With so many families all over the country considering homeschooling their children this year, I wanted to write up a post on my top tips for new homeschoolers. This is meant to be an encouragement for you. This post isn’t a “here is what you need to do to be perfect at homeschooling” because there is no such thing as a perfect homeschool. So, read on if you’re looking for some encouragement! Here are my tips for new homeschoolers.
My Tips for New Homeschoolers
So you’ve made the decision to homeschool. You’re probably asking yourself many questions right now. Some of them being:
“What am I going to do?”
“What curriculum am I going to use?”
“How is my day going to look?”
“Will I ever have time to myself?”
I’m not here to give you the answers to all of these questions because everyone’s lifestyle and homeschool will look very different. I do want to give you a few basic tips and things to consider as you embark on this journey of homeschooling! Here they are:
01. Do not be afraid to use more than one curriculum.
If you find a math program you think is really great for your kids, use it! But don’t feel like you have to use that company’s language arts and science programs as well. Never feel like you’re tied to one company, one brand of curriculum!
On that note, don’t feel like you have to follow a curriculum at all! Tailoring education to your children’s interests is so valuable. They have an intrinsic motivation to learn when they’re led by interest, so don’t be afraid to veer off the path a little bit!
One example of this is my daughter, who showed an intense interest in birds her first year of homeschool. Instead of following a science curriculum or dabbling in several science subject, we studied birds ALL YEAR. Not only did she enjoy it immensely, but now she is an expert on identifying birds.
02. Do not feel like you have to create a perfect homeschool room or space.
School happens everywhere! It happens all over the house, it happens outside, at friends’ houses. All of the above! Do not feel pressured to get it all set up and Instagram-worthy!
Your children won’t remember how their play area or work area looked. They’ll remember the moments you spent connecting with them.
03. Try to meal plan, meal prep, and plan out your week.
This will save you so much time. You’ll have smoother days and weeks because meal planning takes the thinking out of “what should I feed my kids right now” and allows your brain to focus on other things! Let’s face it, as moms, we are constantly thinking about the things we need to get done! Take the stress out of your days and weeks by planning ahead. I have a blog post you can see here on how I plan out my meals for my family. I also have an updated post coming soon on how I plan out our meals monthly.
04. Include everyone in the schedule-making process. (Even your kids.)
Run your weekly plans by your spouse to make sure those jive with his schedule, but also, run it by your children. Consider their opinions, as it is their education! Ask them if they want to do learning in the morning or in the afternoon, etc. Including them in the rhythm-setting will help them feel more invested. (This is more for older children, younger kids will need some direction from parents, of course!)
05. Do not try to replicate “school at home”.
Your children are not at school. They’re at home. It is absolutely possible for you to be teacher and parent! It’s just going to be different than the classic teacher + student model.
06. Connect with other homeschool families.
With home education, community is so important. Not only is it crucial for your children to feel like they’re part of a community, but it’s so beneficial for the parents to feel like they aren’t alone. I would recommend doing a quick search in your area online (via Google or Facebook) to find any like-minded communities around you. You won’t be sorry!
07. Do not feel pressure to do every subject, every day.
Children thrive when they’re given small, bite-sized pieces of information. They do so well when they’re able to let what they learn simmer with them and settle in before moving onto something else. Do not feel rushed to check all of the boxes. Don’t let you (or your children) feel fatigued by schooling! Let it be a slow beginning. Add things in a little bit at a time, but don’t feel like you must do math, language arts, writing, science, and history… all of those every day. It simply isn’t necessary!
BONUS TIP: Be Flexible and Go With The Flow.
It sounds zen. But it isn’t. When you homeschool, you have to learn to be flexible. Sickness and appointments and family stuff will come up. You might have to put learning down for a day to tend to something. It’s okay! Pick up where you left off.
The same goes for the schedule. You aren’t married to the schedule you made for yourself in September until mid-May. If something isn’t working… change it up! If a curriculum isn’t doing it for you! Change it. You’ll be a lot happier if you’re able to be flexible!
Well, this concludes my tips for new homeschoolers. These definitely aren’t all of the tips I want to share, but it’s enough for today, right? I hope this blog post about tips for new homeschoolers was helpful to you! Let me know if you have any questions at all. Thank you so much for reading!
Are you new to homeschool? I run a membership for new homeschool families! It’s called Thriving at Home. I share weekly activity ideas to complete with your kids and monthly videos for parental support as you navigate life at home this year. You can learn more here.