A lot of people ask me where I get my haircut, what I think about the weather, and, oh yeah…umm…how do you start homeschooling?
First of all, let me say that this is based on my own experience. Your experience WILL be different because you are not me. Your kids are different than my kids. My style is different than your style. As long as you understand that, proceed.
Homeschooling is easy and it’s really hard at the same time. I say it’s hard because you will be with your kids all the time. If snow days freak you out, homeschooling may not be for you. If summer vacation makes you want to run away from home…homeschooling may not be for you. That said, sometimes you may not have a choice and feel like homeschooling is the only option you can consider, and that’s okay, too. If I can do this, you can do this.
The first thing you need to remember is this: relax. Don’t make your home into a school. You don’t need to do endless amounts of worksheets and have them sit at a table for eight hours. This is NOT school. This is better. This is life. You will have tons of flexibility on how, what, and where to teach your child. For example:
- Monopoly is a fabulous way to teach math and banking
- Give them calculators at the grocery store
- Dress up like historical figures and put cornstarch in your hair to make it look like a wig
- See what happens when you microwave different candies (peppermints turn GROSS)
- Clean the house by making vinegar and baking soda volcanoes in all the sinks and toilets
I’m saying that there are ways to make learning fun. Make sure to include those with your text books and worksheets.
The second thing to remember is this: go at your own pace. If your child understands a concept, then move on to something else. If your child needs a month to learn something, take a month. Don’t compare your child to other children. They are their own person. Some people get math quickly and some don’t. Some people love to read and write and some love to study the periodic table. We are all unique. Don’t get upset because your child is unique. It’s a lovely thing.
The third thing to remember is this: you are not alone. There are a TON of homeschool families out there! There are support groups, blogs, curriculum review sites, Pinterest boards, etc…for you to get information and connect with others. And I’m always right here, of course, and I love new friends!
The bottom line is that if you want to homeschool, then do it! It’s not a forever thing if you and/or your child isn’t loving the experience, you can explore other options like public or private school.
I’m not going to lie – some days I hate this choice I made. Some days I just want a clean house and don’t feel like fighting over grammar. BUT those days are rare. I love my kids and their sense of humor. I love seeing things through their eyes.
I do hate the eye rolling, but that would happen regardless of our homeschooling decision.
Besides, that’s what wine is for!
Now some down and dirty practical tips for you:
1. Know your state’s homeschooling laws and requirements. That can be found here.
2. Research curriculums. Online, traditional, secular, Christian, Charlotte Mason, unschooling…look them all up and decide which one is best for you. I like to mix of several to keep things interesting. Reach out to other homeschoolers and ask to see their books. They may sell you their old ones at a discount!
3. Make a loose schedule and remember that you don’t have to do everything everyday.
4. Grade levels are a guide, they are not set in stone. Just because your son is in 4th grade, doesn’t mean he’s not on a 7th grade math level and a 3rd grade science level. See where your child strengths and weaknesses are and proceed accordingly.
5. PE, music, and art are just as important as math, grammar, and history.
Now, take a deep breath. You got this.