I also have a 4-year-old son (5 in June) and we're also going to be homeschooling officially for kindergarten on up. As a fam, we made this decision in February of this year - so we're "beginners" too! I was VERY nervous at first . . . what if I mess up?! I kept thinking that over and over . . . and then I met a woman who homeschooled her daughter from toddler 'til college and she told me the most wonderful thing (and I REALLY needed to hear it). She said something like this:
"Homeschooling gets EASIER and more INTERESTING and more REWARDING as you go along. It's a bit boring and tedious at first (she said) when they're young in the early elementary stages . . . but then you start to recognize these big differences between the unprocessed child and the publicly-educated-child and THAT IS SO REASSURING! (she said) I witnessed other homeschooling families quit in the early stages when they were frustrated BECAUSE they were right on the cusp of a breakthrough with their homeschooling experience. Once you have those breakthroughs, it's undeniable that you've made the right choice! Please, please, Carissa, don't quit. Don't get discouraged while they're young! Just wait and see - when they're middle-school-aged and they're picking their own curriculum, wanting to know about Aristotle and Red-Eyed-Tree-Frogs, you'll know you've raised a free thinker who is LEARNING on PURPOSE!"
That pep talk is gonna carry me through the next 13 years, I just know it!
This lady's daughter is at UNM now . . . she is pursuing FIVE Bachelor degrees and she ACES everything she tries. Why? Because she LOVES to learn and she's only doing things because she WANTS to.
Self-motivation begets passion!
I have no advice either, really. I just wanted to pass on that wonderful stuff!
I suppose we'll learn as we go.
I notice that a lot of parents with younger children seem to be experimenting with a lot of freestyle/eclectic homeschooling and/or unschooling. I did notice that you selected a rather "strict" and regimented program . . . and with your schedule (very do-able but it's gonna require some flexibility and forgiveness) you may find it much more satisfying to be easier on yourself and your little one when it comes to curriculum. I have no real foundation for saying this except for what I've heard about Abeka from others . . . that it can be stressful to do all of the lessons just as they've set it up; but, it's a very successful company so they must be doing something right!
Keep us posted on how this goes! Just don't want you to be so hard on yourself that it gets discouraging. It is hard enough just being a mom to kids this age, huh!? I'm constantly amazed at the patience that it demands just to get us through a day!
Our new co-op friend, I wish you the best. Let us moms hold on tight, sometimes to eachother's hands, and let's just walk forward a baby step at a time . . .
We're on a great adventure! Congratulations on your decision to homeschool - I hope we meet someday.