So you’re thinking about homeschooling, but the fact is- you’re overwhelmed by it all. I mean HOW DO YOU HOMESCHOOL? At the risk of oversimplifying the answer and losing you, the spoiler is, you just do it! However, I have broken it down and provided 8 of the best tips to help guide you in more detail.
These 8 tips are designed to answer that BIG SCARY QUESTION and assuage your fears regarding taking the leap into homeschooling.
Tip #1: Let’s just get it out of the way, because it is by far the single most asked question of homeschoolers:
“What about Socialization?”
Socialization means learning how to communicate effectively and handle a variety of situations with people of varying ages and backgrounds. It’s not just playing with friends. Since we experienced a world-wide school shut down at the end of the term in 2020, we have gained additional perspective. Kids and adults alike found ways to socialize even when they couldn’t socialize traditionally. We created online group meetings, play dates and show and tell opportunities. We held drive by birthday parties, graduations and virtual Prom … while not ideal, these events demonstrated that yes, Humans are social beings and we get ourselves out there. Homeschoolers were impacted by the closures as well – they could not meet with their book club or co-op. There were no more park days or field trips, all of the ways homeschoolers socialize were shut down. Homeschoolers adapted and went virtual for their social needs, the same way schooled children did.
So if you are worried about socialization – the best tip, is don’t. Your kids will take classes and go on field trips. They will attend birthday parties, and park days. They will go with you to the bank and the grocery store. Let them talk to the teller and the grocery clerk. They will experience true socialization by interacting with people of diverse ages and backgrounds.
Tip #2: I worry I’m not qualified to teach, I’m not a teacher.
That piece of paper (A teaching certificate or credential) is simply a legal document – it doesn’t make you GOOD at the task it qualifies you for, and it doesn’t make you BAD at it either. Consider those of us with a licence to drive. Some do it very well, some not so well – but just holding the paper that says: YES, you have permission to drive. It is NOT what makes you good at it. Marriage licence, CPR First aid certification, car mechanic – the list of things we can hold documentation to be qualified to perform goes on and on.
The single most important thing when homeschooling is your RELATIONSHIP with your child. Think about the teachers you remember most, the ones who made the greatest impact? What type of credential did they hold? From where? (You likely have no idea) But you do know one thing: THEY CARED. No one is going to care more about your child, than you!
Tip #3 : I want to Homeschool because of X, Y and Z.
Homeschooling isn’t magic. Absolutely, homeschool so you can give your children individualized attention, customize curriculum and take trips in the winter not the summer. But recognize the limits of homeschooling as well. I will never forget the day I heard my oldest daughter bossing the heck out of her siblings. She was relentless. I was SHOCKED. What was going on? I homeschooled them? Why was she BULLYING her siblings??? I homeschooled to avoid bullies. I didn’t want them to get picked on the way I did. But it was NATURAL, the way all siblings interact. Homeschooling was not a solution to being a family! Every form of education has it’s limits.
Tip #4: Will I have time to get all my projects done while the kids do school?
W- e- l- l …. for sure any learner under 5th grade needs help and I challenge you: Are you HOMEschooling or SCHOOLING at home? There is a difference. (And your answer is 100% OK…guilt free perfect. It just must fit YOUR FAMILY, whichever answer you give, if you are SCHOOLING at home I will have tips for you in a future post, because it is fundamentally different than homeschooling. (Not wrong, just different. When I returned to work, we did school at home for awhile when I was adjusting!)
Remember the single most important element was a relationship with your learner. You can’t be a full time blogger and sell Essential oils and sit and learn along side your children. They need you for a majority of the school day, THEN you are free to oil the universe! There is so much joy in learning and discovering together. This also helps you gauge the workload. If you feel overworked and burnt out by how much work there is in a school day, then it’s likely too much for them. Homeschooling shouldn’t take from 8 – 3 each day.
Tip #5: My best friend just enrolled in this great charter.
…or left the charter and is going rogue…or unschooling or gameschooling or WHATEVER someone else is doing that YOU are not doing….
Please, don’t compare. The flexibility of homeschooling is it’s STRENGTH. Do what works for your family, all of them. There are blended- schooling families out there: Some children homeschooling or unschooled and other children attend public or private school. Let me say it again: The flexibility of homeschooling is it’s STRENGTH. Comparing is the fastest way to doubting your abilities and damaging your relationships.
Tip #6: How do I know my curriculum is right?
This is the easiest of all. You don’t. But it’s YOUR school! If something isn’t working, no matter what point you are in the school year, give yourself permission to make the necessary changes to keep your relationship with your child top priority. If you are making a recipe and it calls for 2 tablespoons of salt, but every time you serve dinner the family says it’s too salty, what are you going to do? ADAPT, I know you will put less salt! Little changes or big changes. I have personally scrapped entire curriculums because they just didn’t work like I thought they would. Classroom teachers are STUCK – they have to stick to the standards and the tests and do what the districts tell them to, even when it isn’t working! Homeschoolers get to make changes as many times as they need to!
Tip #7: I’m worried about keeping up with EVERYTHING, it’s a lot!
You’re right, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedules in whatever form they look like for your family help. Some homeschool bright and early in the morning, others hold afternoon school. Many families only school 4 days a week and do “chores & errands” the other three days. Then there are my favorite days of all… FREE CHOICE DAYS. When you just need a break, serve pop tarts for breakfast and give the kids free choice learning. They get to pick what to do for school: games, reading, even a movie. Just let it go, because EVERYTHING is learning. Allow yourself to reset.
At the beginning I told you the “spoiler” for Homeschooling – you just do it. Another way to look at it would be this: Homeschooling is a bit like swimming, you have to get in the water and swim in order to truly get the hang of it, but I assure you you won’t drown or mess up your kids.
In 1994 I was a first year teacher. Those poor kids, all 42 of them! But you know what? THEY LEARNED! (And so did I!- I’m still learning!) Everyone is new when they first start any job!
Tip #8 is to: Join a group of like-minded homeschoolers.
Sometimes this takes time, but your “peeps” are out there. There are groups on Facebook, Park Groups, Church Groups – you name it! Happy Hive Homeschooling is one of THOSE groups designed to provide support along your journey. Our Blog and the Curriculum Club are excellent resources. We also offer educational consulting for those families that want the security of a credentialed teacher behind them. Our Private School Satellite Program is designed to assist you in your Homeschool Journey with curriculum coaching, report card and transcript creation and monthly support. For more information Check out our Education Consulting Page.
If you would like a printable version of the images found in this post, they are available to members of our Curriculum Club! Not a member yet? It’s Free. Simply sign up by filling out the form below and you will have access to these printables and monthly resources!
I hope you will consider sharing this article, pinning it for later and coming back for another visit. I hope whatever educational Journey you are on – it is BLESSED!