I remember when I started homeschooling my first son, I was so frantic and stressed out about it. I was just sure I would screw him up entirely! I really just wanted to see how someone else did it so I could get a picture of what it was supposed to look like. I know some of you are way ahead of me in this, some are just starting, and some of you don’t want to touch homeschooling with a ten foot pole! But, for those that want an idea of what it looks like in one unorganized and crazy household, this is for you. Here are a few homeschooling tips that I’ve learned over the last few years.
It’s crazy to think next year I’ll be entering six years of homeschooling! Wow! I want to lay a myth to rest right here. If you are thinking that at the end of every school year you’ll be happily looking forward to the next, excited to do it again…uh hem… it’s never been that way for me. I do love to school my children, but I always need some time in the summer to take a break and re-up for the next year. Like anything that you gives a great return on your investment, homeschooling is hard work, very hard work. It’s also lots of fun, at least it can be.
I’m often asked what curriculum I use by mom’s that are just beginning this journey. I also remember going to other mom’s when I was starting out and asking the same question. The most seasoned mom’s would very hesitantly give me an answer, and now I know why. Even though I could tell you what I use and what I like, I also could tell you of 20 other types of curriculum that are wonderful and would work just as well. The point is that really, if you are consistent in schooling, no matter what style or curriculum you use, your kids will probably be successful. Homeschooling is so individual, it can be tweaked and changed to fit the individual needs of the family, and that is the beauty of it. I will share a few simple tips that I’ve learned along the way :
1) Reading a lot of books will absolutely help your children get a good education. Especially in the younger grades. The more time spent reading books of value the better. Most of kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade should be about reading great books together. Exploring the world, learning about different cultures, reading about science topics… this should take up the bulk of your schooling day. Also, I was told by seasoned mom’s that at these ages, your schooling day really should not be more than 1.5-2 hrs. Yes, they can learn what they need in that amount of time broken up throughout the day.
2) Don’t stress! Another beautiful thing about home school is you can let each child move at their own pace whether that is slower or faster than their “grade” level. Don’t stress if they are struggling with a skill, they will get it over time. Don’t try to push them to be advanced, (who is that for anyway? It’s not for them…) if they are ready for a new skill you’ll know it. Don’t compare your kids to others, just compare them to themselves and celebrate their improvements.
3) Teach Life Skills. One thing I think that is sorely missing in our education system is teaching the skills necessary for people to succeed in life. Don’t forget these things or put them off as not educational, if you don’t equip your kids to learn how to manage their finances and life, who will? Also teach them things like cooking, cleaning, basic care for themselves and their home-this IS education.
I will stop here. I just wanted to share a couple tips. Keep it simple, stay consistent, and your kids will do well, I promise! I hope that is encouraging to you guys that are just starting out, those that are further along in the journey, how about sharing some of your tips?