I want to extend a hearty welcome to all the new Homeschool Mamas out there. And there are a lovely lot of you!
There are a thousand reasons to homeschool, all grounded in quality of education, health, safety, travel, opportunity, personal development, experience, sports, etc. But sadly the number one reason many people are driven to homeschool this particular year is “health and safety.” I am hopeful, that as the virus becomes less of a worry, many who are testing the homeschool waters this year will have a positive experience in spite of the motivating factors.
Forging a new path for your family is a beautiful, hard thing to do. But you do not have to go it alone.
Homeschool resources are far more abundant today than they used to be. With the late changes in school offerings, many busy families are quickly pivoting and wondering, “How do we teach subjects we are unfamiliar with?” and “How do we teach multiple ages at the same time?” These are great questions and also are examples of the worry that happens when we try to fit the square peg of traditional school into the beautiful, round, misshapen, wonky circle that is homeschool. The traditional peg kind of fits, but not really.
After you figure out your start date and basic plan, then what? Below is a check-list that might help your small school take shape.
Basic check-list for your new homeschool action plan:
• Commit to TRY something new. Set this in motion by starting a family conversation. *Homeschool is more than just school-at-home.
• Ask questions of your child(ren) and incorporate their ideas and wishes into your new school plan.
• Know your state homeschool laws.
• Choose a curriculum for each student individually.
• Set a loose schedule for your days and a looser schedule for the year.
• Start positive. Take (& post!) back to school photos, go back-to-school clothes shopping, buy supplies together.
Remember to take good care of yourself. When homeschooling, your family needs you whole and happy!
My recommendations are based on my experience and research over the years and are not the rule book. There is no rule book. You will adjust and change and evolve as suits your family over time. It does take some time and effort to get a new school set up and you will get there. Be patient with yourself and the process.
More tips and ideas:
- Take care of yourself. If you had a regular gym schedule, keep doing that! However, move the time of your workouts to either well-before school starts, or in the evenings. Take advantage of the weekends to do the bulk of your longer workouts.
- Get organized. I cannot stress enough how organization is key to homeschool health. Start a binder for each child with tabs for course descriptions, online course passwords, attendance charts, tests, writing samples, reading list, annual assessments, awards, locations of field studies. Set yourself up for success by being organized. Keep track of everything.
- Grocery shop. On Sundays, think ahead about having healthy snacks and lunch options in the fridge for the week ahead. Well-nourished students perform better. So do you.
- Read up! There are some great books out there on homeschool theory, life and basic organization. Since each homeschool is unique, every book you read on a range of related topics will make a difference. At the heart of homeschooling is an un-written mandate to go with the flow. One book I love is about the heart of homeschooling, titled The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart. Also check out: Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. All helpful.
- Set some ground rules. Create a “School Year Pledge.” Each new school year I print out a similar version or our school rules for the year. I give this to each of my kids in the fall as a reminder that our school works best when we all know what is expected. I believe children find comfort in parameters and every school functions better with some understood ground rules in place.
- Upgrade your equipment. Do an in-house evaluation of your homeschool infrastructure. Are your computers up-to-date? Can your internet be upgraded? Do you have a reliable printer that also makes photo-copies? It helps if each student has their own laptop computer, especially with so many online course options these days. Just as important are the other supplies like, a large whiteboard, pencils, erasers, markers and plenty of stickers for thumbs-up grading.
- Create school hours. Think about how you want your day to go and create your specific homeschool hours. These hours should be sacrosanct. Unless unavoidable, try not to book any appointments or disruptions to your school day. Even the smallest visit from an electrician or neighbor can de-rail your kids’ concentration and your ability to get the most out of the day.
- Allow for the unexpected. One of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is the ability to get happily off-course in a subject. Meandering through studies organically invites deep learning. If something is really fun or interesting and you have a captive audience, then let that subject unwind itself. Go down that rabbit-hole of boundless pursuit along with your kids!
Every homeschool is different and each family has to forge their own path. With a little advice and help from others, I promise you, you CAN do this! Enjoy this new thing you are doing and find a reason everyday to breathe deep and smile!
Click here to book an appointment with me: Homeschool Coach Club.
Welcome to the club!