(reposted from July 2014)
I’ve been homeschooling for about 6 years now since my oldest is going into 6th grade. It has flown by and I feel that we have learned so much in the challenging years that I can share with others. Of course, these are things that have applied to our family. Here are things that I wish someone would have told me when I first started homeschooling.
1. It’s okay to stay home. Many new homeschoolers want to sign up for every co-op, opportunity, class, playgroup, etc that comes up because of the lack of socialization stereotype. We have found that it’s okay to stay home! In fact, it’s needed more and more as the kids get bigger. It’s impossible to do your school work well when you’re always on the run somewhere.
2. It’s okay for your kids to be on different levels in different subjects. Think of it as another benefit to homeschooling! One of my children struggled to read but excelled in math. Put them on the level that they need to be in each subject and not what society says. Eventually they may catch up but it sure beats the stress of pushing them when they aren’t ready.
3. Hesitate before putting your child ahead a grade just because little Johnny can read at 4 years old. My firstborn was reading fluently at 4 so we figured why not go ahead and start kindergarten. Once she hit multiplication and some harder subjects, we hit a major roadblock. She cried, I cried, we thought about public school and then realized what had happened. Emotionally she just wasn’t ready for the weight of the harder subjects. We let her back off and repeat the previous grade with a different curriculum and she’s now on the grade she would be with her similar aged peers. In hind site, I definitely think that holding a child back is better in many situations than pushing them forward. The pressure can be overwhelming for all.
4. Check for homeschool curriculum events. I remember one year I had my heart completely set on one curriculum and went to the curriculum fair with the full intent of purchasing it. Once I got to the fair and had my hands on the items, as I flipped through I realized how much I hated it! Going to the fair saved me a ton of money and I was able to check out other curriculums and found one that I wanted for my family.
5. Make a list of reasons why you have chosen to homeschool your children. This may become your very lifeline. There will be days that are hard and days that are harder. You need to be completely confident in your reasons why you homeschool. For my family, we homeschool due to convenience, our family’s schedule, and one on one time with learning disabilities. There are others, but those are the main reasons.
6. Your homeschool does not need to look like school. You do not have to have desks, homework, strict schedules, or be inside all day. Beautiful day outside? Take the kids to the park to work on history. Someone has a birthday? Bake a cake for math and science. Life is happening! Don’t miss it for bookwork.
7. Having a bad day? Throw the books to the side and go out on an adventure. Now of course if you are daily having bad days, something needs to be reevaluated. An unplanned day off every once in a while is great for the whole family.
8. Refuse to compare your children to public school children. For some reason, some people feel the need to “quiz” your child because they are homeschooled. Be sure and cut this off fast. Your kids are not performing dolphins. In the same note, don’t brag to public school friends that your 7 year old homeschooler has finished 5th grade.
9. Homeschool year round. Whenever we submit our intent to homeschool to our state, we submit a 12 month period. Typically August 1-July 31 of the following year. This gives us a grace period in case life happens. Things may come up that you have to take weeks or even months off of school. You can read more about why we homeschool year round here.
10. Find homeschooling moms that are older than you and have been homeschooling longer. Ask them questions or even request to sit in their house for a day and watch. I have learned so much about homeschooling from moms who have been there. It has saved us a bunch of heartache by learning from others challenges.
Do you have anything to add? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Other posts you may be interested in: