Dear New Homeschool Parent,

You’ve taken the leap. You didn’t send your kid or kids back to school in September. You watched the ‘first day’ come and go, and you didn’t send them. You are now a homeschooler. Don’t panic.

DSC06478Relax. You all can now. You and your kids.

Pan out the camera lense with me and try to get a larger picture. School causes hyper-focus. It requires that you to look at daily lessons, homework packets that are due tomorrow, papers that need signed now, terms that have ending dates and periods and bells to mark them. The rush is over.

DSC06489Even if you live in a state with tight homeschool regulations, you can take baby steps. You do not have to have a curriculum in full swing by Monday morning that covers everything from Gym and Geometry. Relax.

If this is your first experience outside of traditional school, try deschooling. It will help you and your psyche and your kids understand the level of freedom you have acquired. Play boards games all day – all week for that matter. Go to movies at noon. Visit every museum you can get to. Read lots of ‘unrequired’ books. Take a road trip, or a day trip or hike. Build stuff, bake stuff or go see plays. Whatever your kids love to do – do it for a loooooooong time.

DSC06300Get out and meet some other homeschoolers. In our age of connectivity, it’s easy to find people in your area via facebook, meet-up groups, homeschool groups, churches, community activities and lots of other ways. You will find people who homeschool for varied reasons and in endless ways. Watch them.

I was fascinated when I first met people doing things that there were interesting, fun and exciting. I loved finding people who were living and educating their children in really unorthodox ways. I gravitated toward anyone who was happy and having a great time along side their children. I emulated much of what I saw them doing and it was a good fit for me and my boys. You will also find that ‘good fit’. Don’t let it be re-creating a classroom at home – that is short changing yourselves and the amazing opportunity you have embarked on. Find some inspiration and go against the grain.

Catch up on sleep. It’s a real need that some people have neglected for many years. Let your kids catch up as well.

Go walk around your neighborhood, local parks, walk to the convenience store for slurpees. Let the message sink in. You’ve left ‘the system’. You don’t have to work within four walls and ringing bells.

Read about other homeschoolers via blogs or books and wait to you feel the ripples that resonate the most with you. Something will. You will find your way, your path.

Please believe me that you can relax now. There is truly nothing that has to get done right here, right now, at this instant or it will ruin your childrens’ education forever.

Except for believing THAT.

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Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. 
~  William
Butler Yeats 

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