ARE YOU WONDERING WHAT THE BEST HOMESCHOOLING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS ARE?
If you are a first time homeschool mom, you might be feeling a little bit nervous and overwhelmed, that’s why I want to share some of the best homeschooling tips for beginners.
I have been a homeschool mom for more than six years and in that time I have learned a thing or two about how to make homeschooling work for my family.
If you’re reading this post, I assume you’ve already decided to homeschool, figured out your curriculum, and you are now ready to explore this new world of homeschooling.
Before you jump in, let me share some important lessons I have learned.
These tips will help you transition to homeschooling, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
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15 CRITICAL HOMESCHOOLING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
1. EASE INTO IT
I get it. The moment you’ve been dreaming of has finally arrived and you can’t wait to crack open your curriculum (or worksheets) and get right into it.
But, hold up a second since that may not be the best idea.
The smartest thing to do is to ease into it especially if your kids previously attended school.
You need some time to deschool and give yourself (and your kids) some time to get used to this new way of doing school.
Remember your kids aren’t used to seeing you as their teacher so give them some time to acclimatize.
Don’t just break open your curriculum or start handing out assignments. Instead have a discussion with your kids. Find out what they’d like to do and go from there.
You can start with one subject at a time to ease into homeschooling. You can start with their favorite subject to help them settle in faster.
Of course you’re still in charge and it’s up to you to decide how you want to proceed, but it’s okay to let them lead at the beginning.
Kids need an adjustment period when they go from public school to homeschooling so make sure you consider that when you begin homeschooling.
2. DON’T REPLICATE SCHOOL AT HOME
One of the reasons many of us choose to homeschool is because our kids were struggling in school (or public school wasn’t meeting their needs).
That’s why it’s so funny when we start homeschooling and we decide to replicate school at home.
Homeschooling doesn’t quite mean school at home so there’s no need to model your homeschool after the school system.
So don’t try to make your kids follow the same routine as they did in school since this isn’t always the best approach.
The best thing to do is to create your own routines and schedules based on your family’s needs and your personal circumstances.
Kids don’t need to sit on a desk to get their work done. They don’t need to do school for six or eight hours a day or follow a five-day schedule if that doesn’t work for your family.
When I first started homeschooling, I thought I had to be extra diligent and do things by the book. It wasn’t long before I discovered that wasn’t going to work, so I had to make some adjustments.
Even now, nearly seven years later, I continue to tweak and adjust how we do school based on our circumstances.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling. There’s no one “right” way to do things.
3. KEEP YOUR LESSONS AND SCHOOL DAY SHORT
Depending on the ages of your children (and their grades), a couple of hours a day is probably all you need to get all their school work done.
I know this can feel weird at the beginning when you remember that they used to spend between seven to eight hours in school every day.
But, don’t fall into the temptation of thinking you need to fill every hour with one activity or the other because this is the fastest way to burn out and take the fun out of homeschooling.
When you keep your lessons short and focused, you should be able to cover everything that you need to do each day.
4. HAVE SOME KIND OF STRUCTURE
Yes, I know I said you should ease into homeschooling and not replicate school at home, but you need some kind of structure to your day if you want to accomplish anything.
This is even more important if you are a work at home mom or have some other responsibility you need to take care of.
Create some routines and schedules that will serve as some kind of road map, but you don’t need to live or die by them.
Use them as a guide and tweak them when necessary.
5. CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Unfortunately, homeschooling doesn’t mean you teach your kids only when you feel like it, or when your day is going well.
Trust me, you’ll have lots of days when anything that can go wrong is going to go wrong, but if you have to skip school every time that happens, your kids aren’t going to get an education.
So learn to be disciplined and consistent if you want to succeed at homeschooling.
I wrote a whole post on how to be a consistent homeschool mom, so I won’t rehash everything here.
I strongly suggest that you read that post.
6. BE FLEXIBLE
One of the first things I learned as a homeschooling mom was that unless I was willing to change and adapt, I was gong to have a hard time with homeschooling.
One of the keys to successful homeschooling is flexibilty.
You have to be willing to change track or pivot if (when) something isn’t working.
Yes, that means sometimes you may end up wasting money because your child absolutely refuses to use a program or curriculum, or it doesn’t fit their learning style.
Of course, we have to be prudent with our resources and not waste money, but trying to force a child to keep using resources that isn’t working for him usually leads to tears and lots of frustration.
So don’t think you have to follow your curriculum religiously or do every assignment and worksheet to justify the cost of the curriculum.
Sometimes you have to try two or three programs before you find something that works for your kids.
There’s not much you can do about that other than to roll with it.
7. BE WILLING TO FAIL AND LEARN
Homeschooling is a great way to learn how resilient you really are.
It will test your patience and your resolve, but you must hold steady because you’re going to fail quite a few times.
Consider each setback as a learning experience and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Remember you’re doing something completely new (and maybe outside your comfort zone), so you should expect a few snaffles along the way.
You’ll struggle if you’re not willing to learn or if you expect perfection in your homeschool.
Lastly, don’t compare yourself to others. Just focus on being the best you can be, and serving your kids.
8. HAVE A DEDICATED SCHOOL AREA
No, I don’t mean you should have a school room or anything like that, but it’s a good idea to have a designated spot in your home where school happens, and where you store all your school supplies and materials.
Staying organized is a good way to keep your homeschool humming along nicely so try to have everything in one place so you don’t waste time searching for stuff.
Have one or two bookcases where you keep all the homescholing books and some folders,binders, and bins where you store all your supplies and homeschool records.
It’s okay to let your kids have their own spot where they feel most comfortable and not easily distracted.
This can be on the dining table, their bedrooms, on the couch etc. What’s important is that they are learning and getting their work done in a timely manner.
9. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS
One of the keys to having a productive homeschooling day or week is to minimize distractions as much as possible.
This includes external distractions from friends and family, social media, and distractions within the home.
There will be lots of stuff clamoring for your attention, but you must find a way to stay focused.
If you have babies or very young children at home, figure out a system for keeping them occupied while you work with the older kids or you’ll find you keep getting interrupted or putting out one fire or the other.
Homeschooling can be tricky when you teach multiple kids or multiple grades, but you have to figure out a way to stay on top of things.
Don’t forget you can always use the older kids to teach their younger siblings or to watch them while you’re helping some of your other kids.
There are quite a few ways around this and if you put in the effort, you can minimize distractions.
The key to success is to learn how to homeschool effectively.
10. SET GOALS BUT HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a homeschooling mom is how essential goal setting is to the success of our homeschool.
When you set homeschooling goals, you have something to shoot for.
One of the ways I stay focused is to set different goals for me and my kids and track them throughout the year.
Setting goals is also another way I keep myself accountable.
So think about some things you’d like to achieve in your homeschool and use them as motivation throughout the year.
Make sure your goals are realistic so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Your goals can include: reading goals, character building, health and academic goals for each child.
While you probably won’t achieve all your goals, it’s nice to know you’re working towards something and setting goals gives you sense a purpose.
11. PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED
Have a plan for the unexpected because you never know when they are going to happen.
Having a plan in place for emergencies will help to minimize long-term disruptions to your homeschool.
Think about things like homeschooling if you, a kid or another family member is sick, or what to do if have a financial emergency.
Hopefully, you won’t have to go through things like this but it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in the event of an emergency.
12. IT’S A FULL TIME JOB AND HARDER THAN YOU THINK
When I decided to homeschool my kids many years, I didn’t give too much thought to how difficult it would be or the amount of time that’s required to homeschool.
But, I have since learned that homeschooling is a lot of work and it’s actually a full time job!
If you’re actually dong things the right way (and by that, I mean truly committed to it), you’ll find that you need to invest a lot of time to get things done.
You spend time researching curriculum, shopping for supplies, reading reviews, creating lessons plans, grading, prereading books and lots more!
There are lots of days when I have prayed for more hours so I could get through everything I needed to do, but alas I am still stuck with twenty four hours like everyone else.
When you throw in housework and other responsibilities, you can see why homeschooling is a little bit difficult and time consuming.
But, you can make it a little easier by developing good time-management skills, and learning how to prioritize.
13. ALWAYS BE LEARNING
Don’t forget to keep investing in personal growth and development.
Find ways to keep improving so you can be a better mom and better homeschool mom.
One of the easiest ways to learn is by reading books.
Read homeschooling books, read your children’s history, literature and science books.
Homeschooling is actually a good way for you to fill in some of the gaps in your education.
It’s really amazing to me how much I have learned since I started homeschooling.
So make good use of this opportunity and continue to invest in your personal growth and education.
14. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
As a homeschooling mom, it’s easy to run yourself ragged or become burned out.
It’s really important that you take care of yourself no matter how busy you are.
You can’t be very productive when you’re running on fumes so make sure you take frequent breaks.
I know when you’re juggling a lot of things, you might think you don’t have the time to stop and breathe, but that’s a really bad idea and could could cause long term damage.
You must be intentional in carving out time for yourself to rest, recharge and refuel your energy.
Homeschooling is a marathon not a sprint so you need to be strong and in good health if you want to keep doing doing this.
Get some exercise, eat as healthy as your can and keep your mind healthy and fresh and for the journey.
15. DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN
Homeschooling can be a little bit isolating for homeschool moms, so you have to be proactive in getting out there and socializing.
Find ways to make homeschooling fun for you and your kids.
Do something spontaneous every now and again and don’t let things get too stale.
More importantly, don’t spend too much of your time worrying about whether your kids are learning enough, or if they are going to have gaps in their education.
Worrying about things you can’t control (to an extent) is one of the quickest ways to make homeschooling stressful and less enjoyable.
There are lots of ways to make homeschooling and you guessed it, I have a blog post with lots of suggestions for you.
CRITICAL HOMESCHOOLING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Homeschooling can be an exciting and one of the best experiences of your life if you are intentional about it.
As a new homeschool mom, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I hope these homeschooling tips for beginners will help you navigate some of the challenges that you may encounter and serve as your guide to homeschooling.
Are you a veteran homeschooling mom?