Am I capable? I'm not a certified teacher.
I know this idea flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but You have always been your children's teacher. You are the first and best teacher for your children, because you know their strengths and weaknesses intimately. If you are not strong in particular subject, you will find a way for your kids to learn what they need to. I will touch more on this later, but I have learned a great deal right along with my kids. They like it when mom learns with them.
Will there be "holes" in their education?
Many new homeschoolers get caught up in thinking, "Will there be holes in their education?" The answer is, "Yes and no." The fact is, there is no perfect education. The most effective tools you can give your children are:
1) How to find information.
2) How to use information to accomplish their goals.
3) How to communicate information to others.
If you accomplish this, you will have prepared them well for college, and for life. Furthermore, if your children enjoy learning, they will be lifelong learners. What a wonderful gift to give your kids!
But, I don't have money for curriculum.
I am amazed by what is available now for homeschooling families. There is A LOT on the internet, specifically---Much of it free. I have included some recommendations, later in this post, for free, complete curriculum you can find online. Are you near a library? We use the library a lot, not only for personal reading, but also for reference books. I have really appreciated the reference books available to me from the library, because they are expensive! Another resource I have enjoyed from the library is educational videos. I have tried to use as many methods I can think of when feeding my children information---and they enjoy the visual element offered by videos.
Where should I start?
It is not imperative that you have it all worked out before you begin. Following are three sites that are perfect for homeschoolers starting out, because all the prep work is done for you---and they are totally free! A totally complete, totally free curriculum you can look at is Head of the Class. Head of the class provides lesson plans, printable worksheets and activities by grade level. Another one, but it will probably require a little more work on your part (in preparation time) though it is all spelled out for you, is Lesson Pathways. Lesson Pathways uses resources and sites all over the internet, all free. A third site you might look into is Ambleside Online. Ambleside provides a completely free curriculum and complete lesson plans, but it is in the "Charlotte Mason" method, which is wonderful, but a little different from your typical "school" method. The Charlotte Mason method uses a combination of nature study through exploration, classical literature and narration. I have moved more toward this method in my own teaching, because it seems very natural to me. It's yours to decide what will best work for you. When I first started, I didn't know what that was, so if that's how you feel, starting with the simplest is best. You can "tweak" things later, as you discover how your children best learn.
Am I all alone?
Oh heavens, no! There are many homeschoolers out there, now. Some, like you, are just starting out. Some, like me, have been homeschooling for decades. No matter where you are in your homeschooling journey, finding support is really important. Having a support group to turn to when you have questions, or when you have a bad day is essential. These are the folks who will lift you up when you feel like you can't go on, and will rejoice with you when you experience a victory. Remember that subject I mentioned, the one you might not be very strong in? This is also the place to go with those kinds of things. Perhaps math isn't your strongest subject, but you can teach writing without breaking a sweat. There will be someone else out there whose needs compliment yours. We must lean on the homeschooling community, not only to glean the strength and encouragement we need, but to provide that to others as well.
If you live in an area without a support group nearby, I have provided some resources where you can find online support. Simply click the button below. You will be redirected to my post on finding a support groups. There are lots of links there. Below that is my "Comments" button. I would love to hear from you!