Save Yourself the Headache | A Compilation of tips from Utah Homeschool Moms
Being a homeschool newbie is hard! There is just as much for us moms to learn as our children! Maybe even MORE! Below is a compilation of words of wisdom given by seasoned homeschool moms of things they have learned along their homeschooling journey. Hopefully many of these snippets of wisdom will be just what you need to hear to help calm your anxiety as you embark on this WONDERFUL new adventure with your family! (First advice - take a deep breath! You've can do this!)
Do not under any circumstances just recreate public school in your home. That is the quickest way to burn out and it is not educationally beneficial to your children. Public school and homeschool are two different ways to educate your children.
Cute schoolrooms are really cute, but kids can and will be successful doing their school work wherever they feel comfortable - which is often on the floor or at the kitchen table.
Scratching or adapting plans because something is not working is NOT failure. It is growth and a learning experience. (You didn't just "waste" a month/semester/year.)
Take advantage (or start on your own) a Not-Back-To-School party in your area. Fun traditions like these at the beginning of the traditional school year help children recognize the freedom they enjoy as homeschoolers. Find homeschool Christmas parties, Valentine's parties, Halloween parties, etc. And if you can't find any, start your own!
If you don't homeschool year round, "slow start" your school year by adding subjects in one or two at a time instead of jumping into EVERY subject on the same day.
Most kids THRIVE on habits and routines. They don't have to be ridiculously strict (Math at 9:05, Reading at 10:15, etc.) but morning and afternoon routines help set everyone's expectations and help things run more smoothly.
Chores are part of the school day.
Find which Education Philosophy best matches up with your (and your children's) personality. This will give you a starting place to look for curriculum, resources, and groups that match with who you are. (http://eclectic-homeschool.com/homeschool-philosophies-quiz/)
Realize that even though you may have an Educational Philosophy that you love and lean on, very few of us are purists, and as time goes on it's ok to adapt and personalize your philosophy even more to fit who you are. We're all "eclectic" in the end.
Find homeschool friends, both for your children and for yourself.
Homeschooling is just parenting on major steroids! If you aren't confident in your parenting skills, read parenting books and work on that before you read homeschooling books. (Google Nicholeen Peck!)
Not all kids are ready to read at age 5. When your child is ready, it will happen. Set your goal to be less stress and pressure, and more love.
There are gaps in EVERYONE'S education. This is not a problem that homeschoolers have. You don't need to worry about it.
Bad days will come whether you homeschool or not. When they do come, remember your "why." WHY did you choose to homeschool in the first place? WHY is it so important to you? Focus on your "why" and just try again tomorrow.
Always have a fun day, or field trip, or adventure day on the calendar. Homeschooling very, very rarely only happens inside the walls of your home. Now that you have the freedom to plan your own schedule independent of the public school, don't forget to schedule in all the field trips, the park days, the hikes, the pool days, vacations, etc.
Back to school time can be hard because you have to get into routine again. December can be hard because there is just always so many holiday things to do and nobody wants to do "school" anymore. February and/or March can be hard because it's just the grey, cold, slump time of year. But if you anticipate these potential hazards, you can mentally prepare and mitigate. Also, it's ok if you just don't do any "school" for a week - or a month.
Comparison is the thief of joy. (C.S. Lewis was so wise!)
Curriculum should be your servant, not your master
Learning Gaps are opportunities to learn, not failure.
It's not a race, your kids aren't ahead or behind