Ok, so I was talking to a brand new homeschooler the other day. She was visiting our Co-op because she was going to enroll her children in January. She was so scared and so distressed. Due to a job loss their family was going to be a single income family. While that sounds bad, it got worse, her children were in a high priced private school and they were not going to be able to afford to continue that form of education.
Since she was the one that lost her job, and since private school was no longer an option, the parents had decided that they would make do on one income and homeschool their children. She was reassuring, noting that the lower income wasn’t going to hurt too badly since they were going to drop the 2 private school tuitions. She said that it would even be really “do-able”.
I’m not sure if she was reassuring me, or reassuring herself because she still had that deer-in-the-headlights-look about her. I remember being in a similar place to where she is now, a new homeschooler, wondering not only how I got to that point, but what I would do moving forward.
One of the things she was worried about was jumping into a “full year” curriculum in the middle of a school year. What if they bought the whole year and then it didn’t work for the kids, or they couldn’t figure out where to start or what the children had already done?
Lots and lots of questions, and the veteran homeschoolers in our group tried to help her out. My two big suggestions were to use a curriculum that doesn’t require buying a full year, one that allows month to month participation instead of a school year contract. My suggestion there was Time4Learning, which was the answer to a lot of my issues when I stared homeschooling mid-year.
My other suggestion was to remember that there were a lot of free resources out there, lots of free games, and exercises to learn everything from contractions to math. I recommended that she utilize the free, low cost, and easy stuff she could find on the internet until she felt like she had gotten her feet under her as a homeschooling parent, and her children had figured out how homeschooling worked.
I hope that I helped her. I remember needed answers to many of the uncertainties she expressed. And I remember a couple of kind, veteran homeschoolers who let me cry on their shoulders, listened to my misgivings, and patted me on the back when we had even a tiny triumph in our homeschooling experience.
If you have advice, or a helpful hint to pass on to a new homeschooler remember to play it forward!