When I started homeschooling my first child, there was so much information out there that it made me feel overwhelmed. How do you know what to use? What resources are the best? The worst? It seems like no one has all of the answers and everyone is contradicting each other! Learning how to homeschool your kid without feeling lost can be a challenge.
In this blog post, we're going to go over 7 things I wish I knew when starting homeschooling my child!
1. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Getting started with homeschooling can be intimidating and difficult. You never know what you don't know, so it's important to ask for help from others who've been in your shoes! Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there just waiting to answer all of your questions, if only you knew where to find them. Feel free to reach out to us or other homeschooling parents you know. We all know what it was like to get started and you will find lots of helpful parents along the way if you just reach out. There are so many resources out there waiting to help you, from how and when to homeschool your child all the way through college. You can use YouTube and a lot of blogs to examine more in-depth each style of homeschooling.
We're so excited that we've been able to be a part of homeschooling and other families over the years. We want this blog post to be a launching point for new homeschoolers who are just getting started on their educational journey with their kids.
If you need to know the legal choices or requirements in your area. The Home School Legal Defense Association is a great resource for US-based homeschoolers.
2. You don't have to know everything about every subject
There are resources not just for you to learn about homeschooling, but tons of resources to help you academically with your students as well. We have used resources like Khan Academy, Icivics (A wonderful program to learn about US civics and history that I will do a review on later), and again Youtube to explain different concepts or re-explain ideas that maybe didn't click the first time.
• Khan Academy: This is a great resource for explaining math concepts, science, and more. They also have an app!
• Icivics: I enjoy this program because it's not just videos you watch but there are complete lessons and readings and activities with games
3. Be prepared for setbacks and challenges
A homeschooling parent can't expect to have a perfect family life, but with patience and understanding, it will get better. Know that you'll never be able to please everyone - both your child and their grandparents might want different things for them, or they may not understand the reason why you're homeschooling in the first place.
Some of the setbacks to homeschooling are that kids can get bored and may have difficulty socializing with people outside their family. This is easily remedied by getting out more and not being stuck in the house all the time. You'll also need to be prepared for setbacks like when your child is sick and needs more attention than they normally do, or if you're not feeling well either. The great thing is that you can typically take these days off and catch up easily enough when they are better.
Advantages: Homeschooled children typically score higher on standardized tests in math, science, reading comprehension - even languages!
An advantage to homeschooling is that a parent can create an individualized education plan for each student instead of relying solely on what one school district offers. This way no matter how different my two kid's personalities may turn out, I will know they have the opportunity to learn in a way that best suits their individual needs.
4. Homeschooling is not a one-size-fits-all solution
Homeschooling is not the best solution for everyone. While it can be a great option, homeschoolers may lack opportunities to socialize with other children and teens their age while they're at school. A lot of this will depend on your family's income situation, the legality of homeschooling where you are, and the other activities and things available to you outside of public school.
While I am excited about what's in store this year, there are some drawbacks that I know will come up - but none of them have stopped me from wanting to give my child an education that fits his needs as well as he deserves... My kids need different things than other people do! And if we can make sure they get those things without having to spend hours commuting each day or struggling through crowds of unruly middle-schoolers every morning, isn't that worth more?
5. Make sure your child has friends outside of school, even if they're not homeschooled
This is vital. We homeschool our kids, but they have had friends who go to public school and other homeschoolers in the area that they used to get together with on a weekly basis at least when we lived in one stationary place. It's really important for us to make sure there are people outside of your home that they can be themselves around - especially if you're unschooling or want to wait until high school before deciding what kind of education they'll need - but also just as important so that their social skills don't atrophy from lack of practice! They need time away from textbooks too ?
There are homeschool coops, youth sports, camps, and many other options in most cities. If you have nothing they are interested in near you, you can find social groups online for your kids as well.
6. Get involved in the homeschool community as much as possible
If you're homeschooling your kids, it's really important to find other parents who are doing the same thing and form a community.
Take advantage of homeschool co-ops if there are any in your area - they'll be able to provide you with information about what's available locally for activities and socialization! If not, try checking out online communities for homeschoolers or even just looking up resources like Mindshift that can help guide you on how to make sure that unschooled children have opportunities for both learning experiences outside of school as well as time at home where they can do whatever interests them. You might also want to consider joining groups like the ones we run for different interests like Lord of the Rings, Wings of Fire, Pokemon, and a few Dungeons and Dragons type classes.
7. Remember that you are human and not a superhero
We have to remember that we can not do everything and that most likely you are doing the best thing for your child. Just do the best you can and make the homeschooling thing sustainable. You can not burn the candle at both ends forever and you and everyone around you will suffer when you reach your breaking point.
One of the things I wish my homeschooling mom friends told me was that it's ok to ask for help. There are so many people out there who want to be part of your homeschooling experience and will give you encouragement or resources when they know what is going on in your life specifically.
I also wish someone had said that homeschooling doesn't mean we have to create a rigid path for our kids with every second accounted for, but can let them explore their interests as they arise within certain parameters like not being home all day long."
There are so many types of homeschooling
• Classical homeschooling (set homeschooling curriculum, not majorly different from public school )
• Unschooling (No set curriculum, learning through experiences and interest-based
• Worldschooling (some sort of homeschooling while traveling the world)
What do we do? We do a mixture of all of these, through trial and error we have come to the conclusion that not one way was right for our kids. They wanted a set curriculum for math and science and then the rest is all interest-based. We do this as we travel the world for most of the year.
What do I want you to take away from this?
"When I was starting with my kids' homeschooling journey, my biggest fear was not being able to "teach them everything." What they didn't know would make or break us. The truth is: we can never teach our children everything. They will always be learning whether at home or in a classroom setting--and that's what education should focus on anyway! It's about the process as much as it is about content knowledge."
Another thing to remember is that even though it might feel like a lot at first, there are plenty of resources out there for anyone who wants advice on what they can do as parents or guardians. There's no one-size-fits-all approach and so don't worry if everything doesn't seem perfect in the early days - just make sure that you're listening to yourself enough to figure out how much help your child needs from you!
If you need a partner to help you navigate curriculums or to help with subjects or anything, just reach out to us and we will see how we can be a partner in you and your learner's success.
Trammell Classes is an online school that uses interest-based learning to teach children in grades K-12. Trammell Classes provides a safe, secure environment for your child to explore their interests and learn at their own pace. Trammell Classes provides a way for children to experience interest-based learning and homeschooling online. The ultimate goal of Trammell Classes is to help kids get interested in learning again!
Co-Founder and Instructor for Trammell Classes