Beginning Your Homeschool Journey
Looking for homeschool tips for beginners? You’re not alone.
Moms everywhere are homeschooling for the very first time. And 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. So to help, here are 9 tips to help encourage you in your first year of homeschooling.
Good News: Virtual Schooling Is NOT Homeschooling
No doubt. We’re living in interesting and somewhat crazy times.
Last year, families everywhere were strangled by the unrealistic demands of virtual schooling.
Guess what? Can I let you in on a little secret?
Virtual (pandemic style) 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.
9 Tips For Beginning Homeschoolers
I’ve homeschooled long enough to know that any mom who has the desire can do this.
The following 9 tips are meant to encourage you and lay a foundation of guiding principles to help you when you start to feel overwhelmed and insecure.
Because, let’s face it. You will become overwhelmed and insecure. When you’re doing something outside your comfort zone, that’s to be expected. You’re in good company for sure.
1. One-on-one support in a safe environment.
Let’s think about this logically.
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.
Learn With Your Child In Your Homeschool
Co-learn alongside your child. There’s an overabundance of homeschool curricula out there.
And this is good stuff because 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. And then enjoy the process of learning with your child.
RELATED POST: How To Choose Homeschool Math Curriculum
3. Follow Your Child’s Interests When Homeschooling
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.
Stop Talking & Listen
This one is so hard for me. I have a BIG MOUTH and have had to learn (the hard way) to shut it and LISTEN.
But seriously, 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 excellent way to employ discovery-based learning. Check out some of these sweet resources that’ll help guide you in nature study.
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.
Think about it this way. How much one-on-one teaching time does a child typically receive in a traditional classroom?
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: 12 Homeschool Teaching Tips For Kids Who Struggle With Math
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
I’d lose my mind if someone tried to tell me what curricula, timeline, and plan to use with my kids.
8. Parents Are The Primary Teachers In Homeschool
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: Learning
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?
You may be ready to start looking at homeschool curriculum for your new homeschool. Earlier this year, I surveyed veteran homeschool moms and asked them to share their favorite homeschool language arts programs.
Check out their homeschool curriculum recommendations for special needs learners. Let’s check out one highly popular curriculum now.
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.
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
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support.