Beginning the homeschooling journey

As moms, we know there is a lot to consider when it comes to our childrens' education. Here's how writer Kristen processed this information and came to the decision to homeschool her kids.

By Kristen Winiarski

Parenting

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Before having kids, I never gave much thought to how they would learn.

I grew up attending public school, but my best friend was homeschooled. I got to see both perspectives but assumed that my kids would follow in my own footsteps and attend public school. Things changed when I actually had kids because of the new feelings that came along with motherhood, the different world, and the addition of my husband’s perspective.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to become a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom. The thought of putting her into daycare at three months old felt wrong, so I shifted focus and figured out a way to stay home with her. I wanted her so much and couldn’t deal with the idea of being away from her for a job that was just okay at the time. Once she reached school age, things were still a bit sketchy in the aftermath of Covid, so deciding to homeschool her for kindergarten was an easy decision at that point.

Another factor in the decision to homeschool was that my husband was homeschooled and against the idea of public school. Since I was home with my 2-year-old son at the time anyway, schooling my daughter at home made sense. Plus, I love the flexibility that it offers since they can get out some energy by running around and getting a snack when they need it.

 

Getting started

It was also pretty easy that first year because you don’t need to file any paperwork in Wisconsin until first grade. I took a friend’s suggestion for kindergarten curriculum, although we did the parts we liked the best and not some of the other pieces. I began by searching for requirements in my state and started with the Home School Legal Defense Association or HSLDA. This site is helpful and lists each state’s hour and age requirements, so you can see what numbers you need to hit.

From there, I found a great group on Facebook for questions, support, and information about my state. I’m also learning more about how my daughter learns, and for first grade, I’m going to combine a few elements, including a purchased curriculum, computer programs, and fun workbooks. Mixing things up to keep her attention, while also ensuring she eats plenty of food seems to be the key.

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How it’s going so far

As I’m only a year into this journey with my daughter, I’m sure things will shift and adjust as we go along, and as my son joins in a more formal capacity when he gets older. They learn together now, but just at different levels, and it can be hard to balance them sometimes. Trying to fit everything in is proving to be a challenge between work, their school, and things around the house.

To manage it all, I’ve realized I need to keep my work projects from getting too time-consuming, keep the TV off during the day (which I’ll admit, my husband warned me about repeatedly), and keep a loose schedule. I’m well aware that making a 6 and 3-year-old sit for any long periods of time won’t work, so we’re going to do plenty of playtime and time outside in between other things.




Managing the household while homeschooling

As for the house cleaning and cooking, I’ll make those chores part of it all too. There are lessons to be found in measuring ingredients and completing extra chores to earn money. To prepare for the upcoming school year, I’m working on getting these things in place during the summer and forming good habits before starting back up.

Homeschooling is a work-in-progress, but being able to focus on what my kids are interested in and give them the attention they crave will be a beneficial and rewarding journey for us all.

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