I would like to share just a few pieces of homeschooling advice with you. A few things that I wish someone would have shared with me back in the summer of 2007 when we started our homeschooling journey.
First bit of advice: just start the journey.
...if you have the tiniest inkling of a thought that you want to homeschool or the slightest tug at your heart that you want to homeschool. Do it.
Know it will be hard. Know it will be different. Know it will cause family friction. Know, even four and a half years into your journey, that there will be some days that you look at the big yellow bus with envy.
Do it anyway.
Having a relationship with your children, spending time with your children, and accomplishing with your children is worth the hard days. Worth being different. Worth the family friction (which goes away once your family sees the fruit). And as quick as the thought of putting your kids on the bus comes...it goes.
Second bit of advice: do not label your homeschool.
...do not claim a method. Do not claim a learning style. Do not claim a curriculum. Because as soon as you do, things will change.
Method does not matter. What matters is that you're spending time with your child, teaching them, and they are learning.
Learning style does matter (a little, not as much as they say)...but, from what I can see, learning styles fluctuate with subject material. Know how your child learns, and do your best to use your materials accordingly.
Curriculum does not matter. I repeat, curriculum does not matter. You can tweak ANY curriculum to suit ANY method/learning style (which you are not claiming anyway). ***this statement alone is my BIG reminder, as I flip out about History for next year!***
*If you are a large family I do recommend you buy non-consumable materials to save money.*
Third bit of advice: do not feel you must join a support/co-op group. or attend a convention/fair. or read all the books on homeschooling that have ever been published.
...I actually did this from the beginning.
We've never, in four years, been a part of a group. Thankfully. The compare game would have probably gotten the best of me. "Our curriculum is top notch." "Our Little Suzy is only six, but in 5th grade." (we do, however, know and enjoy the company of a few other homeschooling families)
I have also never been to a homeschool convention/curriculum fair. There is already an overwhelming amount of info on homeschooling to be had online and through snail mail. I would have outright heart failure and homeschool mom sensory overload upon walking in to such a fair.
I've read a handful of homeschooling books, a few gems, but most just push their own curriculum or homeschool style. There is no perfect curriculum, and thinking that your homeschool can look exactly like some other family's homeschool is just absurd.
We've spent the first few years of our homeschooling journey paving our own homeschool road. It looks like no other family's we know. But it's us. It works. Everyone is thriving.
Now that we see OUR ROAD clearly...we are thinking of joining an area homeschool group for fun (not academics)...I'm still on the fence about a convention (probably not)...and I've tried a few homeschool books (borrowed) in the last month, and can't get past the first few chapters, because I just know that the author is not talking about us.
Fourth bit of advice: live life first. homeschool second. keep plugging away at academics.
...take days/weeks/months off when you need to. Sometimes school just won't get done when there are doctor appointments or grocery trips. Sometimes everyone just needs a vacation (to nowhere). Sometimes a new baby comes along.
School year round. All day. Don't try to fit it into nine months. Or 180 days. Or 4.5 hours.
Enjoy your children, while you mark out your path.