I have learned so much since we started homeschooling on a fall day 3 years ago.
As we begin our 4th year of homeschooling this fall, I wanted to share some of the things and a few tips that I’d tell any new homeschooling family.
Things that my homeschooling mentors shared with me.
1. Don’t be overwhelmed! Becoming overwhelmed is probably the easiest pitfall for a new homeschool mom. Do some basic research about homeschooling, find something you think you will like and stick with it that first year. Slowly, after that first year, branch out to a homeschooling convention or sale to broaden your knowledge of the other curriculum and programs available. You’ll have a better understanding of what will and will not work for your family!
2. Ask for help. Join a homeschool group. Find a homeschool network online. Read blogs. Google. We have all needed help at some point… hey, we all continue to need help! Don’t be afraid to ask!
3. Don’t forget to look for free stuff online. There is SO much available online! Free printables, work pages, video clips, projects, books… you name it, you can probably find something free online! Especially for the early elementary years.
4. Keep your school area simple. Do not go out and buy a ton of posters, desks, work books, supplies and so on. Get what you think you will need for THAT YEAR. Stick with the basics. As things come up, you can buy them. It is much simpler for your kids and for you not see so much “stuff” cluttering up your school space. See Our Schoolroom.
5. Your homeschool is not going to be like traditional school. Don’t try to make your school space look like a traditional school room. (although mine does look a little traditional just because that is how I organize) Don’t schedule your day like a traditional school day. It is not going to look like “real” school. It is not supposed to. That is why it is at home! Your day should fit your kids. It is not about how much time you spend at a desk or how many projects your kids do in a day or getting good grades… homeschool is about LEARNING!
6. You CAN do this. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Don’t let comparison to someone else keep you from thinking you are capable. You know your kids better than anyone and God has specifically ordained you to be their mom, their teacher and their mentor.
7. Your kids will have rough days. So will you. It is okay. Yep. You will have bad days. For sure. Just remember… you don’t have to be at a school bus stop at 7:15am or pack lunches or sign forms or do fundraisers… bad days are okay. They are normal.
8. Be flexible. Flexibility is KEY. Make a plan. Build a schedule. Write down your goals… all good. But don’t let that stop you from halting it all to learn something totally different if your child seems interested. And, don’t get frustrated if you get behind in your well-thought out, detailed plans. It is okay. You have not failed.
9. Make your homeschool fit your family. Traditional, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Notebooking, online school… there are SO many amazing ways to homeschool. Ours is an eclectic mix of a few different methods. Make homeschooling fit your family. Design it for your children. It doesn’t have to be all one way or nothing!
10. Let your kids explore things they want to learn! I could have just said, “Have Fun!” for my 10th tip. But, more specifically, let your kids have fun and learn at the same time. Do they love horses? Do they love history? Do they like to read? Do they love field trips? Do they ask questions about the ocean? Follow a path they love and learn from it!
I hope these tips will help equip you for a GREAT first year of homeschooling your children.
I also hope they will encourage you in your first months and years of schooling your kids at home.