Just starting out:
I am very passionate about homeschooling and am excited to hear that you are considering it!! First, I want to recommend a book for you to read. It's THE BEST BOOK you could possible read on homeschooling in my opinion. It covers just about every question you could have. From stereotypes people believe, to how to defend your decision to others who think you're silly for homeschooling, to where to start with what curriculum to get.... Different teaching/learning styles.... Lists of really good literature to read with them. It's GREAT and literally covers everything!! It's called Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1932012958/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1359642223&sr=8-1&pi=SL75
I would start there. And you can also look into the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. It's what we do and I truly believe is the BEST way to homeschool. I think that www.amblesideonline.com might be a free curriculum guide (not sure) but I've heard good things about it. We use www.simplycharlottemason.com and it is a free curriculum guide. Just search around that website. It'll recommend the curriculums/books and ages to start everything. Reading good, richly worded books are very important also. You want to read above their level. It'll help them to learn new vocabulary. Charlotte Mason called the dumb down books "twaddle" for example... "see spot run, he had fun" would be "twaddle" you want to stay away from that. Because they don't benefit anything from that. It doesn't paint a picture in their imagination. Anyways, the book list is good that is on simply Charlotte mason. Also there is a good one in the book I recommended. Sally Clarkson, is GREAT!! You will really like the book. Above all right now, read read read to your kids. It is so important at their age. Let them explore outside. Encourage their imagination. If you don't have a lot of books, go to the library. They are free lol. And I order a lot of books off of www.youronlinebookstore.com and www.thriftbooks.com they are both free shipping and sell used books. No more than $4!! Also, look into five in a row. I think it's www.fiarhq.com it's a full curriculum in itself. It uses really good books and you learn about different things just from the stories you read. But definitely try the simply Charlotte mason website. And I strongly recommend All About Reading and All About Spelling for your reading/spelling and Math U See for your math. You can google those for the site. Above all, you want to make "school" fun. The joy of homeschooling it that you can do it they way YOU want to do it. Learning is not confined to a desk as we were taught by going to public school. Make it fun. Do hands on stuff. Throw out the idea of sitting out and doing book work. Encourage her to WANT to learn new things. If she asks you a question about something, stop what you are doing and go look in up. Research it with her. The main goal isn't to have a really smart kid (of course that is nice lol) but to cultivate a love of learning so that whenever they need to know something or want to know something they will be encouraged to look into it and find out themselves when they are older. And READ READ READ to them. Also, they have a homeschool convention in the woodlands August 1-3!! It's free for you since she is so young and you are just starting. It helped me SO MUCH when I was just starting out. Google Texas Home School Coalition. Or Texas homeschool family convention.
How much does it cost to homeschool? :
It completely depends on what curriculum you choose. I kind of piece mine together. I spent between $600-$800 for this school year. (I used some of our income tax) But I got a TON of stuff that I didn't HAVE TO HAVE but wanted... And had the extra money to splurge. Like extra books and quite a lot of puzzles and manipulatives and things. (i have a 6yr old, a 3 year old and a 20 month old) You can homeschool pretty cheaply actually. And most of your stuff you can reuse for future children. You might just have to buy an extra workbook when their sibling starts school. For preschool there are tons of cheap/free curriculums you can do. www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com and www.homeschoolcreations.com and www.mamajenn.com just to name a few. Tons of free printables. Plus you have the library for your source of literature. I buy all of my books used (in like new condition) for CHEAP!! Also don't hesitate to ask for learning games/manipulatives/puzzles for birthdays and Christmas!! It doesn't sound very fun, but I have an entire school room full of awesome things that the kids enjoy playing with that is educational!! If you look into it, you can homeschool for very little cost. Look at a group called homeschool for free... Or something like that on Facebook they might have some recommendations. Also, you can google that phrase and it'll bring up blog articles that people have written on the subject. To give you an idea, my daughter's curriculum roughly:
Math- $65 (and we reused the $35 manipulative block set from kindergarten)
Spelling-$30 (and we reused our manipulative set from last year that was $30)
Character Building book (talked about different biblical virtues) $10
Science was between $10-$20 (can't remember without looking it up)
History/geography $15 I think
Classical music study- we use the CD that came in my son's preschool program
My son's preschool program was $60 I believe. It's from My Father's World google that for the website. I also use All About Reading Pre-Level 1 with him which was pricey... Around $100 I think. But I LOOOOVE the upper levels we have done with my daughter. It is THE BEST reading/spelling program!! I use both of those curriculums together and will do so over the next two years. We wasn't even three when we started. So I'm not rushing anything. But that gives you a good idea of $$$. You can pretty much use library books for every other subject other than math/reading/spelling. Spend your money on getting those good solid curriculums and use the library for everything else 😊
I also do hair on the side and sell bows/dresses/crafty things I make to earn extra money to buy extra things. But like I said, I almost never but new books. Find cheap used books websites that offer free shipping. They sell "like new" condition books all the way down to just "fair" condition. Aside from Amazon, I normally don't pay more than $3.99 for my books. But again, the library is a great resource that is FREE!
How long does it take each day to homeschool? :
For preschool... No more than an hour. And you can break that up. Don't spend more than 20 mins on a subject. You will lose them after that and the idea is to make learning FUN!! If they dread "school" at this early of an age, if will be a nightmare the rest of the way. You want them to be a motivated learner. Follow your child's cues. If he/she isn't digging the let's sit down and write our alphabet time, then come back to it when they are ready. When I had my third child, I had 3 kids 4yrs and under. My third child is now 20 months and LITERALLY THE BUSIEST CHILD EVER!! I know every mom says that... But if you could only see this child... Lol. I just used their nap times to do school with Sailor (my oldest). Now that they are older (6,3,20m) it takes just about all day. But I am doing Kindetgarten and first grade work with Sailor who can read, but not well enough yet to do stuff on her own. And I do preschool with Casen and I chase Avenly around picking up puzzles that are only a quarter of the way done because the girl doesn't sit still long enough to even focus on what she has in front of her... She's plotting her next adventure/destruction/victim 😉
This year is most definitely my hardest because of their ages and because Avenly (20m) is CRAAAAAZAAAAY into everything!!! And she is recently potty trained on top of that so it's back and forth to the potty frequently. So it takes us just about all day. But that includes breakfast, snacks, lunches nap times, teaching/training/disciplining, tantrums/meltdowns, chores/cleaning... Some days we don't get as much done and other days we get a ton done. I follow their cues... We don't have anywhere else better to be/anything else better to do. I don't rush it. They are only this young once. We have fun learning. It's my job to teach/train/raise them and it's their job to learn. It's what they do best. If you didn't formally teach them a thing, ever, they would still learn just from book exposer and conversation. Just like you don't have to teach a baby to talk. They do it naturally. My advice is to fit "school" in where you can right now. But don't sit her down and say, come here, were going to do "school". Just say, hey let's do this activity... Weather it's a puzzle, coloring, reading a book, going outside and paying attention to nature, tracing her letters. Whatever. School doesn't have to be sitting for 8 hours in a desk doing book work. And in my opinion it shouldn't be. All children up to age 8 are completely hands on learners. They do TERRIBLY with sitting in a desk for any length of time. Which is why SO MANY kids are labeled ADD/ADHD. It's just not their learning style. But when forced to, they crumble, hate school and get put on a bunch of unneeded medications. My point is, throw out everything you think "school" is. Because when you think school... Sitting in a classroom at a desk all day is the first thing that comes to mind. There are a ton a teachable moments through out your day. Just follow her cues... Don't spend more than 20 mins on a subject and at this stage in your life, with a newborn, fit it in where you can. Use nap times to work with her 😊
I'll add to this list of questions as they come.
Also, just FYI. I'm not the perfect wife and mother. I'm not the perfect homeschooler. I'm a sinner. Saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I'm ashamed to admit I lose my temper almost daily. It's something I'm working on with God's help. Life is hard right now. I don't get a lot of sleep. I have a little man in the house that has meltdowns like none other and a toddler that swings from the ceiling fans. I don't want to paint this idealistic picture for everyone that isn't true. Life is hard. Life is hectic. But when isn't it? Homeschooling is hard. But it's WORTH IT!! To know that I raise my children. To know that I teach and train my children in the truth and love of Christ. It's is hard. Yes. But I stop and remember, my children are healthy, I have a husband who loves and supports me. I have salvation in Christ. What more could I want. In the end, when I feel like I'm going to lose it, when I feel like I'm about to have a meltdown because I've asked Sailor to complete her math page 10 times and Casen is throwing a fit because he wants a drink and didn't realize his drink in on the table because he couldn't hear me tell him where it was because he's screaming so loud, all the while Avenly is playing in the toilet... I say I myself CHOOSE JOY. This is what daily life looks like for us. But it's what I'm passionate about. Being there for those little moments when my son can tell me that I'm a "good girl" because I baked him yummy cookies. And being there when my daughter reads her first book. And knowing that I DID THAT!! I taught my child to read. And being there when my tiny little Birdie picks up my Bible and says "Bye-bow" for the first time. Being there to serve them in the love of Christ. It makes all the hectic days worth while.
Also be sure to check out my friend's blog www.ahomesteadjourney.blogspot.com She has a ton more info on homeschooling :) She's a beautiful picture of the Proverbs 31 woman. She has 9 gorgeous children, two sets of twins (I know, FUN right?!) and owns her own crafty business!! Yeah, she's the bomb!! Tell her I sent you :)