So, you filed your letter of intent to homeschool, hung your child's school backpack up, and are ready to get to work teaching, However, the curriculum possibilities are endless and you aren't sure where to begin. Therefore, you drink too much coffee and spend countless hours researching the best curriculum to use, but your eyes hurt and you haven't ordered a thing...
I am here to tell you, it's perfectly ok if you don't know what you would teach your children right away. As a matter of fact, it's often suggested to take some time to "de-school." That is, just do nothing school related for a period of time and get out of the programmed school type of thinking. I know that might make you worry your child will fall behind, but eventually, you will be able to put a plan together-- even if it's a minimal one to start with. Fortunately, that's the beauty of homeschooling. You are free to school however you decide is best for your children.
While you are "de-schooling," it is also important to find out your child's learning style. I mean, as a parent, you know your child really well. Yet, if you aren't sure how your child learns best, it is wise to figure that out before you waste a bunch of time planning lessons that won't work.
For example: If your child is a visual learner, you will want to provide lots of pictures and images to support learning. Or maybe your child learns best by hearing concepts in a song. Maybe they need classical music playing in order to concentrate or maybe they need total silence. It is possible that your child does their best work at 9 in the evening or maybe they like to wake up at 5 am and get all their work done by 8. These are some things you can figure out before you get started, but also they will come naturally as you get into your homeschooling routines.
Even in the same family, each child is different and often learns in their own, unique way. This is just one of many reasons the traditional school system might be failing one of your children, but not another. So, take some time to figure out just how your children learn best and then you can use that as your cue to planning lessons that are effective and fun!
Side note: Even the most well thought out plans can fail, so don't be too hard on yourself if you plan a great lesson and your child is not interested or has difficutly learning the concepts. We all learn from our mistakes and we make improvements and changes as we go along.
Also, there are a million curriculum options, so you might get overwhelmed. Although, I have found there is no "one size fits all" curriculum for any family. Yet, even though some people spend lots of money and feel obligated to utilize their purchases, it is never too late to throw it out and start fresh. Many families use the framework of the curriculum to get started. but soon learn to add in or take away parts that do not serve them. It's often done with trial and error, but you cannot damage your children if you purchase a curriculum that turns out to be a dud.
Once you are all settled in and start observing your children, you will realize there are many ways to teach and learn. You will start to grow in your confidence and your children will begin to take more ownership of what they are interested in learning about. So, while you are figuring out how your children learn best, it is also wise for you to determine what you need to do your homeschooling job with ease.
Here are some things you might find handy: a calendar, lesson planner, library card, Amazon account, YouTubeKids, Pandora music station, a work space, student materials, teaching materials, and more. Don't forget to also schedule in time for self-care. You want to be relaxed and patient, especially on those days when you question if what you are doing is right or if you have lost your mind.
Trust me again when I say, you decided to homeschool for a reason. Yet, just like life,--not every day will be perfect. However, in the end, it will be one of the most rewarding things you will do for your children and also for yourself.