You just pulled your child out of public school. Stop for a minute and take a breath and remind yourself, You can do this! No second guessing. Now you find yourself homeschooling. So what’s next? Should you jump right into the curriculum? Why not take a break to de-school or detox from public school?
When I pulled my boys out of school I was excited and nervous. We didn’t jump right in. We took a two-week break which happened to correspond with the fall break they would have had with the school. I figured they had earned it. But then I started talking to people who had been homeschooling for a while. These homeschool aficionados suggested we take a long break to de-school from public school and do nothing for two months.
I was told that we should de-school a month for every year they had been in traditional school. One of my boys is in third grade and I didn’t know how I could take 3 months off. I had been waiting for 6 weeks to pull the plug on school and I was eager.
Tips to De-School
However, I think all of these moms I spoke with knew a thing or two. I think de-schooling was helpful. Here are some of the best tips I have received.
- Spend time playing together.
- Strengthen your relationship and get reacquainted.
- When you get started, just pick one subject and go with it for a week. Then the next week, add one more, and so on.
- Start your day with a devotional. This might be scripture study, an uplifting poem, or yoga. Cosmic Yoga is one of our favorites.
- Develop a routine of the kids making the bed, breakfast, reading time, etc before getting started.
- Plan field trips and outings to keep things light and easy. One bad day of homeschooling is better than any day in public school.
After two weeks we did start school, but I just kept things simple.
For math, we just did a few lessons a week so I could get an idea of where they were at. I downloaded problem sets from www.math-aid.com or holiday-themed printables from Pinterest. This also helped me evaluate where they were at and figure out what math curriculum to get.
For history and science, we went to the library and found things we were interested in. I knew I wanted us to start with Ancient Egypt, and, honestly, if it wasn’t for the magic of Egypt I don’t things would have gone well. They loved it so much that I convinced them to dress up as Egyptians for Halloween!
Simplifying Curriculum Choices
For language arts, I was in a bit of a tizzy trying to decide. I kept reading reviews and asking other homeschooling parents in Facebook groups. What I wanted was to open a book and read the contents to know if it would work well for us, but since there was no convention any time soon, that wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully I was finally directed to The Good & the Beautiful. I loved that I could download the pdf for free to try it out before I purchased it. I was so glad about this option.
But what is most important is we didn’t go crazy. As we got into a groove we did a math or language arts lesson in the morning for about an hour. Then my kids all played together. In the afternoon we would read something about Egypt or watch something about Egypt on Youtube. We did this for about a month, took a break for Thanksgiving, worked for another 3 weeks, and then finished for the year to pick things up again in January.
This is a time to detox from the rigors of public school. Limit screen time. Instead encourage your child to explore, create, garden, and read! Even if your child can’t read, read together. Lavish in the fact that on a rainy or snowy day, you don’t have to go out in it but instead cuddle with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.
You Can Do This!
When we began, my husband spoke with his co-worker, Nick, to learn a little about his family’s journey into homeschooling. He told my husband, “To be honest with you, my wife decided to take the plunge. I didn’t feel like I could stop her so I let her do it. I honestly didn’t think she could do it, but I couldn’t tell her that. I’m here to tell you that not only did she do it, but she has also done an amazing job. So, my best advice to you is to always tell your wife that she CAN do it. Don’t ever doubt her.”
If you are just starting, take heart. You are not alone. You can do this. No one knows your child and his needs better than you do. You are a force for good in your child’s life. Remember, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little. Find your community whether it is online, in person or both. Find your strength and don’t give up!