Beginning homeschooling can be exciting, scary, nerve-wracking, wonderful – all of the emotions!
If you are in the United States, homeschooling laws and requirements are set forth by your individual state, so you can look those up online. Pay attention to the compulsory age of beginning school. In many states, requirements to submit is generally at a later age than you may think. So, if you have a three or four year old, you may not have to submit anything to the state or worry about homeschooling to satisfy the needs of your state for those ages.
If you have younger children where you have to submit something to your state, please do take a cue from our unschooler friends – all of life is learning and if your state has specific requirements, please see how your everyday life can meet those requirements. Health, civics requirements for young people are some that come to mind. Visiting community places, washing hands and being clean and learning hygiene can often satisfy these sorts of requirements.
Arrange your homeschooling to fit your life, not the other way around. Homeschooling is part of your life, and being a homeschooling parent is just another facet to your role as parent. You are not in a public school classroom, so don’t treat your homeschool as such unless you and your family really enjoy that!
There is no perfect curriculum! I look at curriculum within the Waldorf world and within more mainstream homeschooling and there is no perfect curriculum. You need to see what your child needs, and when they are older and getting closer to high school, you can tailor more for what children want to do with their lives. In the meantime, the foundational skills of reading, writing, mathematics, reasoning are all there.
I have had parents of third and fourth graders ask me how they should handle transcript keeping for later college entrance. You really don’t have to keep records like that until eighth or ninth grade and at that point, 120 hours is one credit hour and 150 hours is one science with lab credit hour. Keep track at that point, but before that, just enjoy being together.
Because ultimately, what homeschooling buys you is time with your children including the ability to lay a strong moral foundation, a strong sense of family, freedom to pursue interests. These are the reasons most veteran homeschoolers say they appreciate homeschooling so much.
When you are in the trenches, the days seem so long but truly the years are short. Before you know it, your children will be ready to graduate and head out on their own. It comes quickly, and when that times come, please let them go knowing that you gave them the strongest foundation you could provide. I have heard of parents moving close to their student’s college or trying to get involved in emailing professors at colleges on behalf of their young adult. I hope these are minor incidences because that is such a disservice to our young adults. Let’s trust them to make their lives the way they want, and that they will come to us for guidance when they need us. I see the young adults of this generation that are 18-25 years old, not only my children’s friends but also my own friends who are in their 20s, and I am so excited for the future with these intelligent, sensitive, compassionate young people. Homeschooling is one way to set a foundation in motion, and although it certainly isn’t the only way, it can be amazing.