HOMESCHOOLING QUESTION OF THE MONTH
HOW DO I MAKE SURE THAT MY CHILD HAS COVERED THE BASIS SO SHE WILL BE ABLE TO ATTEND COLLEGE?
Q: I have just started homeschooling my 5th grader, and I want to be sure that I am doing all I need to so that she will be able to attend college. I am so overwhelmed right now with just the basics, that I am afraid I will leave some big gaps. We do plan to home school for several years, hopefully all the way through high school, and I need some help. I feel like I need a mentor who can check in with me every week or so and make sure that I am on track.
Overwhelmed and worried mom
A: Dear OWM,
Thanks for your inquiry and welcome to the world of home education. You are definitely not alone in feeling overwhelmed, especially taking an older child out of school.
Let me address the last question first–feeling like you need a mentor.
During the first year, there are many new things that you will need to do and learn. You are probably re-establishing some equilibrium with your daughter, since the family dynamics have now changed. Not only is she there with you all the time (no relief for either of you during the school hours), but you are now solely responsible for many of the things that happened at school–instructor for all the subjects, curriculum manager and lesson planner, social director, disciplinarian, counselor, encourager, assessor of skills, abilities and interests, promoter of quality school work, citizenship builder—to name a few.
In addition, you still need to carry on the regular household responsibilities (house cleaner, meal fixer, chauffeur, activity scheduler, care of other family members etc.).
One of the services that I offer is personal mentoring and consultation. If you live in the Phoenix area, I can meet with you personally and help you work through the different aspects of homeschooling about which you have questions and concerns. If you are not local, I can set up phone consultation time with you. This can be a one-time session, or can be extended for as long as you have questions.
I also offer various workshops each month that will be very relevant to your needs. On June 25, I will be in Anthem, Arizona discussing Getting Started in Home Education. This in itself will alleviate many of your concerns and give you much encouragement. I highly recommend that you attend.
Since you asked about college, I have another workshop in Phoenix on June 16, Homeschooling a High Schooler? What to do about College Prep?. Even though your daughter is only 5th grade, it is not too early at all to look ahead and see what you will be building towards. Both workshops are free to attend, and will be perfect for the journey that you are beginning.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.
- If traditional school has been a stressful place for your daughter, allow some time to de-stress. Spend the summer doing fun things with her, exploring her interests, building your relationship in some new and deeper ways. She needs to know that you are there for her, and that you are fun to be around.
- One great way to get your feet wet with some “light homeschooling” is to do a unit study on something that really excites your daughter, such as horses or ice skating, for example. Let her get books from the library with a variety of horse themes (factual care for horses, novels about horses, picture books about the breeds). Find someone who has a horse and see if you can volunteer cleaning the stable and learning in exchange for some riding time. This will whet her appetite for learning and will create a wonderful bond between you.
- I am doing a workshop in July on Unit Studies in Phoenix, and have a wealth of information to share.
- Find out about curriculum BEFORE going to the homeschool convention in July. (I can help with that!) Otherwise, you are inviting frustration and being overwhelmed on a big scale! There are so many great materials, and the vendors will all convince you that their books are the absolute best!
- Get connected with a support group. Many of them don’t meet over the summer, but often have an email chat group so that you can get to know people a little that way. (I can give you some suggestions on support groups as well.)
- Relax (just a little!) You have time to fit everything in, and your goal in part is to guide your child into knowing how to learn for herself. You don’t have to be the one who knows everything. There are LOTS of resources available to make your life easier and give you the kind of assistance that you need, and I am here to help you along the way
I would love to talk with you more and walk with you through some of these obstacles so that you can get a really strong start. Drop me an email with your phone number, and I will give you a call to see how I can be of assistance.