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Homeschooling can feel overwhelming and even out of reach for those newly considering it or just starting out.
As a veteran homeschooling mom of 8, however, I can confidently tell you:”You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!” (as Christopher Robin once encouraged his precious Pooh Bear – thanks, A.A. Milne!).
Seriously, you have no idea what you’re capable of and when you look back at your years homeschooling you will marvel at all your kids have accomplished that you were able to be a part of. And, if you’re really honest with yourself, also at all you managed to do and learn, too!
I was talking with some other homeschooling moms recently about things we wish we had known and would share over coffee with moms just starting…and it was too good not to share with you!
(they are in no particular order, but my favorites are 5, 14, 15, and 21!)
21 Things I Wish I Knew About Homeschooling Before I Started
You don’t have to “create” the perfect homeschool environment. You’ve already made your home; just start learning intentionally in it. That’s all there is to this – no need for a classroom.
If you can have a spot to put homeschool away, it helps to not see it stacked everywhere. But it doesn’t need to be fancy.
It’s okay to have really low expectations; NO expectations is even better! Just go into it with an open mind, find what works for you and your kids, and grow from that point.
It takes time to find your groove; it won’t happen on day one…or probably even in month 1. And your groove will change as your kids do.
It’s okay to hit “pause” instead of pushing through the frustration. You can pick up in an hour…or the next day. Take a break and have FUN together; relationship is a foundational element of successful homeschooling.
Forget general grade level guidelines; teach your child where they are at to the best of their abilities. This will help them far more than striving for a generalized benchmark set by someone who has never met them!
You’re not going to screw them up. They aren’t going to be unsocialized misfits. And yes, it’s okay to
Do not compare your homeschool or your homeschooled child to anyone else. And never let anyone make you feel like you’re not doing it right if you’re doing your best and what’s best for your kids.
It’s not public school, so don’t try to fit into their mold.
Join some good, positive, homeschool groups on Facebook to ask questions and get exposed to new ideas or curriculum.
You’re doing this TOGETHER. Be with your kids — that matters more than almost anything else. Learn to enjoy each other.
When something’s not working…stop trying to force it. Just move on.
Don’t be afraid to buy used things until you know what you’re going to love. Try it and if it doesn’t work, stop using it. Don’t hold out just because you paid for it…find what works.
READ. Read. And read some more. Did I mention reading??? Reading to your kids is one of the most important things you can do from the get-go. And as they get older, don’t stop just because they can read on their own.
Schedules help. But sometimes so does breaking them.
Don’t forget self-care. You’re going to be “on” even more than usual, so find time to be “off,” too.
Make your own schedule. School on the days, in the months, and at the times that works best for you. If dad works 2nd shift and you want relaxing mornings, do school from lunch to dinner. It’s okay to create your own “normal.”
Ask for help. This is not a solitary journey and most homeschool moms are awesome and love to share and encourage you.
It’s okay to have fun and laugh and be goofy. Learning is even more effective when it’s enjoyable.
Use your local library and learn off-screen as much as you can. Teach your kids the “old fashioned” way to find information as well as the newest methods.
You CAN do this; you ARE qualified.
As you can tell from the wisdom above, homeschooling is more about creating a lifestyle of learning and living than it is about curriculum and lesson plans.
It’s relationship and reading and laughing and growing…for you AND your kids. Enjoy it!