Thursday, June 21, 2012

Monsters of Homeschooling: Fear

Monsters of Homeschooling 

How will I  know what to teach?

What if my kids drive me crazy?

What if I can't stay organized?

How will I teach 4 kids?

Depending on how you look at it, fear can either be an obstacle or a great motivator. How do you handle fear?

Fear can keep you from trying. Fear can make you weak. Fear can make you believe things that aren't true or rational. Fear can steal your energy, joy, creativity, focus, and passion. 

What would you or could you do if you weren't afraid? And truthfully, what are you afraid of?

When it comes to homeschooling, the most common fear is that we are going to somehow mess up our kids. There is a certain amount of fear that you should feel when it comes to the awesome responsibility of educating your children. But it needs to be the kind of fear that is backed with huge amount of respect. A mixed feeling of fear and respect can propel you into greatness instead of keeping you paralyzed in the shadows. 

Are you ready to send the Fear Monster back to his corner?

Let's look at the fears I listed above.

1. How will I know what to teach?
There are so many options now on types of homeschool methods and curricula, it can be overwhelming. I highly recommend Cathy Duffy's book if you are just starting out. DO NOT buy it in the digital version (i.e. Kindle, etc.) as you will want to be able to write notes. I originally bought the Kindle version and was not happy. She also has a website for reviewing curricula. If you don't know how you teach, how your kids learn or what kind of homeschooler you are, BUY THE BOOK! You will be taken step by step through identifying how your child learns, how you like to teach, etc. At the end of the process, you will have a much clearer idea of what to do.
Knowing what kind of homeschooler you are can help you navigate through the endless options of curricula. If you choose to go the route of not using curricula, you can find all sorts of educational standards to help you stay on track.  Core Knowledge is a popular one. You can also check with you local school districts or state standards.

2. What if my kids drive me crazy?
Ready for a short answer? They will. 
Ha! You will have days that you want to pull out your hair, but I think ALL parents feel that way even if their kids go to school. Just ask a public school parent about homework. 

3. What if I can't stay organized?
No one says you have to have some picture perfect homeschool room. We can dream of having rooms that belong on Pinterest. Be realistic. Find a system of keeping up with important papers first. Then worry about how to organize the chapter books or art supplies.
Set aside a day each week to file, sort and purge. I like to do this on Fridays when our school day is a bit shorter. Make it a "must do" on your schedule. 

4. How will I teach 4 kids? (or whatever # you have)
This is a BIG fear and often the one that derails a parent faster than anything. If a teacher can divide herself by 20 or more, you can divide yourself by much less.
I like Sue Patrick's Workbox System. Many people try it and love it and some try it and it doesn't work for them. Here is a helpful video from a mom that uses workboxes. We use the Trofast drawers from Ikea.

If you're wondering more about how to do workboxes, check back tomorrow for more information and some useful resources for Freebie Friday.

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