1. I wish I had purchased the 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum last year. I recently decided to order it and it arrived yesterday. I have only been skimming it so far but I am greatly impressed. I know my words as a homeschooler aren't worth much salt yet but this book is for a total newbie just like myself. This will give you a starting direction and help see where you need to go.
2. I am greatly anticipating attending the 2012 MACHS Conference. There will be workshops and vendor tables. I am going there with a plan of attack. I am going with checklists. I am going prepared to learn.
3. I NEED STRUCTURE! While for the most part I love our free living lifestyle I NEED something to keep me on schedule and on track. I need long range plans with short term flexibility. This will suit both my needs and my children's needs. I am a classic procrastinator and having guidelines keeps me in check. I know that is a weakness of mine. Knowing that is a major part of our planning.
4. Choosing and researching and wading the waters of curriculum is confusing. In a big way. With all the various approaches and styles and philosophies there really is something for everyone. BUT, finding it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Therefore SEE #1.
5. Stigma sucks. I don't have a lot of support regarding my decision to homeschool. I feel that much of the stigma regarding homeschooling is to blame. I need to grow a back bone where this is concerned though. People can think and feel how they want to think and feel. Still though, stigma sucks.
6. Invest in bookshelves and storage systems. You are basically operating a classroom out of your home. The materials available in an average classroom are more than likely going to need to be available in your home in some way. Where do you keep this stuff? Books, crafts, toys, manipulatives, worksheets, projects................
7. Gathering time is the best part of our day. I like to begin our homeschool days with a routine that consists of: O Canada, reciting the Our Father, reading a devotion, two minutes of silence and reflection, morning/welcome song, calendar/weather/season/moon, fun/activity song and stretches. Then we are ready to learn.
8. It can be very overwhelming. Not a day goes by that I don't question or second guess myself a little bit. Whether it is the excessive complaining that day or my own insecurities or a whole variety of factors there is always something to make feel inadequate as a homeschooling parent. I just remind myself of why I am doing this in the first place and that together we will overcome new challenges every day.
9. It is work. While there is a lot of fun there is also a lot of work. This goes for both the children and me. The preparing and carrying out of lessons and activities can be exhausting. Being a parent is hard, being a stay at home parent has challenges and then I have gone and done added another whole big piece of something to my plate. Again though I take it a day at a time. I am learning when to back of and when to push something.
10. Seeing my children learn and grow and develop every day makes all the stress and stigma and work worth it. Choosing to homeschool is something that I do not take lightly. It is something I will not ever regret doing. It is a path for our family that I plan to continue on for many years to come.