With everything that has been going on in the world lately, many of you are considering homeschooling as an option for your children. The choice to move to homeschooling is a tough one. Do I have time? Do I have the expertise? How will it impact my children? In an effort to help those of you who are considering this option, I’ve reached out to a few moms who are passionate about homeschooling! Over the next few weeks, each one of these moms will give you some insights from their own journey. I am hoping this will help those of you who are considering homeschooling. Maybe point you in the right direction to research options and encourage you in this journey. Homeschooling is not for everyone. But for those who are considering it, a little help can go a long way! So, let’s get some homeschooling tips from moms!
Meet Jerica Briggs
Jerica is a Stay-At-Home-Mama to 4 wonderful blessings. Her eldest is 6 and is currently in 1st grade. Her 4 year old is working on preschool. She also has a 2 year old and an infant that will join the homeschool train when they reach school ages. Jerica is on year 3 of the homeschool journey and is loving it so far! Let’s get some of her homeschooling tips!
Every mom who starts the homeschooling journey has to answer the “why” question. For Jerica, “Homeschooling was something that my husband and I discussed early in our engagement for two reasons. First, I was going to college for Secondary Education (grades 7-12) and during my observations and student teaching I was alarmed at the things I was seeing. I had serious concerns about raising our kids in a Christian household and then sending them into a very un-Christian environment at the ripe age of five. The second reason being that as I grew older, I found my own education lacking. I was missing important life skills and historical knowledge that my alma mater had either glossed over or skipped entirely. I wanted a better quality education for my kids and felt that homeschooling gave us the ability to prioritize skills and experiences that we felt were important.”
A Gradual Start
You can see that Jerica considered homeschooling even BEFORE she had children. This is probably a unique situation. But even though she had thought it through, Jerica took an interesting approach to homeschooling. She started gradually. “I started informally homeschooling my son when he was 4, added more focus and structure when he turned 5, and finally started formally schooling him (and reporting to our school district) this year at age 6. My daughter is 4 and has jumped in to “do school” with us as well.”
There is a good amount of wisdom in her approach. She was getting used to the schedule, the lessons, and being her child’s educator before an official launch. This meant that she went into the endeavor with her eyes opened. And how cool that her younger children are seeing the model and wanting to be involved, too!
Start By Understanding You Kids
Searching for the right curriculum is where many moms get confused, stuck, and overwhelmed. The first step in choosing a curriculum is understanding your child’s needs and personality. Here’s what Jerica says, “I was lucky enough to have a sister-in-law who was homeschooling and she was able to give us several recommendations. So we started there and what followed can only be described as trial & error. Her bookworm girls needed a totally different approach than my ball-of-energy boy. So I added this and took away that until I found something that seemed to click for him.”
Consider The Time Investment
In Jerica’s case, she knew her in-home classroom would be expanding. So, she took a very practical approach, “When it came time to add my daughter into the mix, I knew I wanted something that would allow us to work together, rather than separate curriculums that would have me teaching one child, then the other. Teaching multiple kids without feeling like a ping-pong ball was my goal!”
On Choosing a Curriculum for the First Time
Jerica gives a wise suggestion, “Don’t get overwhelmed. The amount of information out there is absolutely mind-boggling. There are a hundred choices to be made, like deciding on your curriculum, and it can be extremely intimidating. Just take it one step at a time and DON’T DO IT ALONE. Get your spouse involved, ask a friend who homeschools, even your child’s temperament and learning style can help narrow down the options!”
Jerica’s Curriculum Favorites!
“Personally I LOVE Gather ‘Round. It’s a unit study based curriculum that allows me to teach one lesson, then each student has a workbook appropriate for their level. Perfect for our multi-student situation. I also really like Horizons Math, my son is a natural for numbers so the accelerated style of it suits him well. We tried SEVERAL other options and while each of them was great in their own way, they didn’t seem to fit our needs. Like I said, it was mostly trial & error.”
Learn More About Gather ‘Round
Learn More About Horizons Math
Jerica’s Top 4 Homeschooling Tips
- Homeschool is not public school – “Your kids don’t need to sit quietly at your dining room table for eight hours a day to get all the education they need. Kindergarten may only take an hour a day! You may need to break your day up with free-play, or read that history book during lunch. Be flexible and tailor schooling to fit your child and your lifestyle.”
- Enthusiasm is contagious – “My kids could always tell when I was bored, unprepared, or reluctant. Our first couple curriculums were such a chore with all the prep-work I was required to do and I really didn’t enjoy our school time. My kids KNEW that, and dug in their heels in response. When I found something that excited ME, that I was excited to share with THEM, then they got excited too! Keep yourself engaged and your kids will follow.”
- Avoid Comparison – “Don’t compare your homeschool to your friend’s homeschool, don’t compare your child to someone else’s, and don’t compare your children to each other. Your lifestyle and teaching style will be different from anyone else’s, and each of your children will learn in their own way and at their own pace. While it is totally ok to have a homeschool community and like-minded supporters, just acknowledge that their way might not work for you and your way might not suit them.”
- Homeschooling Is Worth The Work – “Homeschooling is hard in the same way that marriage is hard. It takes work, it’s not always going to fall into place, and you WILL make mistakes. But it is 100% WORTH IT.! The experiences and relationship you share with your kids will be amazing (though often frustrating), and in the end your child will receive a one-of-a-kind education tailored specifically to them.”
I hope these insights have helped those of you considering homeschooling. A big thank you to Jerica Briggs for sharing her thoughts and experiences!
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