Most new homeschooling parents are very keen to ‘do school’ whereas others are happy to deschool and have more relaxed start to their homeschooling adventure. Either way, it’s helpful to remember that homeschooling is a journey…a process and both parents and children have plenty of time in which to learn, grow and develop.
I like to recommend things that are affordable but I also like to suggest things where the parent has a little bit of daily, hands-on interaction and teaching. Five In A Row is an excellent place to start. Using FIAR taught me how to teach my children using real books. FIAR helped me to understand how my children learn and how to teach. Most new homeschoolers don’t have that understanding in the beginning, I know I didn’t!
The First Year of Homeschooling is Foundational
The early years of home education, where the parent is usually quite involved and hands-on, where they learn the foundation and building blocks of their family, their educational philosophy and their own self.
Even though I eventually tired of devising my own unit studies and being so fully involved with the childrens lesson plans, it was also the most rewarding time for me. I learned so much then, that I would otherwise not have learned. So, rather than just go with a boxed curriculum that is fully self instructional I would encourage the parent to have some involvement…as much as possible and practical for the first year.
The more time that a parent spends with the student/child in the first year, the better. I would explain to the child that homeschooling may not always look this way but for the next few months at least, this is the way it will look. I would explain that all members of the family are on a journey of learning and discovery…and at different times in that journey the scenery is different. I would explain that we would be learning about each other…learning how I best teach and how the child best learns…then we’ll be able to move on from there. I’d explain that eventually I’d be moving toward curriculum choices and resources that enable the student to be a self directed learner.
Your Mileage May Vary
Veteran homeschoolers have their favourite resources. I know that I tend to have my favourites. I’ve learned about them the hard way but I know what and how they work. Something that I might LOVE may not be something that I’d recommend to a new homeschooler though…so it isn’t just about what I like or even what I use.
I regularly told my children that the most important lessons they will be learning are good, healthy habits, establishing productive routines, instilling a love of learning and character lessons for these will see them adequately equipped for life as an adult. Those things are worth the time and effort, especially in the first years of home education.