You have made the decision to homeschool! Or maybe you are still contemplating the decision to homeschool and feeling unsure what the fall has for your family. Either way, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and perhaps wondering what you have gotten yourself into!
In a perfect (non Covid) world, I would tell you to come over for a tea or coffee and have a chat about it! But I can’t do that right now so instead I will offer a few friendly pieces of advice here. These are the 5 main things I would tell you if we were sitting in my living room, drinking tea while we dealt with kiddos:
- Focus on relationship first! Maybe this is your first year with your child being home after years of them being at school, or maybe your child is starting kindergarten so there is no real big change in the day to day. Either way, focus on the relationship first. It’s the biggest blessing and the biggest benefit of homeschooling. In 20 years, what will matter to you more: having a good relationship with your child or knowing they can do algebra or write a proper thesis statement? They will learn. You’ll find your groove. It will come. I promise you, more is accomplished out of a good relationship than a strained one. If they’ve been in school for a while (or even if they haven’t) spend the first few weeks reading together and playing games. Reconnect or build on your connection and build excitement for the year ahead.
- Start Slow! I would recommend starting with only Language Arts and Math to begin. These are the 2 “most important” subjects so a good place to start. This way you get a feel for how school goes for your family before you start to implement more.
- Be Flexible! Don’t carve your plans onto concrete slabs in September. You will hit snags. You may realize morning school doesn’t really work and afternoon works better. You may realize you hate the curriculum you purchased and it’s torture to get through it. Did I tell you that I tried 3 different reading / LA programs last year with Sophie in Kindergarten before finding one that was successful for her? THREE! And I have experience. It happens. It’s fine if it happens. You don’t and can’t know how things will go until you try. Adjust when needed. Don’t force what’s not working. Don’t panic.
- Don’t try to replicate school! Yes, your child was in school for 6 hours a day but IT’S DIFFERENT! They have bathroom breaks, snack and lunch times, recesses, they need to wait for every kid to catch up, etc. They have down time. They have to allot time for every kid to zipper up their coats! It doesn’t have to, shouldn’t and wont take that long at home. Also, enjoy the freedoms of homeschool. They don’t have to sit at a table or desk if they can learn better lying on the floor, sitting on the table, under the table, bouncing on an exercise ball, etc. This is your school now, Mom! Do what works for you and your sweet kiddos!
- Hold off on buying a bunch of stuff. I know there are so many beautiful homeschool instagram feeds. Trust me, I know! Mine is not one of them! I do not have that gift haha. There will be oodles of beautiful resources and stunning organizational systems, books galore, gadgets a plenty, you get my drift. Nothing makes you feel more ready for school than a bunch of fresh new stuff. I get it. But you don’t want to waste that money. Start easy. Start with the resources you’re planning to use, some pencils, some erasers, some paper or notebooks, maybe some markers or pencil crayons and go from there. Will you add more? Sure, I would assume so. But maybe you’ll realize you dont need to. Wait and see what you actually wish you had instead of purchasing an bunch of stuff you don’t need. Less is more when you’re getting started.
BONUS TIP: Books are your best friend. They make bad moments better, sick days easier. They bond you together over shared adventures in the pages of a book, or even mutually having no idea what’s going on. When all else is going poorly in homeschool, keep reading. So much is learned in the pages of a good book, but more importantly, connection is made.
I’m sure there is so much more we would talk about if we were visiting together, but this covers some basics. Please feel free to reach out to me via my contact email on this page or my social media accounts if you need more specific advice and stay tuned for more info for new homeschool moms in the coming weeks!