I always love the looks of surprise I get when asked the ages of my children after breaching the subject of homeschooling. With Mr. T being almost 3 1/2 and Mr. F approaching 1 year, how can we possibly be “homeschooling”. Well, as their mother I am given the honor of “training them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6) alongside my husband and that teaching begins the moment a child is conceived. As the primary caregiver I am responsible for teaching everything from using a Kleenex to wipe his nose to holding open the door to remembering that we are instructed to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8). That’s no small task. And it is part of homeschooling.
The academics at this age look a bit different, but I was blessed to be a mothers helper to Hope at Homeschooling 3 and got to see early homeschool in action and what a blessing it is. Mr. J and I believe that God is taking us down this path of learning and we are excited to see how it evolves over then next few years. But I get asked about homeschooling a lot. And I love advocating for homeschool. I believe every Christian family should prayerfully consider homeschooling. (No, I don’t have the patience, etc. for it either but God equips you for what He calls you to. My friend Mary posted about all the usual objections here) But the best piece of advice I can give to any mom who wants to homeschool from the start is: Take. It. Slow.
Your 2 year old does not need structured schooling. If they can’t sing their ABC’s, don’t worry. Don’t spend a ton of money on preschool curriculum. We’ve done a few purchased packs and activities but that was more out of convenience to me, especially while I was pregnant with Mr. F. We love reading and Montessori activities. We love playing with friends. We love cooking together. We go to the zoo, the park and even the back yard (something people tend to forget) and learn about God’s creation and have lots of fun experiencing nature.
Don’t stress yourself out by reading about every single homeschooling “method” in depth. *Experience speaking here* You will get overwhelmed. You will freak out. You will want to order DVD’s, books, and curriculum sets for your 20 month old. Step away from the Amazon cart. Seriously. Casually browse homeschooling blogs, Pinterest boards, and look for local homeschool co-ops. Make new friends (very important for the whole “socialization” thing) and learn a little about each method and make a list of the ones that catch your attention and then look further into those.
You have time. You have God and His awesome instruction book. You have prayer. And you have Google. Once you’ve compiled your list, take a method or topic every few weeks and dive in. So far I’ve read The Well-Trained Mind. I’ve learned and read a lot about Montessori and that’s been our main focus. I’ve been checking out more Charlotte Mason lately and gearing up for a “real” pre-K 3 year this fall for Mr. T.
That does include curriculum, but it’s a hodge podge and it’s enough for probably 15 months of daily mini school. Let’s be real, your 3 year old doesn’t need 4 to 6 hours of “structured” schooling, either 🙂
The best thing you can do for your little homeschoolers is to be present. Play with them. Let them help, even when it isn’t super helpful. If it takes 30 minutes to empty the dishwasher, relax. Teach them the difference between a salad and a dinner fork. It’s training for setting the table. Just be. Just breathe. And know that every thing you do with your child is a building block. Every scribbled masterpiece, every caught bug, every spilled glass and every muddy footprint is a learning experience. Learn with your little ones and you will begin to learn them and their hearts and how to best reach them and train their hearts for God’s glory.
What questions do you have about homeschooling from the start? What advice do you have for moms just starting out?