Home » 6. What are the First Steps of Homeschooling?
The first steps of homeschooling are some of the most important. Here are some of these homeschooling mom's recommended books, authors, and resources.

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MAGGIE: We’ve talked about the different methods of homeschooling. I think we should talk a little bit about some of the books that we have sitting in front of us and why,

CHRISTINA: Okay.

MAGGIE: If you know like, I’ve mentioned two other books that we have read, we read early on.

JUNE: Yeah.

MAGGIE: That don’t happen to be sitting here. So the books we brought are the books that we’ve gone back to year after year.

CHRISTINA: Right.

MAGGIE: And so at the very, very beginning, you know, asking, you know, how do we figure out? This is like, I didn’t know when I picked this up, this is going to be the book I would go back to every time, every day to reset my focus. So there is trial and error in that. And I think that when you decide to bring your children home or to just start homeschooling them from the very beginning, it is a job. Teaching is a job. Full time parenting, is a job. Full time discipleship is a job. I mean, nursing and janitoring and all the things. And those are jobs. And so I think that the first thing you have to do is really acknowledge the fact that this is, this is a commitment you’re making. And as in any other line of work, you are going to learn about what it is that you’re doing. And so you start going to some of these books and fellow, homeschool moms. So if you have different people in your community that you know of, just start talking to them, to ask if they’ll go out to coffee, people have done that with me many times, and they did not always choose to homeschool.

JUNE: Yeah.

MAGGIE: And they did not always choose to homeschool the way that I do it. But I think that’s how you figure out what your version of this is going to work, because you know what your family needs.

CHRISTINA: And it can take some time to figure that out. You might read books, you know about different kinds of homeschooling and glean a little bit from all of them or try one for a while and it doesn’t work and you change your mind and go with something else

MAGGIE: Also I like this, like you were saying, you know, I like this part. What’s my blend going to look like.

JUNE: Yeah.

CHRISTINA: So what would be a good book to start with for a general idea about homeschooling philosophy?

JUNE: I think your book you have.

CHRISTINA: I know this is what I read for the children’s say

JUNE: I think that’s kind of a square one book. I think it’s before you even get to hold.

MAGGIE: I think that you could be right. I think that.

JUNE: Because it’s so philosophy based.

MAGGIE: Yes, so when I looked at this, I haven’t been quiet longer than I normally, but I was reminded very quickly, I mean even just the first four pages, I mean here’s the other thing I want to say. If you can borrow books from people, borrow them, like, don’t feel like you have to go invest a hundred dollars in like or more, you know, in seven different types of homeschooling books. And right off the bat, I’ll also say you’re homeschooling is never going to look exactly like somebody else’s. So don’t think I can go interview Christina, and it’s going to work. Just like she’s done it in my outcome is going to be the same. I mean, I think that’s a real tendency to compare and get yourself locked into an idea.

JUNE: And there will be a spiritual problem with that too.

MAGGIE: Sure.

JUNE: Because God didn’t make my family.

MAGGIE: The same way.

JUNE: He doesn’t need another set of kids so.

MAGGIE: But I will say the first four pages of this book are very, why am I doing this?

CHRISTINA: And what’s that one called?

MAGGIE: Educating the whole hearted child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Sally Clarkson has written many wonderful books about motherhood and, very servant hearted. And it reminds me of a lot of the principles that are in for the children’s sake. You know why am I doing, why am I choosing to do this? And, you know we can’t talk about doing this without a spiritual foundation. So it’s rich with scripture and you know, what are your responsibilities as a Christian parent? And to be even just thinking through some of the questions they pose, no matter what your ultimate decision is, I think it’s just really helpful and like foundational, like, why am I doing this? You know? Cause there are times it’s really hard and you want to check it and it’s really good to go back and say okay, like.

CHRISTINA: Remind yourself.

MAGGIE: Yeah remind myself. if I chose something different, what would I be giving up? And this, I think both of those books paint a really good picture for that.

CHRISTINA: It’s right.

MAGGIE: But this one is more practical like all bunch of how.

JUNE: How to.

MAGGIE: Literally how to.

CHRISTINA: Yeah okay.

MAGGIE; And It’s very, it’s much more, talking about the growth of the development, different methods of teaching. It’s much more kind of like, it’s philosophy and then application.

JUNE: Okay.

CHRISTINA: Yeah. This one would be more philosophy kind of why you’re doing what you’re doing, who is a child? What do they need? This I would say would be more Charlotte Mason, you think?

MAGGIE: Although they, that’s where they put on there. I would love to ask Sally, but.

CHRISTINA: Yeah.

MAGGIE: She, I would say, she drew a lot from Charlotte Mason. So tell us about, Susan Schaeffer.

MAGGIE: Tell us about.

JUNE: Oh, well she talks about.

MAGGIE: who is she?

CHRISTINA: She, why don’t you tell her. She’s the daughter of Francis Schaeffer. She grew up in Europe. She lived, has lived all over the world and educated her own children and set up schools that were based on Charlotte Mason ideas, I think. But, she talks about building an atmosphere in your home of learning, which I just love because education does not happen just between eight and three, you know, it’s how your home works. And, just the books and music and literature that you have available to your children. what your family structure is like as far as like how you spend your time. Spending a lot of time outdoors and in nature and things like that. So she would kind of send you down the Charlotte Mason road. Yeah.

JUNE: I have to say, because I feel like when I was curious about homeschooling I’m like, what do you mean? Who relies on that? so I’m going to, no, I want to say this.

CHRISTINA: Okay.

JUNE: Okay, so you say all that, right?

CHRISTINA: Yeah.

JUNE: So I was the, the gal and I, you know, I think I’m older than you, Christina, yeah. But you have older kids than me. So I came, when I came into your house, I’m looking around, you know, what is Christina doing? And so you have a sunroom and it has books and it had a kid’s kitchen and there are birds outside and you have, I mean it gives me chills, remembering, walking into that for the first time, because it, my heart, the environment was just rich with love for children and the books you always have like if it was a child’s birthday, there were 10 beautiful books about birthdays. And if it was Thanksgiving coming up there, interlibrary loan books from all over, and there’s these gorgeous books, and there’s two doors going to, you know, the outdoors and little ones just in and out into the woods all day. And then there’s a big couch in the next room where a child could curl up with a book. So, you know, these ideas that you read about for the first time, and so for someone like you, your mind just sparked, you’re like, this is what I’m looking for. And then you made it happen. And so your children have grown up in that environment, with these living ideas, with these living books. So anyway, it’s just interesting to me to hear you talk about that and I’m like, all this pictures coming to my head.

CHRISTINA: It really did spark, you know. Spark with me at the beginning. And so I found what worked for us. And like I said, all these different philosophies work better for different families or people with different interests or, you know, how many children do you have? How are you going to make that work practically, all those kind of things. So what are some other go to resources, like the classical learning.

MAGGIE: Before we get off the subject of these two cause I do feel like they kind of sum up where we’ve camped.

JUNE: Yeah.

MAGGIE: The other thing I think both of these do pretty well is discussed the discipleship issue, not issue, discipleship aspect of the decision to homeschool.

JUNE: Yes.

MAGGIE: And you know, I was looking at the back I was flipping in the back of her book, and she’s talking about, just different things that they were reading and the discussions that they were able to have in later years, particularly, this is where I see shades of her father.

CHRISTINA: Yeah.

MAGGIE: You know, that, you know, really that worldview issue of, you know, taking the things of the world and taking every thought captive. And what do we, you know, when we’re reading a book that has some pretty heavy content, not to be afraid of that as Christians, but to look at that and say, so where does, you know, where does that worldview take you, you know. And setting them up for those conversations because of what you’ve created in their early years. I mean, you’re, that environment is leading you somewhere. And, she does this too, you know, talking early on, like in page one, it’s talking, she talks about, how, you know, our children is right for us to be with our children and to walk alongside them and to, I don’t want to necessarily like turn this into a reading session, but it’s just a really good, setting, setting the stage for why are we, why are we choosing this lifestyle and what are we doing? And the other ones that we mentioned before for classical, well trained mind.

CHRISTINA: Which I think that was great for people to read, I gleaned from that.

MAGGIE: I did too. I really did. I would not, know I mean, just because I’m not, I would not call myself a classical educator. I would recommend looking through that book, there’s a lot in there to consider.

JUNE: And it’s given me a great appetite for the books that the classical student is reading.

MAGGIE: Absolutely.

JUNE: But I did not grow up with that whole in my heart. I mean, I think that, you know, this year my kids were studying ancient cultures, Greece and Rome. And so we read the Iliad.

MAGGIE: Right.

JUNE: We read, you know, a version of the Odyssey.

MAGGIE: Right.

JUNE: These classical treasures that, you just don’t want to miss, you know, that have gotten pushed off. So I think when I’ve read these books about classical education, it’s sparked,

CHRISTINA: Right. And I would say to, to feel free to learn alongside your children, you don’t have to have read all these books before. You don’t have to understand it all, you open up the book and you read it out loud and you learn alongside that way. And that really is a huge benefit to them to see you excited about something, learning with them, you do not have to be an expert in classical studies to be able to teach these great books.

JUNE: Yeah.

MAGGIE: And I think that’s another thing that the classical method does really well is the timeline. And I have seen that emphasizing a timeline from creation all the way to modern times. It really does help, especially when, when those two things are lock step with the Bible. It again, like when we were talking about unit studies, it does draw those pieces together. So you suddenly don’t have a fractured, you know, version of secular history and biblical history, but you realize like.

CHRISTINA: What was happening.

MAGGIE: Yes, and these were sometimes one in the same thing.

JUNE: Yes.

MAGGIE: Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, was a book that came out probably 20 ish years ago. And so I think a lot of the classical, Douglas Wilson wrote that.

JUNE: Probably even further back than that.

MAGGIE: Maybe further than back than that.

JUNE: Probably it was early nineties. But, so these two books also were foundational for me. I read them both that sparked, you know, in any of these if we were to reread them, there would be fresh materials. It would be so refreshing.

MAGGIE: Yeah. Yes.

JUNE: This book Better Late Than Early, conference that we all went to, when our kids were young, the speaker there, really drew a lot from the couple, Raymond and Dorothy Moore, who were kind of first generation home schoolers in America. But this book Better Late Than Early, doesn’t read like these, which, I mean, this one is much more poetic. It’s very easy to read. This is very research based, but I had come out of teaching in a school that had a rigorous preschool program with a dynamic preschool teacher. And we had our four and five year olds reading and full day, five day a week, you know, preschool. And, you know, they just, those little ones hit it hard. And that’s why would you wait, when life is so rigorous? You know? And this just put the brakes on that for me. I mean, I think these two books for the children’s sake and the more the research behind this, because, when I was coming up as a young teacher, everything was research driven. I mean, that phrase, it’s like, it’s research driven.

MAGGIE: Yeah.

JUNE: You couldn’t ever just do something based on joy or enjoyment, you know. But this has served me really well because we’ve slowed everything down and we spend a lot more time reading stories and we spent a lot of time getting the discipleship component of our homeschooling going of establishing the family worship time that we still to this day is where everything that’s the hub, right. So we get those components going, but the big things like Math, Phonics, reading, we were setting a foundation for children to have a taste for that, and an excitement of like our family loves reading. Our family loves, numbers, you know, these are exciting things. We’re not putting them off because we think they’re not important. But there was just a time that’s right. And it’s proven by research to be right for that little brain to go, now it’s time to read. And so.

CHRISTINA: It’s very freeing for the parents.

JUNE: It’s so freeing that there’s something else to do with their time right now. It’s not, they’re not just a little empty vessel that you just shove, shove, shove, shove, and.

CHRISTINA: And there are so many important things for three and four year olds to learn.

JUNE: Like this soft feel of their mother’s lap,

CHRISTINA: Just stories and play time and, you know chores, and, I think relaxing on some of the hardcore academic things. It’s just frustrating. I sense frustration in my children. And I was definitely frustrated when I tried to push things too early. So reading that book was very freeing to say.

JUNE: They say, until your child is about eight, you should not be pushing these academic things. And no, I have a little one, our youngest that he decided he was going to learn to read this year. I didn’t hold him back, because I read that book, but our child that struggles with reading, we really didn’t feel pressure or stress. And, so anyway, that was that’s lovely. I mean, I will say ideas and philosophy and worldview drive your homeschooling. And if you’re not reading, if you’re not interested in the ideas that are in books, if you just want to plug your kid into something, you are going to miss the joy that comes from knowing where you’re going. Right.

MAGGIE: And I think I have not thought about relating these two things until right now, but like also like, we’re talking about ourselves as mothers, and I think that just shaping that role for yourself as, as the mother, like when you said that about, you know, the soft feel of your mother’s lap, like, I just feel like our role in our children’s lives is just so different than someone who’s running carpool lines and you know, not, you know, not that I’m not, I really mean it. Like, I know those people in my life who are living a life like that genuinely, love and are invested in their children, but just that homeschooling is going to make your motherhood look different. And I’m looking at some of the other books that you have here. June that really speak to that, like loving the little years. And I don’t think she’s a homeschooler, but she really does.

JUNE: No.

MAGGIE: She’s not.

JUNE: She’s put me in they show on how to. Yes.

MAGGIE: Sally Clarkson’s books are great. The Mission of Motherhood is amazing Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. I mean, just really convicting and, sets up, sets up sort of why, not just why am I educating my child this way? But why am I choosing to spend my role as a mother this way?

JUNE: Yeah.

CHRISTINA: Right.

JUNE: I will just put a plug in for this book. Anthony Esolen, is a writer and an, he teaches at the college level. I think he interpreted Dante.

MAGGIE: He did, yes he did.

JUNE: But so 10 ways to destroy the imagination of your child. When I saw this on my husband’s bedside table, I thought, I don’t know, no I thought I don’t need to read it. I value my child’s imagination. I’ve read these books. What could he have to say? That you know, I don’t already agree with, and he tore me up one side and down the other. I mean, I was just blown away at the way I let culture creep in to my philosophy. And, he’s one of those authors that does that, what he uses so many examples from classic literature in a way that doesn’t, you know, how academic people hold you like this. So like, I know this reference,

CHRISTINA: Yeah.

JUNE: To Dante and you don’t and don’t you feel stupid now? I will reread this. I love it so much because it, you go, Oh, I don’t know this story, but he explains it so beautifully, and he uses it to illustrate how important it is for little boys to know their boys and girls to know their girls and these, all these examples from literature, and you’re like, I’ve got to read all those books.

CHRISTINA: Yeah.

JUNE: I totally culture has crept in. Yeah, it’s extremely convicting book. It’s so wonderful. And it has, definitely. Yes, You just take it.

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