Beginning Your Homeschool Journey
Looking for homeschool tips for beginners? You’re not alone. Moms everywhere are homeschooling for the very first time. Sadly, many are anxious because they mistakenly believe they aren’t qualified to teach their children. If this is you, let me reassure you. As an educator myself, I’m confident that you can do this. Here are 9 tips to encourage any mom homeschooling for the first time.
Good News: Pandemic Schooling Is NOT Homeschooling
No doubt. We’re living in interesting and somewhat crazy times. Once quarantine hit, families everywhere were strangled by the unrealistic demands of pandemic schooling. It’s no wonder why so many moms are freaking out. Guess what? Can I let you in on a little secret?
Pandemic schooling is not even close to homeschooling.
And this is such good news!
You Can Homeschool
So if you’re new to or considering homeschooling, but you’ve been up at night asking yourself,
Can I do this? Am I crazy?
Deep breaths. We’re all just people doing our very best with what we know at any given time. When it comes to what’s best for your child, you can make a decision that is different than your neighbor and that is OK. There is no right or wrong answer.
Homeschooling The Individual Student
Homeschooling at it’s finest is not based on a one-size-fits-all approach. I’ve done this long enough to know that any mom who has the desire can do this.
9 Tips For Beginning Homeschoolers
So what do you need to know as you contemplate the big homeschool decision? Here are my top tips for the homeschool beginner. Information, My Friend, is power.
1. One-on-one support in a safe environment.
Let’s think about this logically. Parent support with homework and reading is one of the strongest indicators of student academic success. Why? Because one-on-one teaching time is extremely effective and efficient. When a supportive adult is there to offer insight, check for understanding and ultimately to encourage, children thrive.
2. You Don’t Have to Be An Expert Teacher
But I am not a teacher. How can I teach math and science?
You do not have to be an expert on anything to homeschool well. Can you read? Then you can learn and facilitate learning. Co-learn alongside your child. There is an abundance of homeschool curricula out there. And this is good stuff. Homeschool curriculum is made with the parent-teacher in mind. Don’t start off purchasing homeschool curriculum made made for the traditional school system. Look for programs that are made for homeschool parent teachers.
RELATED POST: How To Choose Homeschool Math Curriculum
3. The Power of Conversation
Partner with your child. Dig in to topics of interest. Read books. Engage in discussion and ask questions. Dialogue is key. Processing aloud with your child yields incredible fruit. Conversation activates areas of the brain that are not employed through passive listening (think, lecture).
When we stop to ask our kids their thoughts and really listen, we model respect for them as thinkers. And, more importantly, we demonstrate that we value their ideas. That alone increses motivation, child engagement, and ultimately, leads to the highly effective discovery-based learning.
4. Homeschool Beginners: Learn & Observe
Go on nature walks and explore creation together. Be intentional about using our ability to “be still and observe.” Homeschooling with nature study is an exceelent way to employ discovery-based learning. Check out these easy fall nature studies by Cindy at Our Journey Westward.
5. Homeschooling Is Time Efficient
There is no way I can do this! I don’t have time.
Let me remind you that homeschooling is NOT school at home. Homeschooling is time efficient. How much one-on-one teaching time does a child typically receive on a school day? Maybe 5 minutes if they’re lucky, right?
Learning Doesn’t Take 7 Hours A Day
Public schools are within a system. The traditional school day is filled with time-intensive extras that have nothing to do with learning. These are systematic time-suckers that aren’t applicable to homeschooling.
- Lining up,
- Roll call,
- Moving from one class to the next,
- Reviewing problems that only meet the needs of a few in the class,
- Fire drills, etc.
The Clock Isn’t Boss When Homeschooling
Ultimately, what takes 7 hours in an institutionalized system can often be accomplished in just a couple of hours at home. Just a few minutes of focused one-on-one teaching at home can equal an entire class period. (Circle back to homeschool tip #1.) When an adult is there to catch mistakes or confusion, issues are addressed on-the-spot.
RELATED EPISODE: 11 Homeschool Math Teaching Tips
6. Learning Is Not Confined To Monday-Friday
There are no rules about when and where learning takes place. When homeschooling, everyone is aware of what is being learned. As such, natural conversations and connections are made even on a Saturday.
7. Freedom to Choose Makes All The Difference
Homeschooling allows you to choose what works best for your unique family. A major issue with crisis schooling was that moms were told what, when, and how to do it.
I’d lose my mind if someone tried to tell me what curricula, timeline, and plan to use with my kids. Literally, with no insight into:
- My child’s wiring, strengths & interests,
- Time capacity,
- Parent-child dynamics,
- Needs of siblings,
- My teaching and learning style, etc…
I could go on and on. Moms, teachers, and kids were set up for failure. When homeschooling, you create the plan based on the unique needs of your child and family dynamic.
RELATED HOMESCHOOL PARENT TRAINING: Homeschooling The Distracted Child
8. Parents Are The Primary Teachers
If you want this for your child, you can do this. You don’t need a fancy diploma on your wall to give your child an incredible education as a homeschool beginner. In fact, those of us with education backgrounds often struggle those first few years trying to replicate school at home. Don’t fall into the trap. It’s not worth it.
9. Focus On The Goal
The number one thing for the new or veteran homeschooling is this. Focus on your goal. Ask yourself,
What do I want for my child in the long-run?
Most likely, the answer is that you want your child to learn and know how to learn. Read good books, take your kids outdoor and explore with intention, and follow your child’s interests. You can do this!
How To Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum?
Earlier this year, I surveyed veteran homeschool moms and asked them to share their favorite homeschool language arts programs. The number choice one surprised me.
Melissa Cochran, M.Ed., is a former principal, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher. She homeschools 2 teens with Autism and anxiety. She loves Master Books.
Master Books curriculum is open-and-go. The curriculum is written to the student and is easy for new homeschoolers to jump into without feeling overwhelmed. Bonus! They have materials for Social Studies and Science, too.
To continue to the #2 recommended homeschool language arts curriculum, continue reading here.
Never Stop Learning: Homeschool Parent Trainings
For more in-depth support as you teach your child at home, check out the series of homeschool parent trainings.
- The Unregulated Child: Sensory Systems & Self-Regulation In Your Home & Homeschool
- Homeschooling The Distracted Child: Optimizing The ADHD Brain For Learning
- Huh? How Language Processing Impacts Reading, Writing & Relationships