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If someone would have asked me four years ago if I would ever choose to homeschool my children, I would have gasped in horror at the thought of such a crazy responsibility. Considering homeschool just was not an option. How could I provide my children with an adequate education when I barely got through school myself? What if I failed, what if they had questions that I couldn’t give an answer to? All these fears consumed me for a while until things in public school drastically changed. It was not working out for two of my children and something had to change fast!
We took up homeschool rather quickly. Honestly, I had NO idea what I was doing, but we all jumped in feet first. I will admit, it wasn’t a pretty sight at first. We were all a hot mess!
But it was a journey that we all grew to love. So here we are three years later, still figuring it out some days but loving every minute of it!
So, if the thought of homeschooling your children has ever crossed your mind, Don’t Dismiss It! I encourage you to give it a real thought. And while doing so here are 6 things to consider!
Curriculum: Picking The “Right” One
There are so many curriculum choices out there. I cannot tell you how many I have researched over the years. Sometimes I even considered not using a curriculum. I joined support groups, I asked others what worked best for them, I scoured the internet praying to come across the right one. I discovered that there was no one perfect curriculum! What many moms suggested were not a good fit for us.
Also, I have found it to be normal for a curriculum to not be a good fit permanently. What may work for you and your child at first may not work next year. Sometimes you may get halfway through a curriculum and decide you don’t like it and that’s OK! Toss it! In order for homeschool to work and for everyone to love it, you have to be willing to go through trials and errors; with curriculum especially!
*For math I always encourage moms to consider Math U See. It is broken down into subjects rather than by grade level. All 4 of my kids excelled at the simplicity and repetitiveness of this curriculum.
Find A Good Homeschool Support Group
One of the best things I did was try out numerous Facebook groups. I talked to women, I followed posts, I even began a notebook with tips and insight that I thought may be useful. I encourage you to try out some groups and find a few that you like because having people to turn to as a new homeschool family can be uplifting. Also, search your area for Co-Ops. Check with your church to see if any families homeschool. Even go to your local library to see if they offer any programs for homeschoolers. Meeting with people in person is not just beneficial to your sanity but it is also a great way for homeschool kids to keep involved with others. I always encourage the women I talk to about homeschool to try out multiple groups and see what works best for them! Because when times get hard it really helps to hear from others who have been in your shoes.
Beware! Do Not Compare!
This one is exceptionally important. When connecting with other homeschool families it is normal to wonder if what they are doing will work for your family. Do not, I repeat- Do Not try to compare your homeschool, techniques, schedule, or pace with anyone! This can be heartbreaking; devastating even. When we focus on what others are succeeding in too much it can make us focus on what we feel we are failing in. When in reality we are not failing, we are just different. Being different is what makes homeschooling all the more fun! However, it does happen. I catch myself often beginning to compare to what others are doing. But I put the brakes on that as quickly as I can and remind myself of what is working for us. Comparing your homeschool to others is one of the most damaging things you can do to you homeschool. Just enjoy every moment doing what works in YOUR home!
Throw Grade Levels Out The Window
I also encourage new homeschooling moms to throw grades level out the window. A grade level is just a number that signifies what our children should know and when they should know it by. Since every child is different and learns differently, we should do all we can to avoid placing them into groups with other kids, especially ones their age. This is extremely important if you have a child on the spectrum as well. I always say- if your child is showing a love for learning, growth, and you see true knowledge forming, then comparing your children to a grade number is another damaging thing you can do. Just enjoy every moment doing what works in YOUR home!
Don’t Focus So Much On Being a “Teacher”
The best thing that you can model for your children is being a learner. Do not focus so much on being a teacher that you forget to enjoy learning. Trust me, we don’t know it all and instead of trying to teach it all just sit back and enjoy the lessons you are teaching your children. You will be amazed at what a learning experience this journey is for you as well! Learning WITH my children has been one of the most enjoyable parts of homeschool. There is so much that I don’t know, but thanks to encyclopedias (and Google) I don’t ever worry about not having an answer.
Enjoy homeschool. Get involved in the projects and art. Show your children that it is perfectly ok not to know the answers because answers can be found. The important thing is to teach your children to love learning and, for older ones, know how to find an answer. I promise that there is no better way to teach than to model being a learner. So don’t stress trying to be the perfect teacher. After all, you cannot expect the imperfect to be perfect!
Ease Into Things
Lastly, when making the transition into homeschool, start small. You wouldn’t jump into the deep end of a pool if you couldn’t swim, would you? No. And you definitely wouldn’t take your kids in with you if they couldn’t swim, would you? NO! Taking a cooling off period between public school and homeschool is crucial to both you and your kids. Take this time to enjoy your kids. Get used to being around each other all the time and learn about them and their learning styles. Ask them what THEY want to learn about. This will help make homeschool something they can look forward.
When you do begin scheduling, start slow! Do not over schedule, especially with young ones. You will have all the time in the world to expose your children to everything you wish to, but for now, keep a loose schedule until you find the routine that works for you all. I cannot tell you how many times I have rearranged our schedule during our first two years of homeschool. Some subjects went out the window while others were reduced in the number of days I taught them. As the kids grow older, we would add more to the schedule or their responsibilities.
Here is a sample of what we finally found to work for our family right now!
The most important thing I can tell you is to enjoy the crazy, enjoy the chaotic moments, enjoy each memory, and enjoy watching your beauties grow. It won’t be easy; even the most seasoned of homeschool moms have their ups and downs. If your heart has brought you to this post then I encourage you to jump in feet first and give it a try! It may be just what fits.
Update: Catch me on the Real Happy Mom’s Podcast talking about my favorite tips & tricks for homeschooling your kids! After 4 years of homeschooling, I share what you need to know to have a successful beginning.