A few weeks ago,  my wife and I attended the Iowa state homeschool conference in Des Moines.  Our oldest is headed into kindergarten this year and we’re planning on homeschooling. My wife was homeschooled, so it was kind of a natural choice for her. And I just needed to be edumacated on how this whole thing works.  Going to a conference can sometimes feel like going to school (sitting in a chair for hours, listening to someone lecture), but I did learn a few great things.

1. You won’t permanently screw up your kids: you already parent them, how much worse can it get? It’s easy to get intimidated with the task of teaching your children, but then you realize you’re already teaching them stuff every day about life, which is really the important stuff anyway.

2. Each kid is different, so don’t expect them all to learn the same way. Each of your kids will probably gravitate to different things. One may be artsy, while another is an engineer. One will learn through hands on experiments, some will read a ton and learn that way. And that’s ok.  You can craft their learning experience to fit them and watch them flourish.

3. There’s a lot of curriculum out there. Pick what you think will work. If it doesn’t, try another one!  Seriously, there are so many books out there, and so many theories and ideas on how to go about teaching. My wife did the research and found one she liked, but even after going to the conference, she couldn’t help but wonder, “Did I pick the right one?” I had to remind her that just like the way your kids learn, there’s no “wrong” curriculum (unless it teaches something that’s not true.) The key is pick something, commit to it, and see how it works.  Just like a science experiement, you see what the results are. If you like them, you keep going. If not, make a change.

Anyway it goes, I know my wife and I are in for an exciting ride.  We’re just starting with child 1, so who knows what it’ll be like when all 3 are doing school at the same time.  All I know is that I’m looking forward to being those teachers I had as a kid who handed out the tests and then sat back and read for the period. It’s going to be good to be the teacher.

(Image via Flickr user jimmiehomeschoolmom)

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