Ha! Just because I’ve been homeschooling a while now, people think I know what I’m doing and starting to come to me for advice. Which cracks me up because I am the first one to tell you I have no idea what I’m doing!
I think the first piece of advice I’d give to any new homeschool mom would be to get used to the “winging it” and the “flying by the seat of your pants” feeling. Just as you get used to one age level, the darn kid will grow up a little. Each age has its own challenges and needs.
Also, if any “expert giving you advice tells you “this is the right way to homeschool” (as if there is only one way), WALK AWAY. You don’t need that kind of annoyance in your life! Honestly, there are as many ways to homeschool as there are children on earth. The real beauty of homeschooling is the ability to tailor each educational experience toward each child and family.
With that in mind, here are my tips to begin:
1. First, examine your child’s learning style. How do they learn the best?
What is Your Learning Style?
The Learning Style Quiz
Know Your Kids: Identify Their Personal Learning Styles
2. Learning should be fun. Whatever you do, it should instill a lifelong love of learning, so that it becomes a way of life. Self-motivated, curious minds will make your job so much easier!
This means homeschool might look very different than your public school experience and that’s okay!
3. Examine your own teaching style and personal time constraints. When we first began, my was very flexible, however, now that I’m working my schedule is extremely structured. And now that my girls are a bit older and can read well, we have focused on making them more self-sufficient so they can do most of their work on their own, while I’m working myself.
Homeschooling can and will adapt around your life situation, but you do need to keep this in mind when making decisions on specifics.
4. Check out HSLDA.org and your local state organizations such as HEAV here in Virginia to cover all of the legal mumbo-jumbo for your state.
5. Then, check out curriculum that fits all of the above. Some programs are too-teacher intensive for my style and taste. There is some curriculum that is too much “my way is the only right way” for me. There are some I don’t consider “nutrient-rich” enough for my kids, and there are some programs my kids think are boring and too much busy work.
6. Get involved/participate in your local homeschool community. Perhaps that will be a Co-Op. Perhaps that’s Park Play Days, or ad-hoc, individual classes or activities. Build your own local support network and community. It’s vital for long-term homeschool success and satisfaction.
What else would you suggest to someone starting their homeschooling journey?