For years, I’ve been collecting homeschooling resources and ideas, knowing that someday I would start homeschooling my own girls. It’s been great to have a huge homeschooling community around us, both on the Island and here in Vancouver. I’ve also found tons of resources from other bloggers. A while ago, I downloaded an ebook from Amazon by Beth Jones called Yes! You Can Homeschool Your First Grader.
This short ebook is packed with tons of encouragement and practical advice on homeschooling Grade 1. In the first chapter, Beth covers a few reasons to homeschool, such as religious preferences and wanting to spend more time with your children (both big reasons for me), as well as specific educational goals and allergies or health concerns.
Like me, Beth was homeschooled from Kindergarden to high school, so she has practical experience both as a homeschool student and a teacher. She says she “enjoyed getting to spend time with my parents, the flexibility to travel during the school year, and the chance to study at my own time and my own pace.” I’d second those reasons, especially the last one; all the spare time I had when I was homeschooling is a big reason that I want to homeschool my daughters.
Beth also covers questions most homeschool moms ask, like “Am I qualified to home school?” (my mom claims she said “I could never homeschool my kids” just the year before she started doing exactly that. Never say never!), “How do I get started?” and “What curriculum should I use?” (because I’d spent years getting ready to homeschool, those weren’t huge questions for me but I still appreciated Beth’s advice).
I liked Beth’s advice about talking with your child about homeschooling too. My parents made that choice for me, but my best friend was able to contribute to her parents’ choice. Beth mentions her son wanted to go to school, but it was because he wanted to ride the bus or get a new backpack. Sunshine has expressed similar wishes to return to school, but I’ve realized it’s because she wants to see her friends—or to have “recess and lunch break.” It’s easy to do that for her and continue homeschooling.
Beth offers practical advice about creating your own curriculum or following a prepared curriculum, and even has a list of curriculum options: Saxon Math (which I used as a child and am now using with Sunshine), BJU Press (which I used as a child as well), Reading Horizons, and more. In the next chapter, Beth gives more ideas for teaching each subject to your child, whether you use curriculum or not. I’m bookmarking this chapter to use with Sunshine!
Beth dedicates a chapter to discussing homeschooling with your child, especially if he or she doesn’t like it. Her son saw the neighbour kids going to school and decided that “school was cool.” For Sunshine, because she went to school for Kindergarten, Grade 1 hasn’t been as fun as Kindergarten was. We’ve had a few discussions about it, including the fact that because she’s homeschooling, she can spend an entire afternoon having a playdate with her homeschooled friends, instead of only having an hour to play after they get home from school.
Beth also talks about homeschooling with younger children, which was a concern for my husband. I took a picture of all three girls sitting at the table doing “school” one morning—Sunshine was actually doing school, Lily was working through a little preschool workbook, and Jade was playing with some of Sunshine’s math manipulatives. In September, I did some work with Sunshine while Jade was still napping. Lily was also in preschool before we moved, which gave me a few months to work one-on-one with Sunshine and adjust to a schooling routine.
Finally, in one of my favourite chapters, Beth talks about “What if homeschooling doesn’t work out?” This chapter literally made me laugh out loud. Beth asks, “Do public school parents have a fallback plan when public education doesn’t work?” I loved homeschooling and know many other happy, successful homeschoolers. My husband and I always talk about making the right choice for the child, but I’ve never really worried that homeschooling wouldn’t work or that I was giving my daughter an inferior option by keeping her at home.
If you have questions about homeschooling or are jumping into first grade, I highly recommend Beth’s book Yes! You Can Homeschool Your First Grader.
“Parents have homeschooled their children for years and years and those kids managed to turn out okay [or great!]. Yes, there will always be a horror story of a child who was homeschooled who developed social anxiety [or other issues], but there are also just as many, if not more, stories about children who attended public school and developed those same problems.” ~ Beth Jones
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I downloaded my copy for free from Amazon.