When we started homeschooling in 1990, we made our final decision in August. I certainly didn’t have much time to plan. My friend, who homeschooled her child each summer before he did that grade in public school in the fall, loaned me all of his textbooks. (Let’s all sigh a big sigh of pity for what that child missed in the summer.) These she had purchased from a homeschool curriculum supplier (whom I shall leave unnamed) which had long provided curriculum for missionaries. More about that tomorrow . . .
We hung a bulletin board, got an American flag to pledge to, and put three desks in half of our partially-finished den in the basement.
That’s how I got ready for school in 1990. I can’t put my finger on a school photograph from 1990 easily at the moment, but here is a photo from a school day in 1991. As you can see, we were already learning to loosen up a bit.
If I were starting a new school year twenty-five years after we first started, I would:
- Try to make wise choices from the amazing array of curriculum available. I would choose curriculum that I could use with a variety of ages, that combines subjects, and that I believed our children would enjoy.
- Read the introduction to each curriculum I planned to use this year, so I was sure I understood how to use it.
- Take at least one more whole day to have fun with the children before “school” starts.
- Get away for a few hours or a day, if possible, to do something fun with my husband or with a girlfriend.
- Choose my first read-aloud for the year.
- Organize our art supplies and the curriculum we plan to use this year.
- Catch up on the laundry
- Wash the dishes and straighten the house.
- Clean out and organize the refrigerator and prepare some ingredients to make-meal making easier. Every family’s tastes are different, but for me that would mean making chicken salad, mixing together some peanut butter and honey, grating cheese, chopping some onions, grating carrots, making a big-ish batch of homemade salad dressing and a batch of vegetable dip, browning some ground beef, and things like that. I know things are more nutritious if they are cut when used, but it’s also more nutritious to pull out pre-prepared ingredients than to grab hot dogs and chips because I don’t have anything else prepared.
- Pray that God would make ready my heart and the hearts of our children.
I am confident that most Christian women have felt discouraged at some point in their lives after reading the description of the noble woman in Proverbs 31. However, if we step back a minute and summarize what this woman does, it can be summed up in the word prepared. Her family’s food is ready. Her family’s clothes are ready. You might even say that her character is ready for the responsibilities she has. I encourage you to balance both parts of the compound word that defines so much of what you are about to take on for the next school year: homeschool. Whenever you plan to start your school year, it’s okay to wait an extra week so you can feel more prepared in both home and school. Then your family can look at you and say:
And she smiles at the future.