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Homeschooling? Are You Kidding Me?


This year marks 19 years since I graduated from high school. If you had told me then that I would have six children and be homeschooling them, I would have laughed and told you, “No. I’m going to be a lawyer (or something equally prestigious) and never get married and dress in skirts and high heels every day.”

Oh! the image is quite comical, indeed. Who woulda thought?

Law offices and high heels aside, not to mention the husband and six children, homeschooling was probably the last thing that would ever have entered my mind. I’m sorry, but 20 years ago, it just wasn’t done.

At least not by normal people.

Shortly after I graduated from high school, I went off to college and within two years had met the man of my dreams. We married two years later, the same year that I earned my Master’s Degree and teaching credential. The following fall I started teaching in a public high school. Another year went by and we were expecting our first child.

And at the age of 25, on the brink of becoming a mother, I entered uncharted territory in deciding not only to quit my job, but to teach my children at home as well.

Yowza!

And, truthfully, though it is a lot of hard work, though it gets snide comments from certain family members, though it is challenging to be teacher and mom rolled into one, I wouldn’t change anything about it. I’m having such a good time, and our family enjoys such good relationships as a result.

A reader asked,

Where would you recommend to begin when someone is seriously looking into homeschooling? A specific book? Website? Anything?

For me there were two books that really sealed the deal for me. I haven’t followed all that closely to what’s hot and new in terms of resources, but these two are still in print and I think their messages are timeless. These books have definitely worked for me.

Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson is not even really a book about homeschooling. In fact, at the time of this book’s printing, the same year I graduated from high school in fact, Wilson encouraged private schooling as the ideal option and the home school as second choice. I haven’t kept up with any of his newer writings to know how his opinions have changed with the times.

However, this book addresses the benefits of a classical education. Since I was a total nerd in school, it’s always been important to me that my kids received a solid education. This book convinced me that the classical model was a great way to achieve this. Wilson’s arguments inspired me to desire not just a good education for my kids, but a great one.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home took my thoughts about education one step further and explained how I could achieve, Lord willing, this complete education at home. The authors, a mother and her grown daughter, speak from experience, having treaded homeschooling waters before it was legal, cool, or common. This book is quite inspiring and lays a lot of ground work for the “how the heck do I do this?!” kind of questions. Though obviously addressed to the homeschooler, it can also be used as a supplemental resource for families who are pursuing more traditional means of education but may want to step things up a bit.

At its heart is the idea of teaching children to learn and to love learning. To me that is the important part. I want my kids to want to learn, to be curious about our world, and to be motivated to discover its mysteries.

OK, homeschool moms, if someone asked you for your most compelling resource for investigating homeschooling, what would YOU recommend?

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Comments

  1. The Things We Do says:

    I’d recommend that they talk to other moms that homeschool. That has BY FAR been my best resource! Better than all the books and websites. Now I run my own homeschool co-op support group and am able to encourage other moms with my experience. If you don’t know any other moms, I’d say start checking out books at the library about the topic because there have been SEVERAL good books written on it. Not just one that I could point to.

    But again, find a homeschool mom and cling to her. Don’t know any, start researching online for a group in your area or through your local churches.

  2. Donna and Greg says:

    Moms that are already homeschooling is the best resource there is. If they don’t know anyone, they could check to see if their area has a local homeschool group. Contact Home School Legal Defense Association for their specific states information. Check out books from the library. Google search homeschooling. Yahoo group search homeschooling. There are lots of resources available. This is my 13th year and I love it! 5 Years to go until my youngest graduates from high school. Then maybe I can help my children if they choose to homeschool the grandbabies!

    Donna

  3. Donna(mom24boyz) says:

    I second the well trained mind! Awesome book! Definately talk to other homeschooling moms..they are such a source of inspiration!

  4. Read, read, read! I wouldn’t recommend any particular book on homeschooling, but simply to read or at least browse, every homeschooling book you can get your hands on. There are wealth of ideas out there on how to homeschool, why to homeschool, and where to start. Most of all, trust yourself. There is no right or wrong way to homeschool. Do what works best for your family and have confidence in yourself. Of course, relying on the Lord to lead you is the most important part of the homeschooling process.

  5. Not to sound too spiritual, but it was prayer! It took us almost 6 years to conceive our first daughter (13 yrs. for the 2nd). When she was about 3 I had read an article on home education. I didn’t even know it was a option. At the same time I started having feelings of anxiety about putting her on the school bus, after waiting so long for her in the first place. I then began to literally consume anything I could get my hands on concerning HS’ing. She’s 21 now. The same year she graduated we officially started with our 2nd daughter.
    Like you, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  6. And, about the prayer…much prayer…because back then it wasn’t so common. I had to know that this was the right thing for us beyond a shadow of a doubt!

  7. The Well-Trained Mind Forums get my vote:

    http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/

    And you don’t have to become an active member to get a lot of mileage out of the forums. The search function turns the forums into a great online resource, because you can browse through past discussions on just about every aspect of homeschooling: method, curriculum, must-haves, etc. I’ve gotten wonderful, detailed answers to many a (specific) question this way.

  8. Ugh, I think we must have graduated the same year – when you said 19 years I thought about when I graduated – WOW! it has been 19 years! :)

    Anyway, on to your real question, I agree that other homeschoolers are the best resource for new homeschoolers.

    And definitely prayer.

    And read, read, read – when we first began to consider homeschooling, we really did not know any other homeschoolers. I picked up Lisa Whelchel’s (sp?) book (I think it was called, “So you’re thinking about homeschooling” or something like that) – and I was able to get a picture of the MANY different approaches to homeschooling. Then we began to research the methods that appealed to us and matched our family – and we went from there.

  9. Real-Life Homeschooling by Rhonda Barfield : This one actually interviews 12 families who homeschool very differently. It was eye opening to me at how different philisophies can play out in different families and made me feel free tofind what fit my family and not do what eveyone else tells me to do!

    Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles – Paperback (Feb 2006) by Gena Suarez and Paul Suarez : This one is actual “experts” on different homeschool styles writing essays.

  10. Christine says:

    The most compelling homeschool resources that I have read include The Well Trained Mind and Teaching the Trivium. I really love how Teaching the Trivium shows the biblical foundation of home education.Blessings!

  11. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free says:

    Thank you for this post!

    My husband and I have really been tossing the homeschool idea around. It started about a year ago when we were having issues with our oldest in the public school arena, and has just seemed to crop up everywhere we turn when we are looking for anwsers.

    I need to look into those books you mentioned, as well as the ones from the comments.

  12. I agree with finding someone who has done it. And Debra Bell’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. It’s excellent and full of encouragement that God’s grace abounds to us as mom’s and as mom’s who want to invest in their children.

  13. Our decision to homeschool was pretty easy. Both my Husband and I were some of the “unnormal” ones who’s parents started homeschooling us 25 years ago. We feel that we were incredibly blessed in that and didn’t want anything different for our children.
    I remember when my parents were first getting started they read a lot of books by Raymond and Dorothy Moore and really got inspired by that. They are still neat books to read.
    Beyond that I do think that talking to those that have done it can do a lot to put any fears you might have to rest. They should help you to see that you don’t have to know everything and be perfect in order for your kids to learn a lot. It does help to have a love of learning yourself as if you spread that to your children then education will basically been taken care of.

  14. Mommy Kerrie says:

    i think it’s called the ultimate guide to homeschooling by debra bell. she’s down-to-earth and homeschooled 4 kids, i believe.

  15. I always seem to be late to the party but that's ok! I felt God was leading us to homeschool but wasn't sure what it would be like either. I picked up a $5 discount book at Kroger and felt more confident that it was doable and our kids would get a better education (and Bible based) than public or private school. I enjoy tailoring everything to our children. Our oldest is gifted in math and is at least one grade ahead but struggles in other areas so we've been able to work around that plus keep our first and second children together on some subjects b/c they're so close in age.

    My husband decided to base our curriculum choices on the classical method. He's into the Veritas Press choices/guide/catalog but the book you mention The Well-Trained Mind really ignited him (so to speak). BUT I will say that book has two editions now. The first edition has a lot of good curriculum recommendations, but since then they have developed and published a lot of their own resources so the second edition is filled with their resources as recommendations. (Just trying to help a reader beware. For that reason, we purchased the 1st edition on ebay, not that their products are bad – we just wanted different choices.)

  16. I am exploring your blog a bit and came across this wonderful post. You and I have a similar journey. I graduated from high school in ’89, became a mom at the age of 24 and now have 6 wonderful children ages 14, 13, 10, 10, 7 and 2. We’ve always home schooled. I hosted my local home school support group for several years and can agree that other moms are the best resource out there. However, every book mentioned is excellent. My favorite resource is Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson. This is a very Charlotte Mason style resource and our home school is definitely more classical in nature but Sally Clarkson is so full of wisdom and grace. It is such an incredibly encouraging read and one I can’t recommend highly enough.

  17. I did not see this mentioned..but I love visiting the boards on http://www.thehomeschoollounge.com Whenever I have a question or need support, moms there are always willing to offer tips and advice! Love it!

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