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So many parents, faced with the pile of notebooks, printables, supplies, and textbooks they have chosen for the year, feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Where do you even start? Already you had three fights and 2 messes to clean up. You’re behind schedule. What can you do? Maybe you should just send them all to school. Well, here is a method of how to start homeschooling, even when you don’t know what to do.
Your First Day of Homeschooling
Gather around the table together (maybe pray for wisdom!). Read from a book together (A good book! Like Proverbs or Psalms. Or Tolkien.). Read aloud and talk about it with them. Give them a turn to read aloud if they are old enough. Talk about what you are reading as you go. SIT TOGETHER THE WHOLE TIME!
This is time for character training, for dealing with discipline issues, or just for being together and undoing excessive outside influences. This is your time to learn teaching from rest, for deprogramming, and for reaching the heart of your family. Remember the importance of talking to your children about what you or they think, and about what you are reading.
How to Start Homeschooling Language Arts
If you want to learn language arts, pick a sentence. Practice writing the sentence from dictation. Teach difficult words by syllable. Sound out the word, spell it syllable by syllable and write it from dictation. Learn grammar by identifying each part of speech, what it is doing in the sentence, and why we use it.
Rewrite sentences, Madlibs-style, once you know the parts of speech. Rewriting great literature is a time-tested method of learning to be a great writer. There is no better teacher of good English than the King James Bible. You can use Shakespeare as well. Both are full of beautiful, descriptive language. Practice until your rewritten sentences sound as good or better than the originals. Then move on to paragraphs.
How to Start Homeschooling Math
If you want to learn math, recite math facts together. You can make your own tables to remind yourself. You can do flashcards. Make a game of it, by giving the card to whoever can answer the fact first. You can actually do this with any subject. Any set of questions and answers, individual facts — even letters and numbers can be learned by doing flashcards together every day until the cards are mastered. You can even learn Greek!
Once you know all the math facts, find a list of basic math concepts and start learning them (I have my favorite list here). Practice them with your child. Or get a good set of math book and start them learning independently.
When you are ready to move to independent work, always start with the littles! Spend time with them first, before the older children. Then, give the littles a coloring page while you look over the math books, phonics, or the reading list book with your older child, one at a time. Go youngest to oldest.
Teach them to teach themselves by starting with looking over the book. Eventually, you won’t even need to do that. For now, sit with them, and then leave them to do it themselves. At this point, you can work with some littles, draw or sing, do phonics, or flashcards, etc. Try to read aloud every day from classic picture books and sing a song or two.
While the older children work beside you, it’s a good idea to work beside them. You aren’t helping them; they can help themselves. What is important is that you are modeling working and studying as part of the important things. The longer you can work beside or around them, the better. Whether you are doing housework, paid work, or your own learning, model that learning is part of life.
Homeschooling and Discipline
Expect that the first 2-3 WEEKS of a new routine or schedule, or even school year, will be more about dealing with every discipline incident that comes up, not about getting anything done. Just focus on switching activities at the right time, and let the content roll over until all the bumps are smoothed out.
You may have to get up early, start dinner in the slow-cooker, sweep the floor before the kids are up, pack breakfast and lunch after they are in bed the night before — even lock up all the extra toys and books for a while. But put discipline ahead of anything else during these weeks of deprogramming your family from outside influences and bad habits.
And there you have it! A simple guide to how to start homeschooling — even when you are overwhelmed (or just pulled your kids out of school!).