Homeschooling for Beginners

Things I Wish I Had Known - My Advice

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When I first started to homeschool I felt pretty clueless about what I was supposed to do. It was such a big responsibility to take charge of my child's education. What if I messed up? What if my children grew up not knowing ANYTHING?

Of course, it all worked itself out over time. I figured out how we wanted to do things. I saw the children learning and managed to relax. But not without some initial sleepless nights!

So here are the things I wish someone had sat me down and told me when I first began to homeschool. The advice I wish I had been given early on in my homeschooling journey.

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My Homeschooling for Beginners Advice

  • You don't need to know how to do things straight away. In fact, it is fairly compulsory not to know! There may be the odd homeschool super mom amongst us, but the rest of us mostly make it up as we go along.
  • Don't decide on your homeschool methods straight away - take some time to try things out and investigate your options.
  • Your child is your best guide as to what to do next. What do they love to do? What aspirations do they have? What would they love to spend hours doing? Asking your children what they want to know is the best way to figure out how to homeschool.
  • Don't rush out and spend a lot of money. It is tempting to think that buying the 'right curriculum' or resource will make it all come together. But take the time to see what free homeschooling resources are available first - you will be amazed. And hopefully inspired.
  • Don't let anyone tell you how to homeschool. There is no 'right way. There are as many ways to do this as there are homeschooled children. Really - you do know best.
  • Find your comfort level. Are there things you feel you MUST cover with your child? Which subjects are you worried about? For homeschooling to feel good you need to find a balance between what YOU need from it - and what your child needs.
  • Take time to de-school. Teaching your children isn't about replicating school in your home. If you are full of 'schooly' ideas about what an education is then you need some time off. Immerse yourself in new ideas about education - you may reject them all later, but at least you will be better informed. Try a little encouragement to get you started.
  • Don't go overboard - you will get burnout. Take things slowly - it isn't a race. Children learn things over a period of time - you don't have to teach them everything TODAY. If you feel panicky about how much they don't know then remember - they will be learning their whole life long. They can always fill in any small gaps you may have left later.
  • Write it all down. Why do you want to homeschool? What would you like it to look like? What are you worried about? What would make it a success for you? It takes the stress out of things to journal them - and it is helpful to go back and re-read things during the tough times.
  • Decide if you need a schedule and begin to plan how you are going to use your time. It is ok to deviate from a normal school-day - make use of the flexibility to work out a plan that suits your family.
  • Think of it as educating yourself as much as educating your child. You can't know everything so it is ok to learn alongside each other. And remember - you are a role model. If your children see you learning something that interests you, and enjoying it, then you are sending them a very strong message.
  • Enjoy it. It is as simple as that. A happy child cannot help but learn from their environment.

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