When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I hadn’t really given much thought to how I wanted to school my own children. After my second child and seeing the school systems go to the new Common Core mess I decided that it was time to prepare for homeschooling our kids.
My husband and I have been talking off and on about homeschooling for a year or two now. We never completely decided on whether we’d homeschool or not though. Now that my son is a year out from being old enough to go to kindergarten the question has become, “will he go to school or will he be homeschooled?”
Which is why we decided to test run homeschooling for a year. If I could successfully not pull out all of my hair in one year teaching him, then we would homeschool. So, now we’re starting to prepare for homeschooling our kids and I’m in the thick of all the research that goes along with first-time curriculum decisions.
5 Things We’re Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids
My son turns five in November, and therefore, can’t start kindergarten this year (not that I’m complaining). So, we decided to take this year to figure out if homeschooling is for us or if we’re going to send our kids to school instead. This will mostly depend on my ability to handle teaching our kids, and less if they’re able to learn at home. Just being honest and real about that.
We’re hoping this year will be super productive and educational for our kids and that mom and dad will enjoy the process of homeschooling too. It’s easy to plan activities outside the home that are fun (hello trips to the zoo), but when it comes to letters, numbers, writing and arithmetic…. Mom isn’t so sure.
I made a list of things I needed to do in order to be comfortable teaching our kids at home (you’ll find the steps below) and it will likely be an ongoing process.
First: We’ll Assess Where They Are & What They Know
Since we have a four (going on five) year old and a two-year-old that we’ll be working with for this “school” year we aren’t opposed to teaching them together. We have a general idea of what our son knows, but we haven’t really worked with our daughter much. She’s mainly learned right alongside her brother.
With that being said, we’re going to make sort of test that will allow us to gauge where our kids are and what we need to work on moving forward. Once we know where both of our kids need help we’ll be able to better prepare for homeschooling and figure out what resources are needed.
I think we can adapt whatever we decide for our son and remove things that are a little advanced for our daughter to create her curriculum.
Second: Decide Which Style Is Best
Right now we’re in the research phase of different curriculums and styles that we might use with our children. We’ve thought about Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, and some form of Montessori style curriculum but aren’t quite sure.
I love the idea of Unschooling our kids, but the curriculum-wanting-nut in me kind of cringes at the idea. While letting them free-learn seems fabulous, I also want to keep track of how they’re learning and what they’ve learned.
With all of that in mind, we’ll likely be doing a mix of curriculum homeschooling with some Unschooling thrown in there along the way.
This may look like the following:
- Morning Studies
- Pre-Lunch Craft/Activity
- Free Play
- Reading Before Bedtime
Third: Research Curriculums
This kind of ties into number two, but we’re researching the different curriculums out there to see what we like the best.
We actually have the Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum that we bought for my son a year ago to prepare him for school/homeschool. This was purchased with every intention of using it sooner, but that didn’t happen. It was just shoved onto a shelf and left there to collect dust while we haphazardly tried to teach our son new things.
Just this past month I’ve started looking over the “teacher” books to see what all the set covered. I’m still not entirely thrilled with the curriculum. Mostly, it’s because I’m confused about the lessons and how to go about things.
Some people make homeschooling look easy to do and simple to setup, but I can say that there are more things out there than I can shake a stick at. So many curriculums, so many activities and so many ideas that it’s easy to get lost in the sea of curriculum ideas.
I’m trying my best to filter through things.
I’ve read a few blogs from momma’s who talked about creating their own curriculum based on what their child needed to learn, and I also saw a woman recommend a printable item called Morning Pages that looked pretty awesome. It was cheap so I bought it and am having my husband print it out. It will give me a jumping off point for our morning work… at least I hope.
Once we narrow down on the style of homeschooling I think choosing a curriculum or creating one will be much easier. So far the different curriculums we’re looking at are:
- Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
- Self-Made Curriculum of Charlotte Masson/Montessori style curriculum
- Unschooling completely
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Fourth: Create a Plan for Each Child
Trying to tailor a plan for both of my kids seemed hard at first, but planning for my son and trimming to what my daughter needs seem doable. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work and my son will have the added benefit of helping to teach his sister as well. They say you learn best from teaching so I think it would give him a greater opportunity to learn what he’s learning by teaching her.
Once we have the curriculum laid out for my son I think it will be easier to go through and take out things that are too advanced for her or changed what we’re expecting. Or, we can just keep it in and not really pressure her to “know” things, but she’ll see her brother doing them and likely take something away from it too.
Fifth: Adjust As We Go
One thing I’ve learned so far is that this will be an evolving process. I am not going into this thinking it has to be perfect from the get go, and know that I am allowing for shifting and changing.
Having the right mindset in anything is key. And, I am sure that going into homeschooling with the best possible mindset is paramount to not pulling my hair out. I don’t want to be expecting too much or try to do too much all at once. Finding the balance will be the biggest thing to accomplish.
However, I can’t say that I don’t want perfection from the start. I’m a recovering perfectionist and have been working on this a lot as my children grow. Not expecting things to be perfect is the first step for me.
It’s best that I just acknowledge now that things won’t be perfect and at most. They will probably be pretty rocky in the beginning. I think I can be ok with that for now. I’m hoping that I will get a firm grip on all of this after a month or two.
The curriculum I think will be the hardest thing for me to decide on with schooling my kids. Thankfully, I at least have the Horizons workbooks to help me if I don’t find any other ways to move forward.
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Things For Activities
Activites and free play are something we’re definitely looking into closely. Our kids already get so many toys from their grandparents that we want to be mindful that what we get them can be used for play and learning.
We also want to cut back on toys they’re getting also (the non-learning kind). There is a point where too much is a thing and we’re hovering over that line. We’ve talked about letting them play with things like pots and pans to build things. Or, finding things around the house and barn that can be turned into toys they can learn with.
Like taking scraps of wood and cutting out shapes and then sanding and polishing them (no splinters needed here). Or, finding ways for them to help in the garden. We don’t have kid-sized gardening tools so they can help by letting them use a spoon or something to help us with planting while also learning about soil, light, and growth.
For things we may purchase we’ve found some neat ideas on Amazon we’re looking at:
The hunt and research will continue, but this is our journey for now. We’re quite happy with our choice to homeschool for at least preschool. Especially since the cost of sending our kids to a public preschool is quite a big chunk of money.
How are you going to prepare for homeschooling your kids? Share in the comments below.
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