I have been homeschooling for almost 6 years now. After these years I have learned countless truths. Often I will meet new homeschool moms. You can usually tell the new homeschool mom. She looks overwhelmed and stressed OR she looks like she is a super mom. There really isn’t any middle ground. Whenever I meet a new homeschool mom she will generally start to ask me the same questions. Here are the 10 tips for new homeschool moms.
Tips for New Homeschool Moms
You don’t have to do it all right away.
Homeschooling is a beautiful journey. When you first start homeschooling the temptation is there to try and do everything. This can mean teaching every single subject every day. It can also mean going on every field trip, outing, and class possible. While you mean well, it’s not necessary.
Spend your first year homeschooling learning how your child learns. This may mean doing less so that you can both learn how you learn together. Don’t make some of the mistakes I made. Take some time to learn from the adjustment period in the beginning. You can add more in the following years.
It doesn’t have to look like school.
Many times when I meet a new homeschool mom the first thing she has tried to do is to recreate the classroom at home. She does everything down to the school desks. Homeschooling is different. You chose to homeschool for a reason. Instead of imitating the school system work on figuring out what works for your family.
Please understand that desks are welcome if you think that having that structure will help your child. However, my kids have done their school in the backyard, sitting in bed, or even in my son’s case with his feet behind his head. The goal is to create an environment where your family can learn well and thrive.
You don’t have to plan your whole school year.
I did this when I first started homeschooling. I planned every day of the entire school year. While this sounds like a great idea, it can quickly become a problem. Scheduling can be good as long as it’s flexible. However, if you think that schedule is the be all to end all you are in for a surprise because life will happen.
Instead of writing it in the planner with pen, start with pencil. Work on having a flexible schedule that accommodates life’s chaos. Be willing to let the plan you made see a bump in the road without it feeling like a failure.
You don’t have to stick to grade levels.
My children are in multiple grade levels based on the subject. Because R is dyslexic she struggles in certain areas while being strong in others. I have held her back a little longer to work on areas of weakness and let her move forward in others where she is strong. While she may not test a certain way she is learning the information and it is sticking with her. Instead of looking at standards, teach the child you have.
If you look at homeschooling as a life journey instead of year by year you will find that it will all level out with time.
You don’t have to buy everything.
There are many well-meaning curriculum options out there that promise to educate your child well. While it can seem like you need it all, you don’t. Work on finding a curriculum that works with your child’s learning style. Some options may seem great but work against your child’s learning abilities.
If you are struggling with figuring out whether a certain curriculum option lines up with your child’s learning styles, google for reviews of that curriculum. There are many influencers who will share some honest reviews and specs of the product.
Your child will be socialized
If you are not a hermit, your child will be socialized. Your child will meet many people through activities, co-ops, park days, church, and day to day activities. While they may not have the same social experience as children in a traditional school, they will have social experiences that will shape them as people.
Let life teach them how to encounter different people with respect and kindness.
Make sure you make friends with homeschoolers
The biggest thing I often encourage moms is to make sure to cultivate friendships of their own. You need a good friend that you can talk to, vent to, and cry to. Sometimes homeschooling can seem lonely. It is important to have someone that you can call when you hit a lonely season that won’t make you say the 1o things homeschoolers end up wanting to say.
Join a group
Homeschooling can be a very frustrating and overwhelming journey. There is nothing more refreshing that spending time with other homeschool moms who can share wisdom and encouragement. This year I made this a priority and it has made a world of difference for us. I am able to ask fellow moms what would work in a situation. It also helps to see behind the veil.
Not everything is perfect in anyone’s homeschool and talking to homeschool moms helps you to see that you really are doing ok.
They don’t need you 24/7
For a long time I thought to be a homeschool mom meant that I needed to be there for every moment of every day with them. Guess what. It’s not necessary. Sometimes it’s ok to tell your kids to go do their own thing while you read a book, do dishes, talk on the phone for a few, or just hide in the closet with chocolate. It’s as important for them to have time apart from you as it is for you to have time apart from them.
Your children can help you
I see a lot of new homeschool moms try to homeschool, run the house, and do everything on their own. It’s completely ok to expect your children to help you clean, cook, or bring in groceries. You are training up future adults. What skills will they need? If you do these things for your children you are short-changing their futures.