Over the years, I’ve walked with many Mamas through the daunting transition to homeschooling. We fell right into homeschooling when we were in the military and I only had little ones. It worked for us and I loved the freedom it provided, but not everyone makes the decision to homeschool for the same reasons. Mamas have asked me every question under the sun and I’ve gathered a few tips to help you get started homeschooling (if that’s where you are at)!
1. You don’t have to buy a complete curriculum set. It can easily take a year to find a homeschooling rhythm. A lot of times, Mamas feel pressured to have a curriculum set or books that cover all 8 traditional subjects. You really don’t have to buy all of that when you start! Pick a Language Arts you like, a Math that looks do-able and maybe a Science that looks fun! If you have little ones, honestly skip the science. 3 R’s – Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic! Instead of drowning in a new curriculum, use that time and space to study your child’s learning habits, find a functional schedule and create a new normal of incorporating your child into everyday life.
2. Be confident in the power of couch time. You would be surprised how much your children absorb as they sit on the couch while you read aloud. I don’t have time or space in this post to tell you all the benefits of reading aloud to your children, but there are so many wonderful resources to get you started. Read-Aloud Revival is a great jumping point and I highly recommend Sarah to everyone! My favorite place is the couch with a book and my kiddos.
3. Comparison is the thief of joy. We hear this phrase in so many areas of our life, but if you are wanting to homeschool and don’t know where to start — write this quote in big letters somewhere in your house. Your family is your OWN! Do not compare your children, your daily schedule, your home or anything you choose to do to anyone or anything else. As homeschooling Mamas, we will want to constantly stack our kids up against traditionally schooled kids, but I can tell you now – it’s a dangerous trap. You will miss out on so much JOY with your children if you’re always wondering what you’re doing differently or wrong.
4. Be OK with change each year. If you continue to homeschool, your children will change. They will struggle in very specific areas, but they will also overcome obstacles and make huge victories. Sometimes as parents we will want to fix our children or just get to the other side, but homeschooling will show you that change takes time. It’s OK to change routines. It’s OK to change teaching styles. Sometimes the best thing you can do is a change a curriculum that your child does not love, or better yet, you don’t love. Homeschooling is not about suffering through the days to get your kid into Harvard. If that’s your goal, awesome — good for you, but for the average Mama, we want more time with our kids or are removing them from school for specific reasons. We don’t need to add more stress to our lives by resisting change.
There will be really hard days, but there will also be amazing days! Homeschooling can be a way of life when you let go of any preconceived notions you have. Enter with an open mind and open heart! Give yourself time and space to figure out the things you love and hate about teaching your own children. I promise, you’re more equipped than you think you are. Like anything, the growth won’t happen overnight and that’s perfectly alright.