New to Home Education? Step Five – How to Fail!

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How to fail!  Now, that’s a title bound to discourage rather than help new home education families!  However, we need to discuss the pitfalls that could trick or trap you into questioning your decision to home educate, and point out what we have learned to be truly detrimental to this commitment.

To start, you need a firm foundation upon which to establish your children’s lives.  This comes in two forms.

Whether or not one believes in or realizes this fundamental fact, everyone has a worldview they adhere to and follow in their lives.  This is passed on to the children and it is a critically important factor in your home education plan.  Like it or not, admit it or not, parents are in a position of leadership.  Leadership requires a direction.  It is important that the leader of any agency, especially the family, know where they are leading.  One cannot get to an undefined destination.  Think about where you are going to lead or take your children before embarking on “the trip”.
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New to Home Education? Step Four – More Helpful Thoughts

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I trust that by now you are feeling a bit more comfortable with the choice you made to educate your children at home.  Freedom, you will remember, is having choice and control.  The choice has been made, so now we need to focus on obtaining and keeping control over your home education so you can taste the freedom of unschooling.

Unschooling is best described as not doing what school does and/or doing what school fails to do.  This is not to be confused with un-parenting or being undisciplined, un-structured, un-focussed or with being unreasonable.  Rather, it is simply a matter of establishing your authority regarding the education of your children.  And, as previously mentioned, it is not a step but rather a process that takes time.

Once comfortable with being in control of all things educational, most parents will be on a sort of “learning cruise control” until the children reach puberty, when things really begin to change.
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New to Home Education? Step Three – Learning

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Assuming you have RELAXED by claiming your rightful place as the authority over your children and their education, and hoping you have found a simple yet thorough program to follow such as ACE or CLE, we will now proceed with a few more details to make your home education journey less disconcerting and more exciting.

Let us first review what we have discussed so far:
• RELAX – nothing good is accomplished when panicking.
• Find a program for the interim.  ACE or CLE are both good starter programs.  You may not follow these programs forever, but they will give you a comfortable starting point.
• Memorize the three cardinal rules for home educators:
◦ Don’t Push
◦ Don’t Hold Back
◦ Don’t Compare
◦ … and remind yourself daily to follow these rules.

Most parents want to arrive at the destination before actually departing!  This is understandable, as deciding to do something new is indeed to have a new destination. But nobody arrives right away.  Few families, if any become “overnight unschoolers”!  In fact, IF unschooling is the goal, one must follow a pathway that leads incrementally from “schooling” to “unschooling”.  It goes from school at school to school at home, followed by home schooling which eventually leads to home education which may end at unschooling.  Some people may skip a step or two or move through the transitional steps very quickly, but rarely does anyone jump directly into unschooling.  It is something that develops with time.  Be patient.
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New to Home Education? Step Two – Curriculum

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Undoubtedly, the first concern parents have when just starting to home educate is which program or curriculum will I follow?  This is definitely a carry-over from our school experience, but it is still a legitimate concern that must be quickly addressed.  Let me start with the best advice I can give you; then I will make a few explanations to help put your mind at ease.

Find a reputable, prescribed program that will immediately fill the void you are feeling about where to start.  There are two programs that immediately come to mind: Christian Light Education (CLE) and Accelerated Christian Education (ACE).  Although these are not the only prescribed programs available, they are two of the best known, having been around for a very long time.  Prescribed programs have everything you need, including plans, lessons, answer keys and tests for every subject in every grade.  Best of all, they are mom-friendly.  You can find these programs by going to our web page (, clicking the Program Resources tab and then choosing Program Resources Listing.  They are relatively inexpensive and we have Purchase Order agreements with both agencies.

While some may take issue with the fact that this programming comes from a Christian perspective, it fully meets the immediate need to start somewhere.  There are no programs free from ideology, as there is no such thing as being neutral.

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New to Home Education? Step One? RELAX!

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There is one word that needs to be expressed:  Relax!  I will repeat that: relax!  Once more, repeat it with me: RELAX!

Deciding to do something you have never done, perhaps never even considered, is a bit daunting, to stay the least.  The immediate encouragement I can give you is that you are not alone.  Every new venture comes with anxiety.  Choosing to keep your children at home for the first time is no different. But you can RELAX!

What is usually the cause of anxiety is not knowing, not being sure of or confident about what will take place.  Being ignorant of the what’s, when’s, where’s and how’s of the processes and expectations for home education is certain to cause some anxiety, maybe even fear.  But, RELAX!

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