can just open our books and dive right in. They have the perfect amount of work assigned each day according to the age of the child. I’ve really enjoyed this curriculum and all it has to offer and will most likely be sticking with it for a long time.
Maybe this was just the nudge you needed to realize it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. That is really is possible and can be a beautiful journey for you and your family. You need to start somewhere. I hope this mini guide with some simple resources gives you just a little insight into the possibilities.