I want to encourage you, if you are in the first years of Homeschooling or considering it, that you can do it! Look at all you’ve taught your child(ren) already.
Everything they know, they learned from you. You’ve been Homeschooling since the day they were born. How have you done it? By prayer, by learning as you did it. By counsel from trusted advisors. By trial and error. You went out and got the training, information, knowledge for how to do something or how to teach your child something, *when you needed it*! That’s how you Homeschool.
God gave you every skill you need to Homeschool, when He made you a mom or dad. He gave you the responsibility to raise your children. He gives you the wisdom and ability to do what He gives you to do. Trust Him. He won’t let you down.
Teaching the 3R’s are the only thing that’s important in the early years. Teaching phonics and reading, which is fun–making your child a lover of books–is the one thing you will do that will unlock all other areas of learning. But do it in your child’s timing. Each child has their own timetable.
We played with wooden blocks that had letters on them. I probably got them at an antique store or a thrift store. I would say the sound that the letter made while we played. Then, as they were able to make the sounds correctly, I moved on to putting sounds (blocks) together, until I had words, like cat, or mom, and they could repeat the sounds back to me.
Then later I would print really short sentences down for them to read. It was playing, not school. No desk, no curriculum. I tried and failed miserably(!) at trying to make my little guy sit at a desk and do school. Don’t try to bring the public schoolroom home!
As Homeschooling has taken off, one of the good/bad things is that there are so many more options and choices of curriculum. You can so easily get overwhelmed. The benefits of Homeschooling include lots of time together. Don’t get tricked into thinking that you’ve got to have a certain curriculum, (and if you choose the wrong one, your kids will be ruined).
Can I let you in on a little secret? Every Homeschooler does it differently. Actually, every Homeschooled kid has a different education, even in the same family. And you’re going to make “mistakes” just like I did. When you’re graduating your kids and even beyond, you’re going to *know* it was by God’s grace that you did it.
Read up and study all you can about the “tools of your trade”, but follow Godly people’s example. Get to know what’s out there, but don’t feel you have to use it. Listen to advice that is Biblical. Be on your knees daily, talk things over with your husband, and ask his counsel, trust the Lord to give you wisdom.
Finally, two things: Know each of your children’s learning styles, and your learning/teaching style. Study how to teach to their style. (Using all the senses in learning is how we all learn best.) Secondly, I recommend Ruth Beechick’s three little books (you can get them all in one book or individually) for moms of preschoolers (and K-3rd).
Also, read this fantastic article entitled Preparing Your Toddler for Homeschool over at Timberdoodle!