Words by: Miranda Evans
August 10. That was our start date. We are first-year homeschoolers.
I have always admired homeschoolers and aspired to homeschool myself. However, there was a certain fear and uncertainty that kept me from taking that leap. Now, in a wild twist, that same fear and uncertainty due to Covid-19 has been the very thing to propel me into this journey of being a first-year homeschooler. Oh, the irony.
I’ve followed homeschoolers on social media for years. I’ve watched their varied teaching techniques and styles, and I’ve actually learned a lot in terms of expectation vs. reality. So, I’m not a complete stranger to this process of learning. However, once you withdraw your child from public school and sign that letter of intent, it’s like, “Oh crap. What now?”
You get completely overwhelmed by it all. You see, I’m a teacher by trade, but I’m a stay-at-home parent. I mention it because the fact that I’m a trained teacher made absolutely no difference in avoiding being overwhelmed and confused when deciding to homeschool. I still had so many questions like: “What are they supposed to know? Can I focus on what I want? High school? What am I supposed to do with a 10th grader?” I barely remember that stuff! The thoughts, the questions, the doubt all started pouring in.
There are like 2 million different curriculums to choose from. Ok, maybe not 2 million, but there are A LOT. I’ve spent countless hours just looking at curriculums. I’ve even fallen asleep with the phone in my hand trying to make decisions well into the night. We’ll be homeschooling two preschoolers, a fourth grader, and a 10th grader. I say ‘we’ because my husband intends to help. He has declared himself “homeschool superintendent” because “principal” just wasn’t enough. However, he’s left the curriculum choices up to me.
There are also so many learning materials that make you feel inadequate or incapable of teaching because you lack them or the funds to purchase them. Some of my first thoughts were homeschooling looks expensive. While there will be an investment, homeschooling is also as expensive as you make it. A workbook from Walmart coupled with some real life, hands-on experience maybe, just as if not more, effective than a big name brand. It’s up to you and what your goals are, and that’s what we have to figure out.
There have been tons of things that I’ve looked at and thought “Oh, our kids will love that!” There have also been times where I’ve looked at things and said, “Oooo, I want that!” Did you read that? I want it. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to distinguish between what you want and what you actually need to teach your child. Social media is a blessing and curse in that aspect. There are so many fabulous homeschool rooms that you may feel compelled to have one, too. There are pretty stacks of popular books that you assume you need. And let me be the first to tell you: I’m a book hoarder. I love books. I have books in two different carts right now and am trying to decide whether I need them. I already know the answer.
While I have tried to gather a list of goals and plans for this year, one of my main goals is to give us all grace. This is going to be a learning experience for us all. There will be mistakes that I’ll just consider learning opportunities. I don’t know if this will be a one-year homeschool journey or if we’ll decide to continue, but I plan on making the most of it while we’re here.
August 10. That was our start date. Now, the only way to move is forward.
Miranda Evans is a wife, stay-at-home mom of five, and a first time homeschooler. She enjoys reading, decor and spending time with her family. Follow her on Instagram.