Public schools are in session again in our hometown and although we homeschool year-round in a relaxed style, our children have been motivated to create a new fall schedule and get ready for another homeschool year. Perhaps you're an inexperienced homeschooler and tempted to panic or feel overwhelmed. Look at this checklist to see if you've missed anything in preparing for this new year!
- Check your attitudes--both yours and the children's! Attitudes are catching and we set the atmosphere for our household. Allow time to work on Biblical child-training principles, if needed.
- Simplify your lifestyle. No, we can't control the trials and all circumstances of life, but that's even more reason to simplify what we DO have control over. Don't overschedule--plan a basic routine with plenty of room for flexibility! Make sure your "Homeschool" doesn't end up being "Roadschool" because you're over committed to too many activities. (See Time Management ; Priorities)
- EASE into your new routine for this school year. Consider starting just a couple of your subjects for the first two weeks, gradually adding the others.
- Make sure your homeschool materials are organized and easily accessible. Buy LOTS of pencils. (Oh the wasted time of searching for pencils!) Choose a place for each child to keep his materials so they don't get lost. A large covered box, shelf, or drawer for each child is perfect.
- Establish a good routine for keeping the main living areas of your home relatively neat. Do the children have assigned chores so that all the responsibility doesn't fall to Mom? (See Homeschool & Housework)
- Plan to cover the basics first--then enjoy the "frills." Give your children the tools they need to learn and don't worry about missing out on the extracurricular activities. You'll have time for that later.
- Don't forget to ENJOY your children. Take time to read aloud or research an interest together. (Even for just 15-20 minutes!) Learning is much more than textbooks and drills. (See Book Suggestions)
- Be prepared to run into some snags. Each year of homeschooling requires new adjustments--the children are different ages, the circumstances are different. It takes time to establish a good working routine. Take a day off when needed to "regroup."
- Don't lose sight of what's most important--nurturing and discipling your children in the Lord. And to do this, you must not neglect your own relationship with the Lord! (See In His Presence)
It is the parent, who has himself already experienced the salvation of God, who is appointed to lead the child to know God. The knowledge of God is no mere matter of the understanding; it is to love Him, to live in Him, to experience the power of His presence and His blessing. It is evident that the man who would teach others to know God must be able to speak from personal experience of Him, must prove by the warmth of love and devotion that he loves this God and has his life from Him. --Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
Find support! Take advantage of helpful and encouraging materials available for homeschooling parents today: local support groups; Internet and online groups; articles and books.
One book I highly recommend for both new and veteran homeschoolers is Teach Me Lord that I May Teach... (or what we learned thinking we were homeschooling the kids) by Barbara and Douglas Smith.
The Smiths share essays of encouragement and exhortation about lessons they learned while homeschooling. Instead of offering us "human" wisdom, they point us to the Lord and His Word and challenge us to be willing to be taught of Him instead of allowing the world's ways to be our standard. How refreshing to find not just another "how to" book filled with human opinions! Teach Me Lord... is full of "quotable quotes" to inspire and encourage you in your day to day homeschooling. Here are just a couple:
Getting our children educated will be a tremendous accomplishment, but graduation is only the beginning.... Are we teaching them that graduation is not an endpoint? Are we teaching them to learn from the triumphs and the failures, judging nothing by appearances, but testing by the plumb line of Scripture? Will they be able to stand on the foundation we are laying? What will our legacy inspire? Teaching our children to trust the Master who always brings them through, is the best "education" we can give them. --Barbara Smith
And these words of encouragement to weary parents:
If you, too, have failed to utter vibrant prayers because of viruses, days of cold, wet clothes, or unfinished lessons and chores, then think about the God to whom you are praying. He sees, hears, thinks, loves, and cares. He knows what delights and pleases you...He is able to redeem the time that seems to slip away, to renew ebbing spirits, to heal tired bodies, and fill empty wallets. He can replenish a barn that the locusts have plundered. He will take time to comfort you, wipe away your tears, and rejoice with you. If you feel unworthy of His notice, remember He says you are more worthy than the sparrow whose fall to earth He also notices. --Barbara Smith
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
May the Lord bless your homeschool and fill your lives with His Love, Wisdom, Peace, and Joy!
NOTE: You can order Teach me Lord for $8.95 plus $4.50 shipping from Pds Third Floor Publishing, PO Box 822, Severna Park, MD 21146
Copyright © 1994-2000 Tamara Eaton, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to Christian Homeschool Fellowship, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.