Now that you have written out your mission statement (if you have not yet, that's OK, just keep working on it), I want you to really take a good look at it and see where you stand.
If you have a lot character training and relationship creating in your statement then you have a big focus on family and relationships and you may be able to teach more relaxed than you thought.
If you have lot of emphasis on education and degrees in your statement, then you may do better with a pre-made formal curriculum.
You may be somewhere in the middle of these two and that is OK. That is probably where most of us are.
Now I want you to list the grades that your children are in and what you want them to learn this year.
After you have your list, label them with a 1, 2, or 3 for 1st priority to third.
If an item on your list has a one by it, then you need to make sure that you do these things this year. I want you to decide how you want to teach this to your children.
For example, if you have a kindergartner and you want them to learn to recognize their letters, you may choose a phonics workbook and flashcards or you may choose to make a game out of this. You may place letters on the floor and play "Hop to the " " letter. You may place letters on the wall and play "Pin the tail on the letter". You may listen to phonics tapes out loud and sing songs. You may let them outline their numbers in macaroni and glitter; the ideas are endless, but the stress comes from NOT knowing what you want to teach and how you want to teach it.
If you have an older child, the process is still the same. List what you want them to learn this year and a few ideas of how. Especially if you have older kids, they may be able to add their input and take some initiative in their learning.
Be sure that you don't list too many things that you don't leave any room for spontaneity. Part of the fun of home schooling is having the freedom to explore what you are interested in and having more time to delve into those things interesting to you.
Pick the key things and then let the mood strike you on the rest.
This way you know you will cover the basics and the most important things, but still have the freedom to explore.
After you have all of your items listed, take a look and see if there are any things on your list that you could combine between more than one child. If you have children close in age, you could combine their lessons and take a lot of stress off of yourself.
The more you can teach them all together the better.
History and science lend themselves to this very well.
You may not be able to do this on every subject but any that you can will be helpful.
OK, so now that you have a good idea of what and how, it is time to look into some of the different methods of home schooling.
If you really prefer the textbook approach, I recommend Bob Jones for a good curriculum that you can get all of your lessons from.
If you are not afraid of mixing and matching curriculum's, you can really get a good variety of books.
I highly recommend Apologia elementary series for science, Christian Liberty press for history, A Child's Geography for geography, Easy Grammar for grammar, Writing Strands for writing, and Bob Jones for math.
I also like The Mystery of History.
Just Google all of these to find out more info on them. The reason I like most of these so well is that they take a textbook approach but use a Charlotte Mason approach as well. For example, Apologia, you would read your lesson, and ask the child to narrate back to you what they just read/heard. There would be hands on activities to go along with the lesson and your children would notebook what they learned instead of the typical Q and A approach.
If you are more relaxed or would like to be, you could do a lot of your learning from Living Books.
You can learn almost everything you want to learn through a good living book.
Just think about how you learn. Your children learn the same way.
You may want to try a Unit Study approach. To do this you would pick one topic and all of your subjects would stem from that topic.
For example, trains; if you picked trains, you would read books about trains, how they are made, how they are useful, who invented the train, what different types of trains there are, etc...You would take your spelling words and vocabulary words from your reading. Pick words that have to do with some aspect of trains. You could have your children write a report on some aspect of trains, or if your children are younger, they could draw a pictures and do some copy work about trains.
You can learn the history of trains, when they came about , who invented them, the science of how they are made, etc.. The possibilities are endless.
You would still need to supplement math, however.
There are a lot of different methods out there. I will try to go into more detail on some of these methods in the time to come, but for now, I will give you some information to research yourself.
There is too much for me to possibly cover.
Google Charlotte Mason or look up home schooling with the Charlotte Mason method. A great book for this is A Charlotte mason Companion. Cindy Rushton has a book and audio on this also. www.cindyrushton.com
Look up notebooking and lapbooking. Cindy Rushton also has seminars on these topics. She has been very valuable to me and my home school.
Cathy Duffeys top 100 picks home school curriculum book is very valuable for helping you decide which curriculum's you may like to try.
Try to read The Heart of Home schooling by Christopher Klicka. This is a great book. There are many good books out there on home schooling and you need to do some research to find out what suits you best.
If you are anything like me, you will be a mixture of several of these methods.
Take this time to do some research, keeping in mind your mission statement. It will help you in deciding which approach to use.
Cindy Rushton has and audio, and a book I think, on Creating Your Own Philosophy of Education. www.cindyrushton.com
For a little while just delve into all of the options ot there and get excited and inspired, and please try not to get overwhelmed. Remember, you do not have to do it all!
Enjoy your research time and I will be back soon!
P.S. If you want to make sure your kids are still learning during this process, just get out some good books and read away and learn to play some education games!!! You will learn more as you go.