If you are thinking of homeschooling or just making the jump, I want you to know that you can do it, but be willing to give it a little bit of time.
For me home schooling was in a way tougher than I thought and not as fun. But it was also something that I could not give up on from the very beginning. I felt as if my whole self was telling me to keep going. I’d say more so a higher power from Heaven guiding me to keep going and to keep doing it.
There are many rewards along the way ,too. Just like with anything that is worth doing, hard work also reaps great rewards. I think the journey will be different for everyone, so I don’t want to give too many personal details.
For example for us it was important to finish the program early. That was something that motivated us and pushed us. We were in fact done with language arts and math by Mid February. For us this was a great reward. Others may aim for different goals.
I also personally enjoyed teaching at home all the time and didn’t feel the need to get together with other groups as much. My kids were ok with that too. I know that for other moms it may be extremely important to have a support group and to meet on a regular basis, and their children may benefit from this as well.
So here is a list of homeschool tips for parents who are starting their first year:
1. It takes time. It’s a new habit.
Yes, give it a few months even. Know that you will need to learn the curriculum and how to navigate through the programs and so will your children.
2. Have a flexible schedule.
Be ok with the new schedule. You may find that some days homeschooling will happen best when done in the afternoon, sometimes even in the evening perhaps.
3. Don’t expect them to do everything.
At school they didn’t do it all you jus didn’t notice because you didn’t know what they were supposed to do except for the homework sheets that you saw coming home. So when you know that some assignments aren’t necessary or that you might be looking at some busy work, be ok with trimming the fat out.
4. Make daily goals
I would often map out the day before what a great learning day should consist of. I would write down all the subject areas and how long my children should be spending on each of them. I would remind them to push themselves to finish those assignments by the time that I had allotted. We would often set out timers for them so that they could keep track of their schedule.
5. Start early.
We would try to avoid procrastination as much as possible. And if that meant to start early as in August 1st or during some school breaks we did to accomplish our goals. It was great to be able to rest and recover at other times instead. Like perhaps by doing only a 4 day per week schedule, etc.
6. Teach them the why
I often remind my children why they are learning and why they need to study. It’s the best antidote against those tough days where one might ask themselves why are we even getting up each day to do all this.
7. Put the responsibility back to them.
When we first started our kids would often call me and expect me to answer all of their questions and solve all of their problems constantly. They almost didn’t even put forth any effort and just thought to ask me for any obstacle they encountered. I soon realized that this method was not going to raise independent children who know where to find answers.
After all it’s their future. They won’t learn if you do it all for them. At school they struggled twice as much and often the teacher was not there to answer all of their questions. So sometimes it’s ok to let them go back review, take the time to read things, and struggle a little until they can figure out an answer on their own. You are close now that they are at home with you, but you are not supposed to do everything for them. They can come for questions, but first they need to try on their own. They will fight you at first, but eventually they will get the point and will learn to go back and reread and even to navigate through the programs learn how to use them on their own. They won’t if you always do it for them right away.
8. Teach them to wait for their turn.
Teach them to respect and to act properly. Many homeschooled kids aren’t taught that because the parents are willing to put up with it. That’s where the stigma comes that homeschooled kids have no social skills. It was your job to begin with to teach them. Teach them. Teach them to wait before talking and to speak at the right time. Teach them to listen and to take turns when talking in a polite manner. Teach them to be patient.
9. Rely on modern technology.
Remember that even Alexa can answer questions. You don’t have to answer all the school related questions. Luckily they can rely on many tools for help as well.
10. Teach them internet safety.
Monitor them and teach them where to go to find answers and research. Place screens in common areas and make sure that they are being safe and that they learn how to navigate to the right websites especially when doing assignments that require internet research.
11. Set timed goals by when an activity should be done.
As mentioned earlier remember to monitor how long they are spending on activities. We do so by setting timers to keep track of time so we don’t spend all day doing school work only.
12. Reward them for being done.
We try and reward our kids for finishing their work fast. I would often make a daily goal by when we should be done. I would then try and make it worth for them to be done. I often would tell my kids: “If you are done by this time we will have a treat or go to the park.” And if they refused to work instead we would have them pass on recess and use that time for homework. It’s the same at school. Today it will hurt to have a consequence, but they won’t do it twice and they will learn to value time.
13. Teach them to be also respectful of your time.
When I am teaching my kids I remind them that they need to pay attention and not wonder with their minds and also to stay on task. Sometimes I have sent them to do assignments and I am waiting, but they won’t go do them. They have learned over time that it’s a great time commitment for me to teach them so they need to be appreciative of my time.
Teach them the importance of time. To use their time wisely. If they don’t do it now they’ll have to do it later and you won’t be there at that point. You can’t wait all day if they chose not to work during the times you allotted to work with them.
These lessons are probably more precious than half the things they are learning right now which they will forget. After all, do you remember all your math lessons your learned as a child?