10 Things!

1.  It is All Right to be Afraid.  Because we want to give our children the best, home schooling can be frightening.  There are many uncertainties and we feel inadequate.  God does want parents to be dedicated and godly.  But, He tells us in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (KJV).  As we obey God.  As we obey God, as we seek His wisdom in the Word and in prayer, He will give us the wisdom that we need. 
2.  Do Not Worry About High School Now. We began home schooling early in our children’s education, but we kept hearing, “What will you do about high school?  How will you teach algebra and chemistry?”  We do not know what will happen in ten years or even next year.  What God requires is our faithfulness today.  Right now, He wants us to concentrate on the grade our children are in, doing our best for what they need now.
3.  You Can Be a Great Teacher.  Teacher training is not necessary for home educators.  Instead, read home-school magazines and books as well as other books of basic knowledge.  Talk with experienced home-schoolers and teachers.  Remember how your favorite teachers taught.  As you learn, develop, and change to meet your child’s needs, you will become the teacher the Lord wants you to be.
4.  There is No Perfect Curriculum.  I spent the first 10 years of home schooling looking for the perfect curriculum while my husband kept reminding me how well our boys were doing with what we were already using.  There are many good curricula, but no perfect curriculum for every home-schooler.  One of the wonderful benefits of home-schooling is to be able to experiment with curriculum and methods.  Talk with other home-schoolers about their curricula.  Look over their materials and ask what they like and dislike.  Talk to distributors of curriculum shows, and read about new materials.
5.  Be Willing to Experience.  Sometimes a child benefits from trying a different curriculum or approach.  In some subjects, you need to learn a foundation before you can build on it; but in other subjects, it won’t hurt to be creative.  As long as your child learns his basic subjects, you can adjust when and how he builds on that foundation. 
6.  You Do Not Have to Finish the Book.  At times, we have changed books mid-year because one was not working out.  We have dropped a subject mid-year and finished it later or not at all.  We realized that most public schools do not always finish a book either.  I do not mean to sound lax.  We work hard, and I plan thoroughly, but I am no longer enslaved by my home-schooling.  Both boys have done well when tested, but when the inevitable delays occur or problems arise, we adjust our schedule, our curriculum, or our methods. And, sometimes, we do not finish the book!
7.  You Do Not Have to Know Your Children’s Learning Styles Now.  When I began, I really did not know our boys well enough nor did I know enough about learning styles to make even a reasonable guess what theirs were.  I will cannot tell you precisely what the boys’ optimal learning styles are, but I have figured out strategies to help them over the rough spots.  Today, there are more materials with great ideas to help you utilize your child’s learning strengths.  However, I would caution you not to build so much on their strengths that you do not strengthen their weak areas. 
8.  Your Child is Better Off Without “Socialization.”  People seem to have the idea that the only way your child can learn to get along with others is to be thrown in the midst of thirty other 5-year-old tyrants and see who rises to the top.  But, God has another idea.  He says, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32 KJV).  We need to teach our children that kindness includes sharing their toys, playing what the other person wants to play, and having good manners.  The heart of true socialization is the Golden Rule.  In the past, even public schools taught that.
9.  Teenagers Are Wonderful People.  I used to worry about the time when our boys would become teenagers.  “Just wait until they become teenagers,” people would say.  “They’ll rebel.  They all do.  It’s just a rite of passage.”  This is not true!  Not all teenagers rebel.  Only in this century have we seen the massive teenage rebellion that we often hear is normal.  The good news is that it does not have to occur if you build a close relationship with your children.  Spend time together, not only in study but in work and play and worship.  My husband is our boys’ number one fan.  He encourages their interests, such as the computer or rocketry, even when they are not his interests.  He models for them what manhood means in his treatment of me, in his stand for the Lord, and in his spiritual leadership of the family.  The teen years have been the best so far.  I must admit that we do not always see eye-to-eye, but we discuss our differences of opinion.  The boys are idealistic, thoughtful, and fascinating people who are committed to the Lord. 
10. Commitment is the Key to Success in Home Schooling.  Making home schooling a top priority makes it successful.  Not every child will excel in the same things or do equally well.  However, personal attention will help any child do better.  Your commitment displays itself in consistency, in hitting the books every day, in learning from the unplanned situations that interrupt the lessons, in not giving up when you wonder if you are doing any good.  Commit yourself to do the best job you can do.  If today went poorly, try a fresh approach tomorrow.  Call a home-school friend for some encouragement, but keep coming back because you are shaping a young man or woman for God.