Dear New Home Educator,
Congratulations on your decision to educate your children from home.
You’ve borrowed a pile of books from the library and scoured the internet for advice; you may have bought some supplies already. Great…except that every ‘expert’ seems to recommend different things and now you feel overwhelmed by the choices. Right?
Relax, you’ll be home educating YOUR children YOUR way and we are here to help you get started.
Some home education books can be scary – they make it sound like you are undertaking a mission to Mars. You don’t have to implement a military schedule or have an impeccably clean house; leave the Home Beautiful photo shoots to non-home-educators. Your goal is happy children who like learning – the rest of your home education lifestyle can evolve around that.
One thing we’d like you to notice from those books initially is that most of them were written by home educators. Once upon a time these confident-sounding authors were nervous new home educators just like you. They succeeded in educating THEIR children THEIR way; so will you.
By choosing to educate your children, you’ve left behind the one-size-fits-all model of education. Home education is far more individual. There is no one true way to home educate just as there is no one true way to parent children – different approaches work for different families because families are different. Your method won’t mirror that of any of the home ed books you’ve read because you are not educating the author’s children. Your children have their own individual needs and interests and you’ll be tailoring an education for them. With any resource you look at, take what makes sense to you at this point in time and leave the rest. You can always revisit books later to pick up extra ideas as you settle into home education.
You may be reeling from your home education decision and asking yourself whether you can really do this. Think back… Who was with your children as they learned to walk and talk, dress and feed themselves, understand right from wrong? How much harder can reading and maths be? You’ve already done the tough stuff, and without a curriculum! Children are natural learners – they like to explore the world. Your ability to facilitate that process doesn’t magically switch off when children pass school age. You can do it.
New home educators often jump in with both feet and try to ‘do everything’. Try to take your time, begin with the basics and build from there. If you do find yourself overloaded, don’t be afraid to back off and reassess. You have 365 days a year in which to home educate, so you don’t have to cover everything in the first week – in fact you don’t need to be confined by the idea of school hours, school days, school weeks or even school terms. Begin to think of activities outside ‘school hours’ as part of your home education – sports, hobby groups, trips to the beach or forest, museum visits – learning opportunities are all around you.
Oh … and one more thing…
Welcome to the world of home education.
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