10 Words For New Homeschoolers

Now that I’ve been homeschooling for several years, with several different kids – I wanted to offer my top 10 words for new homeschoolers. Whether you are just making the decision, or  you have been doing this for the first year, these words are for you.

10 words for new homeschoolers

Homeschooling Family on Shutterstock

  1. Relax. When you first start homeschooling, everything is overwhelming. There is curriculum and methodology and classes and opinions and guilt and stress and questions. Just … relax. Step back. There’s no obligation to throw yourself into the action and do ANYTHING. Just take things slow. Take deep breaths and just take the time you need to figure things out.
  2. Play. Even when doesn’t “feel” like it, it’s important to remember that play IS actually learning. Kids play to learn lots of things: gross and fine motor skills, problem solving, emotional reactions, how to be creative, interacting with others, and much more. It’s not wasted time. It’s actually vital. So, let them play. Or, better yet, get down on the floor and join them.
  3. Ask. Reference the people who are already ahead of you on your journey. Pick their brains for experience and wisdom. Find out what worked and didn’t work with their family. Ask about local activities, conferences, support systems. Their knowledge is invaluable. Be sure to ask more than 1 person, as everyone’s homeschooling experience is different.
  4. Believe. You need to feel passionate about this choice. People who don’t know about homeschooling are likely to question you, repeatedly. If you don’t know why are you are doing this, it can be easy to feel belittled or guilt-ridden. You need to have strong will and determination to make it work. Faith in yourself and the choices you make goes a long way to success.
  5. Support. Find people who will come alongside you on your journey. A local homeschool group, friends and family who want to encourage you, an online community who can answer any question you throw at them – these are just a few examples of support systems you can (and should!) tap into.
  6. Network. Get to know the people and businesses and online communities that are relevant to homeschooling. Building a network means that you have people to back you up but also that you have answers at your fingertips – maybe even discounts or places to trade products. You never know the full benefits of networking until you need to ask for something!
  7. Enjoy. Don’t spend all your time stressing out or researching or feeling guilty. Enjoy the experience as much as you can. Savour the look of understanding when it lights up your child’s eyes. Soak up the love as they cuddle with you while you read aloud. Giggle with them when they find something funny or do something wrong resulting in hilarity. Be a cheerleader for their success and remind yourself that this time is short – even if it feels like it’s lasting forever.
  8. Learn. Be a good role model – always be learning yourself. Even if that’s as simple as learning alongside them. Maybe math has always been your struggle – use this opportunity to work on strengthening your skills. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet or play the piano. Take the time to do that now with your children watching. Teach them the skills to find out how to learn anything they want. Take baby steps together.
  9. Listen. Hear what your child is saying, asking, wondering. The off-handed, but sincerely curious questions of a child can lead to amazing learning experiences. Follow their lead, even if you are following a set curriculum. There’s always a teaching opportunity based on their passions and questions. Things we learn when we are interested stick with us much longer than things we learned because we had to.
  10. Frugality. See if you can get something used, on sale, or as a trade before you go out and buy it new. Check out swap sites, garage sales, discount bins, friends’ bookshelves, curriculum sales, the library, online archives, consignment stores, and other similar places first. There’s so much out there for homeschoolers to support their learning plans without paying an exorbitant amount of money. You just have to be willing to look for it.
All the best as you prepare for a terrific adventure called homeschooling!

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