How to start homeschooling is a topic that is really important to me. I wrote about starting out with homeschool at the beginning of our journey. And I’ve also written about what you should think about as a newbie homeschooling mom. It’s so scary to start out, so I want to try and set your mind at ease just a little bit. In this post I want to let you know what we’ve found to be really important.
I just want to make it clear that I am not talking about the legal steps that you have to follow to start homeschooling. This post is more about what it’s like to be a homeschooling parent and what you can do to have the best homeschool possible.
Where to Homeschool
This is something that really worried me at the beginning. We live in a small house and don’t have much space to spare. If you have the space, then it’s wonderful to be able to have a room where children know that learning is going to take place. That being said, we only have a small desk and the dining room table that we can use, and the kids have coped just fine. So if you are in the same situation as we are, then don’t worry! Learning can happen anywhere!
What to Teach your Kids
It can be extremely overwhelming to decide what to teach your children. A good place to start is this post from Homeschool.com about the different homeschooling methods. You could find a methodology that speaks to you. Then get onto Pinterest for resources and ideas.
I have some advice about picking one methodology:
- Be prepared to change. You might not find what suits you and your kids right away.
- Combine things. You might find that a combination of methodologies is what works for you.
- Listen to your gut. Don’t let people persuade you to buy something or to follow something that you don’t feel comfortable with. You know your children best, after all.
The Lowdown on Boxed Curricula
You might find the idea of having something all planned out for you, very appealing. And it is certainly delightful to get a box full of books and other interesting goodies! I get it! It’s scary to jump into homeschooling without really knowing what to do. There are some things you should take note of when deciding on a curriculum:
- They can be super pricey. And you might not find what you want right away. If you’re not constrained by budget, then it can be a good place to start. But there are so many free resources for homeschoolers that you can use just as effectively.
- The curriculum might be too rigid and require too much work. I’ve heard so many homeschooler complain about the busy work and strict marking that some curricula require. In my opinion, it’s too much like school. And your child is not going gain any confidence if they feel like they are failing.
Consider Online Homeschooling
Homeschooling online is going to save you a whole heap of money and stress. As I mentioned above, there are loads of homeschooling resources and websites that are free or very reasonable. My kids are in second grade and we use CTCMath and IXL for Math and English. Then we supplement all the other subjects with books, Pinterest finds and Netflix.
Another important aspect of online homeschool is that is saves lots of printing and paper. Cartridge ink is so expensive and using loads of paper is not great for the environment. You can do just as well with a blackboard wall or a whiteboard.
What about Socialization?
Socialization is always a hot topic when it comes to homeschooling. But I think people are looking at this in a very different way because of the pandemic. People are realizing that socialization happens with all social interactions. It’s still possible to socialize your kids at home. Children can learn a lot by interacting with parents and siblings. Not to mention communicating online with friends and family. And once the pandemic is over kids can socialize by:
- doing team sports
- spending time with friends and family
- interacting with people in restaurant and shops
- joining interest clubs
How to Start Homeschooling and Survive
I think the biggest obstacle that parents have to overcome when they start homeschooling, is a lack of confidence. You might feel like you are not qualified to homeschool your kids. Or you might be worried that they are not going to learn enough. Please let me set your mind at ease. You are qualified and they will learn loads. Your kids will be getting the very best, personalized education in a very small ‘classroom’. Parents spend loads of money to send their kids to schools that offer this. And you are going to be spending more energy than a teacher at school could ever give.
Before you Start Homeschooling, Deschool!
I have to make a special mention of deschooling. It made such a huge difference in our homeschooling journey. And it was as important for us, as it was for our kids. We really had to overcome the ‘school at home’ mentality. And once we did, homeschooling became infinitely easier for the whole family. I have a post with 101 deschooling activities that you can do without feeling guilty.
A Last Note about how to Start Homeschooling
On a final note, I just want to say that you must try to be kind to yourself. Homeschooling can be great, but it can also be frustrating and exhausting. If things don’t go according to plan, it’s ok! Your kids are going to be doing so much more engaging and useful learning than they would be doing at school. So if you need to take a break or go for a walk, you have the flexibility to do that. And that is one of the biggest advantages of teaching your kids at home.