Help! What Do My Homeschool Kids Need?
Hi there new working homeschool mom! I see that you’re worried! And you’re asking yourself: What do my homeschool kids need?
This is something that I’m asked time and time again by new working homeschool moms. So I want to let you know what worked for us and what worked for other working homeschool moms.
As with anything life, take what you need and leave the rest. At the end of the day you’ll know what’s right for you and what’s isn’t!
The Educational System Conundrum
Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar? You want to take your kid out of the educational system. You know it’s not working for them and you know in your heart of hearts that there must be a better way.
But you’re plagued with doubts and worries. You’re second guessing your abilities to give them what they need. You feel like you’re going to shortchange them if you homeschool them while you work.
Have these contradictory thoughts been rolling around your head? First of all, you’re not alone. And secondly, I want to set your mind at ease – for at least a few of the doubts.
Trust Yourself Mama!
I believe a big part of why you as new working homeschool mom feel like you don’t know what your homeschool kids need, is because they’re still in the framework of the educational system you come from. And you don’t trust yourself to do better.
Education looked a certain way for you. And even though you know this system isn’t working for your child, it’s hard to see outside of it. Better the devil you know, right?
So the very first step in knowing what your homeschool kids need, is to trust yourself. You have your child’s best interests at heart and this can be your guiding north star.
When everything feels messy and you don’t know what the first step is to take, remember that your motivation and intention are pure and true. It will give you some breathing space. And then you can start from a place that’s less fraught with worries, doubts and fears.
What Your Homeschool Kids Need is You
Your homeschool kids need you. Now I don’t mean spending hours and hours homeschooling to the exclusion of everything else. I know you have to work and manage your house and have a life too.
What I mean is that they need some dedicated time from you every day. If you can be eyeball to eyeball with them for at least 30 minutes, you’re going to see some amazing things happen.
So why is this so powerful?
- When it comes to homeschooling, it means that your kiddo will get one-on-one attention. This is how you’ll identify gaps and be able to fill them properly. They’d rarely be able to get this kind of attention in public school.
- You’ll be able to encourage them and to build their confidence. This is often what’s lacking in subjects like math. But even more than that, this characteristic is so important for life in general!
- If you took your kids out of public school, you’ll be able to rebuild a bond. You’ll get to know them again and build trust and connection.
Some Practical Things You Can Do at the Beginning
Ok, let’s get practical now. I know you want to know about some concrete steps you can take. If you’ve been here for a while, you’re probably going to guess what I’m going to say next.
In order to have a successful homeschool, you’re going to need to deschool. Because this is how you’re going to figure out what your child needs exactly.
The reason why deschooling is so cool, is because it’s full of unlearning and learning. Sounds like a contradiction, right? But it’s going to help you to unlearn what’s not working and learn so much about yourself and your child.
Here is a breakdown of the phases of deschooling you could take. Obviously, each homeschool is unique. But they can give you a guide to follow, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just a reminder to trust you gut though, mama! You’ll know when it’s right to move on to the next phase.
Phase 1: Rest
The first phase is all about rest, recovery and decompression, especially if you’ve taken your child out of public school. I know it’s very tempting to hit the ground running, but I know from personal experience that this doesn’t work.
Give your kiddos some time to sleep as long as they need to, to eat when they want to and to get used to being at home. My advice is give them as long as they need. You’ll know when they’re starting to get bored and want some more stimulation.
The only thing you need to do in this phase, is to observe your child. Take note of:
- when they like to wake up, eat and go to bed,
- what time of the day they’re the most energetic,
- which activities they’re choosing to keep themselves occupied.
All this is going to give you an idea of when to homeschool, how to homeschool and what type of resources to use.
Phase 2: Discovering Interests
During this phase, you’re going to be more intentional about discovering what lights your child up. You could start writing down in a journal what content they like to consume.
If you’re working outside of the house, you can ask your children’s caregiver or even ask your kids what they did during the day. The second option can be really effective for older kids. And it will help them to become aware of their interests too.
If you want to move this phase along and you have the time to do so, you could…
- take your kiddos to the library and let them choose all the books they want to (great way to see what interests them)
- ask them to tell you what type of field trips they want to go on
- explicitly ask them to tell you what they’re interested in and how they like to learn!
Phase 3: Transition into Structured Learning
I believe the most important part of this phase is trial and error. There are so many homeschooling methods and styles that you could homeschool in any way you want to. Here are some tips for choosing…
- start with your homeschool values and goals,
- get your child involved if they’re old enough,
- try out lots of things before you decide,
- don’t be afraid to mix and match,
- be open to changing and amending as you go.
Final Thoughts on Figuring Out What Your Homeschool Kids Need
Figuring out what your child needs when it comes to homeschooling is probably going to be an ongoing task. As they change and grow, they’ll need different things. Always be open to change. That’s my biggest piece of advice!
And lastly, do not forget yourself in the equation. It’s so important that whatever way you and your kids decide to homeschool, that it’s manageable and sustainable for you too.
As a working homeschool mom, you’ll have a lot on your plate. So be sure to get that self care in, to be kind to yourself and celebrate all the wins!