Way before I began writing this post or before homeschooling became a daily norm, I was asked frequently, “HOW” and “WHY” we homeschool. People would see the girls and ask if they were twins, then mumble a funny comment about how close in age they are, and go wide-eyed and pale when I said we were homeschooling. And while I admit, I had a few “have I lost my mind?” moments and fears along the way, it’s been one of the greatest decisions we’ve made as a family. With the last few years of trial and error, figuring it out, wingin’ it, one might say, I have come to find confidence and take pride in knowing what we know now and doing school the way that works for us!
There is an incredibly long list of homeschool tips out there and things you can fall into a rabbit hole with. Everyone has an opinion and those who don’t or have never homeschooled often have five hundred ideas on how you should do it. I wanted to bring you 3 practical tips to begin with when starting your own homeschool journey. These are three things I think EVERY HOMESCHOOL teacher needs to learn!
1. LEARN TO RESEARCH
I’m NOT talking about researching so much that your head is spinning and you’re more unsure than you were when you sat down to google “homeschool organization”. What I am talking about is using google/search to look quickly for exactly what you need. If you get good at research, you can find answers fast, and spend more time where you need to, teaching! If you aren’t sure WHAT to teach your student, look up curriculum schedule or curriculum by day or week or grade! If your little learner asks, “Why is a frog’s tongue so long?” or “What makes it foggy outside?” a quick youtube search will bring up a video (or 10) usually even age-specific. While it’s playing you can hop onto one of your free bookmarked resources and print a worksheet to complete the “lesson”! When you are confident and comfortable with researching these things often it will become habit and guide you into so much freedom! For some of our top pick RESOURCES for homeschoolers, see the post on HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES For The New Homeschooler HERE!
2. LEARN HOW TO PRINT DOUBLE-SIDED
Save the trees, save your sanity, save space! I know this one seems too easy to mention but it tends to intimidate a lot of people! Same thing for laminating pages! And both can be a homeschool hack you use every day, again and again! Why laminate a 100’s chart singularly when you can print that on one side and a fill-in-the-blank chart on the back? Then, use a wet erase marker to get practice use from both sides repeatedly. Pro Tip: Print in grayscale to save ink and always make sure you choose pages to print preview instead of just clicking “print all”. PRO PRO Tip: Don’t forget to print out pages with the same lesson themes or subjects so you can file them away or save in a way that makes sense when the time comes!
3. LEARN TO LET GO
“LET IT GO, LET IT GO”! I don’t care what they’re going to say! This is where a little Disney soundtrack can come in to play. On repeat. If you’re going to make it as a homeschooler, you need to LET IT GO. Stop comparing. Stop obsessing. Stop worrying. KIDS ARE INCREDIBLE! They will learn and grow and progress right before your eyes if you give them love and an environment to be curious, find answers (see, you can teach them that research tip from above), and go with the flow. You don’t have to sit in pajamas or teach in bed (I know some families who do) but you also can be set free. Understand that your home is NOT the normal textbook “school” building. Homeschooling, for us, is so much MORE than those walls. And listen, I LOVE teachers and I appreciate their job. This is not a bash on the public school system, but it is PRO homeschool if you choose! If that is the route you take, be confident and remember why you chose it! Let go of allllll the things you once knew because isn’t that what you were leaving in the first place? Why copy something that wasn’t working for you in some way? Learn to plan and have organization but be open to a little change of pace or additional lessons throughout your week. Remember that if YOU ARE STRUGGLING, they probably are too! If you are hating the lesson, SO ARE THEY! One of the best takeaways I have given myself and kids is to LET IT GO when they don’t understand something or are very disinterested, change subjects or material or stop there, and circle back around at a later time. This has been successful over and over for us!
Homeschooling can be your greatest challenge or greatest opportunity.
There is only one attitude and one choice standing in the way of that.
Which will you choose?