“I don’t know how do you do it!”
I do not know how many times someone has said this to me when he or she finds out we homeschool our children. I have heard it many, many times.
Usually, the person making this comment has a second thought that remains unsaid: “I don’t think I could do it.” If this is you, if you wonder about homeschooling your children but do not think you can do it, I want to tell you something VERY important:
You can homeschool your children.
If God calls you to the work of homeschooling your children, He will provide all the resources you need to do it, resources inside of yourself and material resources to use in teaching your children. If God calls you to it, He will see you through it. He will be with you.
I have found that homeschooling is not just about the character, intellectual, and social growth of our children, but I myself have stretched and grown through homeschooling as well.
But how do I know if this is right for my family? Where do I start?
Begin at the beginning.
Spend time in prayer. If God wants you to homeschool your family, He will let you know. Trust in Him.
Pray about it together as a couple; pray individually. If feasible, pray about it as a family. (If you are wondering where to start regarding praying about it, you may want to read this article: “How to “Pray About It.”“)
In our case, it was my husband’s idea for us to homeschool our children. At first, I wasn’t too sure about the idea. We talked about it and we prayed about it together as well as individually. We took time to discern what God wanted for our family. He let us know what He wanted for us to do.
Begin at the end.
Look at the goals you have for your family and find what way of education will best meet those goals.
When we evaluate something with the end in mind, it helps us to plan a path to get there. Define the ultimate goals you have for your children and then determine the best path to get to those goals.
Evaluate the educational options in your area and the homeschool laws in your state.
What education options are there where you live? Public school, private school, charter school? You can look up the homeschool laws in your state by contacting Home School League Defense Association (HSLDA) or going to their website.
HSLDA has an extensive website full of information and resources about the legality of homeschooling state by state and how to be successful in homeschooling.
Talk with others.
Do you have friends or family members that you admire, or you admire how their kids are doing? Talk with them. Find out what they are doing. They can be a great resource.
Take one step at a time.
Break your research down into manageable tasks. Pick one thing a day or one thing a week you will do to find out more in your discerning process. You don’t have to have it all figured out today.
Have realistic expectations.
I never told you my response to the statement I wrote above. When someone says to me, “I don’t know how you do it,” my answer is, “One day at a time and not always very well.”
Just because I homeschool does not mean that I have it all together. Not at all. Far from it. I do work to prioritize my days so that I do the most important things first. Sometimes other things do get done (like all of the laundry) and sometimes they don’t. Our children have chores to do each day because I can’t do everything myself. I tried. It didn’t work.
Some days things go so easily and smoothly I feel like I am living in a wonderful dream. Some days I call my husband at 9:30 am (we start school around 8 am) and ask if he knows of a substitute I can call in. Every day is different. Every day has its joys and struggles. Every day we grow.
I hope my frankness has not scared you off! My husband and I know that homeschooling is the best choice for our family and we make it work. We know God has called us to this path and we continue on it with joys and struggles, just like all things in life. All in all, for us the joys definitely outweigh the struggles.
Take one year at a time.
The best decision for your family for schooling this year may not be the same one next year; know that just because you do or do not homeschool this year does not mean you have to do the same thing for the rest of your children’s school years.
Each year is unique. Each child is unique. Each family is unique. Discerning the right path for your family is something you may find yourself doing yearly or a few times as your children grow.
Know that you are not alone.
If you wonder if you should homeschool, take the time to pray about it. Look at the goals you have for your family and find what way of education will best meet those goals. Talk with others. Research the homeschool and educational laws in your state. Know that each year you can reevaluate and change course if needed.
There is no perfect school option. There are pros and cons with each one. Prayerfully discern what God is calling you to do for your family. Know that God is by your side and will be with you in this journey, as He is in all aspects of our lives. Whatever path He calls you to He will give you the strength and resources to accomplish the work He gives you to do. You can do it.