It’s August and time is dwindling before the start of school is upon us, maybe for some of you it already is! Most homeschooling moms are in the throws of finalizing curriculum and resources for the school year right now (if you haven’t already).
If you are a first time homeschooling mom, I want to give you some tips on starting out!
- Start slowly. And I mean this in regards to choosing / ordering curriculum as well as finding your groove. Don’t buy all your manipulatives and supplies and resources right off the bat before you have your homeschool style figured out. Start with the basics: a reading / writing program of some sort and a math program. These things alone allow you to cover the basics without spending a lot of money and also allows you to ease into your homeschool routine with a shorter daily schedule. Reading a book out loud while the kids eat lunch is a great way to introduce literature and talk about different elements of a story. I am here to tell you that an effective program can be delivered without a multitude of extras! It will be easier to add more curriculum as you go then to purchase a whole bunch right away and realize you don’t like it or it’s too much.
- Use discernment. It can be extremely easy to get sucked into “curriculum envy” and end up ordering an excessive amount of resources because you see other people using them and they look awesome. DON’T DO THIS. This is a sure fire way to end up with closets full of curriculum that will not be used. Every homeschool mom has a different style and vision for how you want your schooling to look and every child has a different learning style and needs. It is not one size fits all and what looks amazing for someone on instagram may end up being a source of stress for you! It is helpful that people share their resources online so you are able to “see” through them and have a better idea if they fit with your vision. Some companies show sample pages on their website, you can search a certain curriculum on youtube to see if there are flip throughs, and lots of homeschoolers on instagram show flip throughs as well (myself included). If it seems to not be your style even though it looks fun, pass on it. For me, I know if something has too many pieces, I won’t use it. I am a minimilist when it comes to homeschool supplies since we have such limited space. Once you get going you will easily recognize your style and what you like.
- Hold your plan loosely. Not my strong suit to be honest but I have really grown in this area when it comes to homeschooling. I don’t want to force something that no one is enjoying as that just makes for a long year. I want to find something educational that we can all enjoy. It is far more pleasant to teach someone who is enjoying, or at least engaged, in what is being taught. If you buy something and a couple weeks or a month in you hate it or its resulting in frustrations or arguments, consider scrapping it and trying something else. There is nothing wrong with realizing a certain resource isn’t working and moving on.
- Don’t plan out your whole year or super far ahead. If you are a veteran homeschooler and this works for you, by all means go ahead. However I would not recommend planning your full year in the beginning unless you are ok with erasing! You don’t know for sure if you will like the curriculum you got, you don’t know how long concepts will take, you don’t know how much you will get through each day, etc. If it helps you to look ahead you could do a really general overview in pencil and then save the nitty gritting planning for short term. Even as a school teacher I often only planned one day in advance because you just never know how things are going to or if you might get off on a rabbit trail following somone’s interest. Typically now as we finish one subject I jot down in my planner what I want to do in that subject the next day. It’s fresh in my mind and I know exactly where I am leaving off. Give yourself some grace to figure it all out.
- Have fun! Enjoy learning together and delight in the presence of your children!
I hope that these tips can take some of the stress away if you’ve been having some pre – homeschool stress. Pour some tea, put out some cookies and read a good book. Build memories to cherish together. Homeschooling produces beautiful moments!
If I can be of any help to you as you choose curriculum or prepare yourself to start your year, please reach out. I have various consulting packages available as well as an hourly rate if you need to bounce a bunch of ideas. Of course, I am always just an email away if you have a question or need some advice!
Happy school prepping!