[box]Curious about homeschooling? Want to know what you need to get started? Then this month's posts are for you. Join us in the month of March as we look at some of the things that I have learned over the past ten years of homeschooling our children.[/box] In my last homeschooling post, I started talking about some homeschool myths that I've encountered over the years. While I am sure there are a lot of other ones floating around out there, I wanted to focus on just a couple more.
4. You need to be uber-organized to homeschool.
As with creativity, knowledge, etc. being organized is a good thing to have. However, being unorganized doesn't mean you cannot homeschool. If you want to get the honest truth, I am not organized. I only am somewhat organized in the things I like organizing. This is what I wade through every day to find our work. I only started organizing things because it was ridiculous how much time I was spending looking for things. The extend of my filing system this year are four files, one for each of my kids, to hold the things we are working on. I pretty much just stuff papers in there.
As for lesson plans, I write them one week before I need them (and that's actually an improvement from last year), and that's just so we can move forward. I am not the kind who writes the whole year's work out before the school year starts. As we are being real here, I have not been keeping up-to-date on Janna's high school transcript. I can already tell that's going to be an all-nighter in the making. It's not that I haven't kept records. It's just that I haven't organized them.
I am convinced that every family will run differently, based on personality, style, and preference. I like some semblance of order and routine, but I also like having some flexibility in that routine. Plus, with a new child in the family, even our old routines are not exactly fitting right anymore either. And so, I am finding that things are in disarray for now, until I can work out a system that will take into account the changes in our home. For me, organization is a work in progress---tweaked and improved as I go. It is not found in systems, planners or inventories. If I wait for that to be perfect, I wouldn't be homeschooling at all.
5. You need to have the gift of teaching to homeschool.
As with all myths, a lot of things are nice to have, but not essential. Yes, some of my homeschooling friends were former teachers, but many more are not. Some are physical therapists or accountants. Some are medical doctors or lawyers. Some homeschooling moms haven't gone to college. And if you have gotten an undergraduate degree, you don't need a post-graduate degree either.
As I mentioned in my other post, I personally think that it is more important to have a teachable heart, and that is something we all can cultivate. The other thing you have is a love for your children, as well as a commitment to their well-being. That doesn't mean that it won't be hard. Some days are better left unmentioned. But I have found that when I am excited about learning and growing with my children, when I am thinking about how I can best further God's work in their life using the resources available, children will learn.
I have found this so, even with Anah. I have no degree in special education. I have done minimal research, if you can even call it that, on Down Syndrome. But she is learning. It is taking a long time, and she is slow, but I am confident that she will learn in our home. As her mother, I have a good idea of where she's at, what she's strong in, how to take her strengths and use them in her lessons. God is cultivating in me a love for her that will not give up on her. I know that I will be with her for the long haul, not just one year. For these reasons, parents are actually in the best position to teach.
I know that I haven't covered a lot of other myths, like issues on socialization, college readiness, etc. The truth is, there are some myths that you hear and need to trust that if the Lord is going to lead you into homeschooling, He will take care of these things. Right now, we have one child on the brink of graduation from high school. Will her homeschooling education get her into college? I don't know 100% for sure. But I know that God will not abandon us. We have committed to training her up for His Kingdom service, and we are going to believe that He will do it. If she requires college, He will get her in. I need not fear. I'll do all I can, but it's not all up to me.
If God is putting it on your heart to homeschool, yet some of these fears have immobilized you, I encourage you to re-think them. Most myths are just that--myths. Millions of children have been homeschooled successfully, despite a lack of knowledge, creativity, patience, degrees, or organization, on the part of the parents. Where I am weak, He is strong.
Personally, homeschooling has stretched and grown me in ways I could never have imagined. I encourage you to face your fears and see where He may take not only your children but you too.