What do you need to know before homeschooling? Should you homeschool? Is homeschooling for you and your kids? How to start homeschooling today during coronavirus? Here are my top 10 advice for new homeschoolers.
Shortcut To Great Info On This Page
- 1 You Need To Read A Lot
- 2 Homeschooling is Harder and Easier Than You Think
- 3 You Will Waste Money
- 4 You Should Go Visit Places
- 5 You Need To Find Support
- 6 Library Fines Happen
- 7 Anticipate Rude Questions
- 8 You Should Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
- 9 You Need To Join HSLDA
- 10 You Better Find a Local or State Conference To Attend
- 11 Pray With Your Family
- 12 Enjoy The Process
You Need To Read A Lot
Blogs, books, podcasts. There’s a ton of good information out there; you just need to find it. Here are a couple places to start.
- The Ultimate Guide to HomeschoolingA Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
- The Three R’s
- The Way They Learn
- Homeschooling: You CAN Do It!: Eliminate self-doubt and get the clarity, confidence, and skills you need to successfully teach your children from home
There are lots more, but that should get you started.
Homeschooling is Harder and Easier Than You Think
It is harder because your children are home all day during the week, and so are you. You probably won’t get to go to all those daytime bible studies or morning coffee dates. But you’ll still have time for Saturday brunch.
It is harder because you can’t blame anyone else if your child can’t read by the age of 12 or is a discipline problem.
It is harder because, like laundry and dirty dishes, homeschooling is an ongoing job that requires daily energy.
It is easier because you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to pack lunches, get everyone dressed, breakfasted, brushed, packed, and otherwise presentable in time for that big, yellow bus.
It is easier because your children won’t have to rush home, eat a snack, go to soccer, finish homework, practice piano, help with dinner, go to youth group, and hurry up and play. Because your children will accomplish many of those things during the day before everyone else trudges wearily home from the bus stop.
it is easier when you realize that so much learning happens with a little one curled up in your lap or by your side on the sofa.it is easier because your kids don’t feel pressured to keep up with the latest overpriced or over-sexualized fashion trends, gadgets, and boy bands.it is easier when you don’t have to ask your children what they did all day because you had the privilege of enjoying the day together.it is easier when you realize that learning includes cooking dinner together, reading books, coloring, memorizing scripture, doing laundry, watching documentaries, baking cookies, going to the zoo, washing dishes (with extra suds), and a host of other unexpectedly fun experiences.
You Will Waste Money
Despite the best-laid plans, you will waste an occasional buck or two on the curriculum you hate, or your child hates, or stuff that looked really awesomely cool on that website, but in reality just bores you to tears. Chalk it up to experience, and know that this will happen less with each year you get under your belt.
You Should Go Visit Places
Lots and lots of places. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you get to go on field trips whenever you want to. And because most other children are in school, those places usually aren’t very busy.
Not sure where to go or what to do?
- Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time
- Homeschool Adventures: Learning Through the Power of Field Trips (Live, Learn, Work at Home)
- The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
Also, museum and zoo memberships make great gift ideas for grandparents, so be sure to drop plenty of strong hints around Christmas.
You Need To Find Support
You need it.
Find a community of homeschool moms you can relate to, learn from, and commiserate with. Or, if you live in the middle of nowhere, find just one other family. If you’re truly isolated, find one online, or read homeschooling blogs and join homeschooling chat rooms. There are lots of wonderful options to connect you to like-minded moms.
Library Fines Happen
Budget for them, because you will occasionally forget to renew (or return) those history stories, biographies, early readers, books on CDs, and DVDs. Okay, and novels. Know what? It’s money well spent. If you’re lucky, your library will have a food drive each year in December, and you will be able to bring in a donation of groceries to cancel out that $28.00 library fine you’ve accumulated. Hypothetically speaking, of course. Just remember: those fines mean you’re enjoying lots of books whilst simultaneously supporting your local library. Just a little tip: buy a sturdy laundry basket for library trips. Trust me on this one.
Anticipate Rude Questions
They come from uninformed folks. I’m frequently astonished at the personal questions some people ask that range from moderately irritating to wildly inappropriate.
Is that legal?
Of course not. but don’t tell anyone. Actually, yes. in every state and in most of the industrialized world.
Are all these kids yours?
Yup. I rarely look around for extra children to bring grocery shopping with me.
Do your kids have any friends?
Do yours? Actually, yes. gobs.
Do you and your kids just stay inside and read all day?
Yes. except for soccer practice, basketball practice, baseball practice, art lessons, music lessons, youth group, field trips, the library, museums, the science center, community service, movies, dances, and co-op.
Are you going to keep homeschooling forever?
Are you going to keep public schooling forever?
Do you have a teaching degree?
Nope. nor do I have a culinary arts degree, but I have managed to successfully cook for my family for the past 17 years.
I bet your kids are really smart, huh?
Nope. just average.
I bet your kids are really behind, huh?
Behind what, exactly? A public school system that is owned and operated by our wonderfully efficient federal government and currently ranks well behind other nations? Is that a trick question?
Anticipate those questions, and many more, deciding ahead of time what balance of grace and snark you’ll effect to answer them.
You Should Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it again. You are the best judge of what, how, and when, your children need to learn. There’s a ton of awesome curriculum out there but it won’t all work for you and yours.Relax.Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m pretty sure there must have been some setbacks and schematic problems along the way. Talk to others, get good ideas from others, but recognize that God gave your kids to you to raise, teach, and love. If you ask Him, He will abundantly supply every single ounce of inspiration, motivation, patience, and ability for the task ahead.
You Need To Join HSLDA
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is a wonderful legal group that is all about protecting and advancing homeschooling through the US and the world. Family memberships are around $100 per year and give you access to legal aid helpful forms and even curriculum discounts. They also offer online classes for high schoolers. You can look up the homeschool law by state so you’ll know what you need to do to be in compliance.
You Better Find a Local or State Conference To Attend
Whether you are just starting out or have been homeschooling for years, you should try your level best to find some sort of conference or curriculum fair to visit. These are places where you will find encouragement and help for the journey you are undertaking. I arrived at my first state convention burnt out and discouraged. I left a mere two days later energized and excited for continuing on this path of homeschooling. Some topics that you will find at most conventions include:
- legal questions
- struggling learners
- gifted learners
- how to plan and teach during the high school years
- homeschooling on a budget
and much more.
Most conventions are affordable and within an easy driving distance, and are also a great way to look at curriculum up close, watch demonstrations, and speak with vendors. Well worth the time and money spent.
Pray With Your Family
Pray, pray, pray. Actually, this one should probably have been number 1. Pray with your children each morning. Pray for your children every day. Pray with your spouse. Pray with other moms. Encourage your children to begin the habit of daily prayer time.
Some books on the subject to help you get started or become more intentional in prayer are,
- Prayers for Homeschool Moms
- One Hundred and One Devotions for Homeschool Moms
- Wisdom from Proverbs: Devotions for Homeschooling Moms
- The Power of a Praying® Parent Book of Prayers (Power of a Praying Book of Prayers)
Enjoy The Process
Consider this your free bonus. Enjoy the limited time you have to enjoy teaching your children at home. These moments are so special and go by so very fast. Really. It can be so easy to get caught up in the stress of doing more that we lose sight of how precious this gift of time really is.
Take it from a mom who just graduated my eldest. The days are long but the years are short. Make them count.