When it comes to homeschooling you may not have any idea where to start. You read every book and make plans, but you’re just not sure if you are doing things right and covering everything you need to do. Your first year is the hardest because you have to find your groove, but if you follow these helpful tips for homeschoolers, you’ll gain confidence in your decision.
Helpful Tips for Homeschoolers: What to Do Your First Year
1) Do an assessment of your child’s skill levels
This is very important if you are pulling your child from a traditional school. In large classrooms, teachers are unable to give kids the same one on one attention they can get homeschooling. Often children fall through the cracks many making it through the school system with limited reading, writing, and math skills. You can find free assessment tests online from most major curriculum companies.
2) Throw out the rules
While it can seem scary at first the best thing you can do in your first year of homeschooling is to throw out the traditional rules. Let your kids do school in their pajamas, allow them to do may laying on the living room floor, and don’t try and force 8 hours of school into a day. School children don’t even do school lessons 8 hours away. A lot of time is spent moving between activities, calming 30+ children down, recess, and lunches … all things you can avoid.
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3) Try something new
One of the advantages to homeschool is your child has more time to find interests and give hobbies extra attention. Challenge your child to try something new in your first year of homeschooling with all of that extra time.
Go to new places. Use your first year homeschooling opportunity to fall in love with field trips. Look for free events, educational activities, and hit every cheap or free museum and educational spot your area offers. This is a great way to foster a love of learning.
4) Learn something new with your child
One of the best ways we teach is by example. Let your child see you learning with them, and they will be more encouraged to learn as well. And recognize that learning is a lifelong process.
5) Read – A LOT
Reading is fundamental to learning. Read to your child, have your child read to you. Teach by example and let your child see you reading on your own. This helps you lay a good foundation for your child’s education. You also expose your children to different places and people, often prompting them to want to learn more.
And don’t shy away from using audiobooks and read-to-me books. As they listen, you kids are being exposed to language, helping them to build their vocabulary and comprehension.
6) Take a different direction if needed.
So you bought that amazing homeschool curriculum with rave reviews but it’s not working for you? That is okay. Change gears and try something else instead of sticking to something you and your child do not enjoy. Remember, you have that as a homeschooler, you have FREEDOM.
7) Connect with other homeschool families.
Homeschooling is best done in a community, not an island. Join homeschool Facebook groups where you can ask questions and get answers. Find your local co-op or meet up and make local homeschooling friends if possible.
It’s helpful to find some families who are farther into their journey. These mentors can share their experiences and hopefully, you can avoid some mistakes they had made.
8) Find a routine that works for you.
It is easy to over schedule and stresses yourself out which does no one any good. Build routines that will help your family thrive and find activities but not so many that you wonder how you will find time and energy for it all. Once again, remember that there is a FREEDOM that comes with homeschooling. Freedom to use your time in a way that will benefit your whole family.
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9) Celebrate your family’s accomplishments and your new homeschooling life.
Throw a not-back-to-school party for your kids. Take photos through the year like the proud mommas do on the first and last days of school. Party on Dr. Seuss’ birthday and do holiday crafts. Share your child’s accomplishments with friends and family when they master something they struggled with just like you would if they went to a traditional school.
Considering these tips will help you have a successful first year of homeschooling, plus you’ll set a tone for years to come as you embrace the freedom of your family’s new way of education.