Spotlight on the Crew — Four Babysteps to Homeschooling

{This week’s Spotlight on the Crew article is brought to you from Camille, at Growing Up Gabel.}

If you want “expert” advice on homeschooling, I am not the person to ask! We’ve been officially homeschooling for about two and a half weeks now.  Leading up to this year, however, I started what I referred to as “babysteps” towards homeschooling.  As I’m not one to be unprepared, I spent an entire year simply getting ready to homeschool.  I know a lot of parents don’t have that luxury, but since I was starting with my very first child in her very first school experience, I was able to slowly work my way up to our first official year of homeschooling.

Babystep #1: Wait

Waiting is one of the hardest parts of parenting, but I see so many kid rushed in to school, social activities, classes, etc.   My daughter has a July birthday, which means that technically she could have started school the August after she turned five.  Every fiber in me told me not to start schooling her.  Instead, I decided to try a free on-line pre-school curriculum.  It was a total disaster.  She was just not ready, yet.  Fast forward a year and my newly minted 6 year old is cruising through our Kindergarten curriculim lessons with ease.  In fact, I  think I may end up starting a 1st grade curriculum before our school year is through. I am so grateful that I waited!


Babystep #2: Research

There is no reason while you are waiting for your little one to be ready that you can’t research.  During the year my daughter was five, I spent almost all my free time researching homeschooling.  I read books, spent inordinate amounts of time on-line, joined homeschool groups (yup, they even take pre-homeschoolers!), and talked to any homeschool parent I could find.  I found a mentor and she has been a tremendous help and encourager.    While using the free pre-school curriculum, I learned pretty quickly that while there is a lot of free homeschool materials on-line, I needed more guidance and wanted to purchase a curriculum.  So I also spent a lot of time price- comparing curriculum. I knew we’d have a limited budget so I wanted to make sure to get the best deal I could find.


Babystep #3: Be Flexible

In my research on homeschooling, I learned about the different styles of homeschooling like Charlotte Mason, Classical, and so on.  I also read about unschooling and decided I was completely against that form of homeschooling.   But in the last year my daughter has learned her entire alphabet, all of her numbers, can read a few words and do simple addition in her head and I didn’t purposely teach her any of those.  We didn’t do one single lesson.  We did end up getting a butterfly kit because she learned about butterflies on “Cat in the Hat” on TV and now we are all experts on butterflies!  Unschooling doesn’t seem so crazy to me anymore.  Go with what works for you and your kids even if it’s not exactly what you had planned.


Babystep #4:  Just Do It!

I hate to be cliché, but at some point, you just have to go for it.  As spring started creeping up and then summer, I began to panic because I still hadn’t decided on a curriculum.  The choices that are available now to homeschooling families is nothing short of astronomical.  I just finished reading Tim Tebow’s book and he talks about how his mom had such a hard time getting curriculum when she started homeschooling in the 80’s.  I think today we have the opposite problem – there are so many amazing resources that it can be overwhelming to choose.  Pick one that’s in your budget and go!  I ended up choosing a curriculum that included phonics and math without any extra cost.  So far, all two and a half weeks, it’s been great and I think I made the right choice.  But if not, we’ll adapt and go from there.  That is, after all, one of the beauties of homeschooling!


Camille Gabel is a homeschooling mom living in Las Vegas, NV.  Camille blogs at Growing Up Gabel  – a family friendly blog dedicated to helping you raise a family in a natural and organic way.  She also writes about homeschooling, crafting, cooking and all kinds of DIY projects.



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