I have allowed quite a few questions to build up in my inbox. I try to answer all of my email, but sometimes I simply don’t keep up and I always feel a bit guilty when that happens. I’m going to give the quick answers to a few here, and I’m hoping you all will chime in with more and better advice.
I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about when you begin to formally homeschool? I want to homeschool my children and the oldest turns 3 next month. Someone asked me when I was going to start homeschooling and I realized I didn’t know:)
I have read a lot of homeschoolers articles that say 3-4 years old is too early and that just reading, playing, singing, doing crafts etc is enough at this point. Would you agree?
We believe that our duty to educate our children starts at birth. We are teaching our children every day, whether we try or not. With this in mind, it becomes difficult to pin down exactly when homeschooling begins.
Is it when you first sing the ABC’s with your child? Is it when you help her count her pennies or pieces of candy? Is it when you first help her write a letter to Grandma?
School in our house becomes more advanced year by year, but it didn’t start at age 3, 5, or 7. It started at birth. It also doesn’t start at 8:30 AM, 9:00 or 10:00. It starts when we rise in the morning.
For more on this, I highly recommend Victoria Botkin’s Curriculum Advice CDs. I can’t say enough good things about these! Watch for a giveaway very soon!
My question is about homeschooling in TX. My son is only 3.5 so we have some time to figure out the legal issues, but I definitely want to know what is in store for us. If I understand correctly, we need to register as a private school. How do you go about doing this?
Also, my son just started reading. Do you have an recommendations for preschool homeschooling? I don’t see any reason to wait until the magical age of 5 to start teaching, especially since he’s already reading. So far I’ve used Barbara Curtis’ Mommy Teach Me and Mommy Teach Me to Read, which I like very much. However, I would also love to find something a bit more structured. What do you suggest for the young’ins?
The HSLDA site has a map which gives a brief summary of the homeschooling laws state-by-state. According to this map, Texas is one of several states requiring no notice; they say that Texas has no state requirement for parents to initiate any contact. If you click on Texas, you can will find a PDF which provides a more detailed analysis of the homeschooling law in Texas.
We don’t use a structured program now, but in the past we used and enjoyed Sonlight’s program for young children. This is a flexible program based heavily around literature. It’s not a “canned curriculum,” but it provides enough structure to help new homeschoolers gain confidence.
I love when you share stuff like this, it really helps those of us who are still “in the trenches” with mostly little ones, know there is hope.
You mentioned having a dirty house in those years, that’s one of the things I struggle with right now, feeling like I need to get it all done perfectly. There is so much pressure on conservative, Christian women to get up before dawn, keep the house spotless, cloth diaper, grow your own veggies, grind your own flour, bake your own bread, sew your own clothes, eat on less than $20 a week, and on and on. I finally had to stop visiting many online sites and blogs because there was no way I was going to start doing all of that…excess. Right now, it’s all about surviving and thriving the best we can. But I often struggle with guilt that I don’t have my kids on a reliable homeschool schedule, my house isn’t always spotless, I don’t make my own bread, or grind my own wheat, and on and on. How do you feel about these issues? What do you think are the non-negotiables for a mom of young kids to be accomplishing?
I suspect every mom struggles with these questions. I think it’s not quite such a hard question if you ask your questions from a Christian worldview. As you search for answers, ask yourself:
- How can I best serve God right now?
- How is this particular chore important in my service to Him? (Yes, it pleases God when we mop. But let’s make sure we are mopping for the right reason!)
- Are my priorities in line with my husband’s? (Am I serving PB&J for dinner so I have time to clean house, when he would rather I spent a little more time on dinner?)
- Am I working to please God or to please others? Am I creating more work for myself by holding to the arbitrary standards of others? (for example, If it’s not dirty don’t clean it)
Non-negotiables? These will vary depending upon a lot of factors, not the least of which is your husband’s desires and standards. Again, be sure to hold yourself to God’s standard and not that of your neighbors, relatives, or favorite blogger.
Dear readers, please don’t think that I have it all together in any of these areas. I find myself feeling convicted as I compose answers to these questions from readers.
My children are bright, but they have gaps in their knowledge. I regularly hear myself say, “You don’t know…?!” This is not a reason to feel like a failure; this is a reason to pull out a good book or fire up the internet or have a good discussion and fill that gap!
My house is generally a few short minutes from being reasonably orderly, but is rarely clean. Just don’t look in the kids’ rooms. Don’t look in any bedrooms, for that matter.
Hubby would probably like more elaborate dinners, and here I sit blogging. But he also likes the fact that I blog and run our online entrepreneurial enterprises. These require a very real time commitment, and so I must prioritize. At what point would he want me to switch tasks? It’s a balancing act and it’s easy to get caught up in what I want – self-service. And so again, I sit and blog.
The baby would like to be fed – NOW. Here’s where ovarian guilt comes in. Hit the publish button, just hit it…