I have one year before I begin homeschooling. What do you recommend I do to prepare? Are there any must read books? Online teaching courses? Specific prayers to pray? Any advice is appreciated!
Know your children and how they approach learning. Check out the curriculums available. Many have sample pages on line so look at those. Think and pray about how these curriculum items will enrich learning at your children’s own special speed.
Consider reading some of the teaching resource books that appeal to you, but remember each situation and each child is so very special and unique - thus the beauty of homeschooling - they can learn the way that is best for them and not have to fit some institution’s idea of what a student should be learning at a specific time. They can learn in a specific area when they are ready to learn that area.
Also, please consider a membership to HSLDA. It literally saved our family from being torn apart from the outside over “homeschooling” a special needs child.
Most of all, enjoy the journey and have fun.
I think joining this community is a great step! You can feel welcome to ask questions and get advice from a lot of awesome folks in a safe environment!!
Also, if you haven’t already checked it out @erica has a category on her blog called “homeschooling-101” that has a lot of helpful posts: http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/category/homeschooling-101
She also has a book out that is really good. You can get it in her store or on amazon.
Good luck on your journey!
Books that inspired and taught me more about homeschooling:
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
Simply Homeschool and Called Home by Karen DeBeus
A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola.
Obviously from these suggestions, we lean more towards a classical and Charlotte Mason approach (two different things, but we choose the parts of each that work for us).
Every day I pray for guidance, wisdom, and courage to educate my son (and now the child we are expecting) as individuals. I am constantly reminded that I am Michelle, educating my children in our home - so our “school” will and should look different from all other schools. If I find myself copying someone or trying to follow instructions perfectly then I know I am doing things wrong!
Writing a list of goals for your first year as well as a list of reasons why you homeschool is extremely helpful on the more difficult days. This past year I felt like I had failed my son until I found the list of goals we had written for his second grade year - we had exceeded every goal! It was a great encouragement!
Meeting experienced homeschool parents is also a huge encouragement and source of knowledge. Definitely seek out other parents who have “been there!”
My last piece of advice is to start slow. Don’t buy a ton and expect to work a huge schedule in the beginning. Pray that God will fill the gaps and take the time to enjoy learning with your children. There is plenty of time to worry about the details later. I always think of the early years as learning how to learn. It takes time but at the end of the year you will look back and be amazed!