Moms know best.
They know when things are just not working out with the school their kids go to.
They know when the bullying has gotten out of hand, when their son/daughter is just not learning anymore, when their child cries and has belly aches every morning before school.
So, mom makes and choice and says,”I am bringing her home,” and files the needed withdrawal papers (different depending on where you live).
Let’s talk through some of the steps you should take from that point.
First of all, and I cannot stress this enough, you really need to take some time to DE-SCHOOL. This is not the same as Un-school (which is a form of homeschooling), this is to take some time to do NO SCHOOL at all.
This may go against all your mommy feelings and you may feel like you are being an irresponsible homeschooler, but, trust me, you need to take this period of time.
Here’s why – if you child has attended school for any period of time, he/she has a certain, pretty rigid idea of what school is, what “learning” is. This may include but not be limited to: schedules, bells, big hard books, desks, shuffling through the hallways, bumping into tons of kids, noise, grades (failing or passing), emotional stress, etc.
Whether the public school experience has been a positive one or a negative one, you and your child will need to take some time to just be in the same space and get used to the idea of learning at home and to having you as the teacher.
Now, this time is not wide open free time. No, no, no. (We’re not talking hours of tv watching and videos games).
This time is you laying a foundation of how you want education to go from here on.
During this time you should:
Attend art shows and museums
Plug into local homeschool groups
Go hiking, swimming, walking etc
Read books together
Listen to audio books
Read the Bible together
and most of all….talk….and LISTEN.
Your job is to gather information during this time. You are on an information seeking mission. You are going to use this time to hear what your student loved and hated about public school and to see if you can ascertain what sort of student he or she is.
Attempt to answer these questions:
Does your child like to do hands-on things?
Is your child a natural artist?
What are the areas that the student hates/struggles in?
What are his favorite subjects?
What are things that she would like to learn more about?
What subjects is he behind in?
The point of de-schooling is to allow you and your new students to get to know one another…in a NEW way. No longer are you just mom and child, you are also now mom and student.
Caution: one of the things new homeschoolers need to embrace quickly is that homeschooling’s goals is NOT to re-create public school at home. In fact, it is the opportunity you and your child have been waiting for to personalize your child’s education, so all boundaries which once existed are now GONE!
Does your child want to learn about WWII? (Great!)
Does your child have an interest in mushrooms? (Awesome!)
Does you child doodle and draw (Utilize it!)
Does your child prefer you read to them vs reading themselves? (Do it!)
Do you get what I am saying, momma?
There are 2 subjects which are non-negotiable in our house (Math and Language Arts) – but I do personalize their curriculum to their strengths and interests. I do not expect everything to get done perfectly and sometimes, some subjects which cause more frustration than others, I say: I will come back to this another day…month…even year.
It bears repeating…you are not re-creating public school in your home. Grasp this opportunity to do the things your child would never do in public school (for lack of time).
And this,my friends, is how you begin. Gather a supportive community around you!
How long your de-schooling period is, is up to you. I usually advise 2-3 weeks, but others would advise you to take longer. It’s up to you.