Ten “First Aid” Steps for New Homeschoolers
New homeschooling parents often feel panicky as they start out on their educational journey with their children. The responsibility and choices are often overwhelming. These practical tips will help you focus on what is most important in the early days.
1. A – Airways: Take a deep breath and relax! You are not messing up your child’s education just because you are not sending them to school like most other parents do. Whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, worried or doubting yourself, refer back to this step. No one has your children’s long term best interests at heart like you do!
If they are approaching twelve or older then order Homeschooling High School by Shirley Erwee. Order them now and READ them when they arrive!
3. C- Career training: Consider this choice as a new career path for yourself, not to become a teacher but rather your children’s learning FACILITATOR. To do a good job you need to educate yourself more, build your confidence and learn how to avoid the mistakes that so many newbies make. You need to invest some time and money learning more about how homeschooling works best so that you don’t try to replicate school at home. Sign up to receive the series of 6 x 1 hour webinar series on Starting Homeschooling and Homeschooling High School presented by veteran homeschool mom and consultant, Shirley Erwee at http://www.startinghomeschooling.co.za/ . You (and your partner) attend at your computer in your own home, no babysitters, no travelling…all you need is an internet-connected pc with speakers or earphones. You can download each webinar to watch (and re-watch) at your convenience.
4. D – Dynamis: Go to dynamislearning.co.za and see when Martie du Plessis will be presenting a seminar near you. Book now for that seminar, even if it is some time away as her seminars fill up fast and also book for a family consultation afterwards. Travel to attend a seminar if you must and consider the cost as an investment in your family’s future. Martie is an expert homeschooling consultant and will help you find the right path for you and your children, based on your unique personalities and learning styles. She is a remedial therapist and therefore able to advise you regarding children with any special educational needs. Both parents should attend unless you are a single parent family.
5. E – Email course: While you wait for your book to arrive, sign up now to receive the following 7 emails FREE: Tips for Starting Homeschooling. The course is intended to help you to find the answers you need, to overcome doubts and fears and to help you to feel confident about what you need to do. It also included lists of quality websites and books to help you dig deeper into each section of this course. As parents we need to re-educate ourselves about what education at home entails.
6. F – Freedom: Join the Pestalozzi Trust so that you can start learning about the legalities of home education in SA, your rights and responsibilities as a parent as well as your children’s rights, which you have to protect. Also join The Association for Homeschooling – its free.
By joining the Trust you are supporting the work they do as the watchdogs of the freedom of all homeschoolers in South Africa. If it weren’t for the Trust, your freedom might be heavily controlled by government officials and curriculum providers, who do not understand the limits of their authority and the rights of children to receive an education that is in their best interests. If there is a seminar offered by the Trust in your area, go to it and learn more about how to support your children and the future of homeschooling in South Africa.
7. G – Group support: Join your local homeschool association and local support group so that you have social support from other parents who are also educating their children at home. You need a place to find and share encouragement with like-minded families. Also find more specific support such as social media groups for parents of pre-schoolers or high schoolers or parents of children with special educational needs.
SA Homeschool Support Groups are listed here. Before you listen to anyone’s advice, ask the how long they have been homeschooling and the lessons they have learned.
8. H – Home work: Depending on the ages of your children, work out how you can all work together to clean and tidy your home each day and start training them by working together as you do your daily work in the home. This will be long-term teaching and training and may take much of your day. That’s fine. This is preparing them for adult life. No school or book can teach them this!
9. I- Interests: Visit the library, preferably during school hours when it is quiet, and let your children enjoy browsing and selecting books to read together with you at home. You read them aloud to your children. Show them the reference books as well as the fictional story books. Let your children pick the books so that you can discover their interests and passions. Give them time for hobbies, crafts, cooking, playing or whatever they love doing – no matter if they are age 6 or 16!
10. J- Just chill: This is one of the most important tips – JUST CHILL and refer back to point A. Some children need a lot of free time to heal from their experiences at school.
Do not rush to buy a curriculum. This could be a mistake that costs you lot of money and heart-ache and a wrong choice could potentially ruin your homeschooling experience.
Your children will not get behind. They are no longer in the school system and there is no deadline by which they must finish their education. Home education offers you the opportunity to give your children a customised education and to create an ethos of life-long learning in your family.
Read about Eclectic Homeschooling. Chill out together for a few months or more and deepen your relationships, while you first educate yourself.
To sum up all ten points in one: first aid = first educate yourself, the parent, about homeschooling before you set about educating your children at home.