Starting your homeschool journey can be an exciting and scary time. Naturally you’re filled with questions. You may even be a little scared. And you might be worried that you’ll fail, or that your kids will fail – after all, their future is in your hands, right? Yes! And that’s a good thing. You know your child best and no one cares more about your child, their well-being, their education, or their future than you do!
You’ve got this! Just like the other 2-million families currently homeschooling in America, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
We decided to talk with some moms who have been homeschooling for a while now. We wanted to hear their best advice for new homeschool moms. Check it out…
I’d suggest take some time to enjoy your kids. Get to know their learning styles. Search out some different curriculum to see what might be a good fit for your family. Most importantly I’d try and find a tribe. Some people to walk with on this crazy adventure.
— Beth, Maine
Don’t compare yourself to public school system. The journey will look very different!
— Ashleigh, California
1. Take time off from school and focus on your relationships. This may take several months and that’s totally okay!! Children must be emotional secure for academic learning to take place. Rushing this step will lead to frustration all around.
2. Find a daily rhythm that works for your family. Are you early birds or night owls? Where do chores fit in? There’s an ebb and flow here but finding a rhythm helps. Rhythms work better for us over a schedule because of the flexibility.
3. Assess their academic level. Google “free grade level assesments”.
— Rosemary, Maine
Deschool! We started our journey unexpectedly almost 2 years ago.
— Brandi, Georgia
Do not compare yourselves to any other family. Each child is unique and special. Even if there are days when you wish you could sell them to the Gypsies.
— Cecilia, Maryland
Try not to simulate the classroom. Homeschool is supposed to be different and that’s okay.
— Lydia, Oregon
Stay flexible and don’t get discouraged.
Deschool. Deschool. Deschool.
DO NOT BUY the most expensive curriculum. We spend about $800 the first year for two kids… $500 the next…. and now going into year seven and we have three homeschooling and advanced in some classes too and we spent $150 for all three total – hahaha
— Laurel, Louisiana
Deschool! Enjoy! Remember it’s homeschooling not schooling at home. You’re not alone. And yes challenges will arise – but that’s ok. When that happens, take a break & relax, then start again.
— Devie, Kentucky
Give yourself some grace. We pulled our son out unexpectedly the Friday before Spring break (three years ago) and never looked back. We do fun learning (not classroom style). The quicker you learn to school on your own terms the better. Whatever you do, don’t school based in a regular school system. Do what works for you and your family.
— Takisha, Florida
Remember, you always have time to figure it out. You can buy time by encouraging your kids to read books, go to museums or other learning places, or take classes in something or music lessons. Meanwhile, start looking into curriculums and reading books about homeschooling in order to find where you fit.
— Pat, Montana
Start your days at whatever time you find is easier for your child and you. There’s no race. We all go at our own speed. Our kids and I take field trips to museums, library, zoo, aquarium and it all counts as learning. If your child gets antsy, give them a break and go outside and run around or just enjoy nature. School should be something that teaches and excites not tortures and takes eight hours for no good reason. Just try to relax, go with your own flow. There will be bad days and good days but everyday you get to spend with your child is a great day! I’d never trade homeschool for public or anything again.
— Kimberly, New Jersey
Shake off everything you know of ‘school’ and the structure you think you’re supposed to emulate.
— Melissa, New York
De-school for a bit to help you and your kids get a fresh start. I wish I had with my son 7 years ago. I was so excited and worried that I jumped right in with both feet. I wish I would have slowed down and worked with him a little while before I jumped into curriculum. I wish I would have developed my rapport, as his teacher, first. However, I would not change my decision to homeschool for anything! It has been the most intense, exciting, scary, rewarding and grateful experience I have ever had!!!
— Laura, Florida
My two cents –
Get used to being together without trying to immediately begin schooling. Take some time to deprogram/deschool and in that time get a game plan.
Some questions to ask yourself:
What’s important to you?
What are your family’s goals?
What do you value that you want to instill in your children?
When you know what you’re about then you can determine your next steps.
Choosing to homeschooling is a life change. It takes time for everyone involved to get adjusted.
Blessings to you!
— Samantha, Florida
Enjoy your children and this fresh start!!!
— Rosie, California
1) Take a deep breath.
2) Evaluate. Will your child/children be returning to regular school any time soon? Or is this a long haul situation?
3) Check your state laws regarding homeschooling and what it takes to comply…. then watch kids to see how they learn and ask what they want to learn about.
4) Break up the day with fun.
5) Strengthen your family.
6) Repeat deep breathing, evaluating, and watching.
7) Don’t be afraid to toss out the curriculum and start over.
— Ashley, Utah
I’ve been homeschooling for 10 years. Assess exactly where your child is at academically, make a schedule that works for your family, respond with patience and enjoy the journey!
— Jamishia, Missouri
Do your best – cut your expectations in half. Give you and your child grace for bad days and be proud of the good ones.
— Nicci, Indiana
Be flexible. I have a daily schedule I try to follow. It’s more like guidelines and reminders to stay on track. Be willing to bend to your child’s interest.
— Sally, Washington
Look at the child, not the to-do list. The first 2 years I felt so much pressure (self-imposed) to get it all done. When I started to feel more like a drill sergeant than Mom and I knew something had to change. Infuse your day with joy and wonder. Be sure to do things that you (Mom) enjoy, alongside the essentials. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Prioritize relationships and character. Also, if you take a long break to get your footing…it will be okay! Also there are many homeschooling moms online who are very encouraging!
— Heather, Maryland
You wont mess them up. 👍
— Jenny, Georgia
Detox from public school life first. Homeschool doesn’t mean “school at home.” Right now you’re determining what methods are best for your kids as individuals, so you don’t have to do everything the way the schools do it. Take your time. Be okay if things don’t work out. I’m a professional teacher too, and rolling over stuff to the next day is just part of learning.
— Krys, Texas
First step, check out your state homeschooling regulations (these vary radically from state to state -from no *paperwork* in TX, to annual reviews in PA, to quarterly in NY)…so…what state are you in?
— Denise, Texas
Don’t over do it. Take it one day or even one lesson at a time. Homeschool isn’t public school so it shouldn’t be treated the same way. For instance today I took a mental health day for ME because I needed a day to just not worry about school my eldest that I homeschool had a day off to just play and relax. It was needed and because were homeschooling I have the freedom to just take a day.
— Johnna, New Jersey
Keep it simple. I focus on the 3 Rs and do a little extra in science and history every other day.
It is overwhelming. It’s quite difficult to get out of the public school mindset especially when one has gone through it. You can do it!
Laugh! When something is not working that day. Give yourself grace.
— Jen, Georgia
Take your time. Get good advice and find a mentor.
— Gidget, Indiana
Don’t push, slowly get into it. Do a few lessons a day while playing with them. Then switch up the routine every week by adding a lesson.
— Misty, Nevada
Community for support!
Readers are leaders, parents and students both!
Get your professional development yearly – to learn your teaching style and your kids learning style and seek out curriculum that fits both!
Stop the insanity…it’s ok to not finish/quit something that doesn’t work!
Teaching From Rest is a great book!
— Theresa, Louisiana
Relax, a good curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive, what works for everyone else may not work for yours and that’s ok, work at your child’s level and not the last grade they were in or going to, every child has their own learning style, homeschool does not look like public school.
— Whitney, Florida
Relax!! My son is 13 and he is unschooled and he is brilliant! I wasted a ton of money on various curriculum and finally realized that if I just let him be him, he will learn all he needs to know on his own. He is my 4th child, my oldest is 31 and I wish I had done this with all of them! The oldest went to West Point, the next one skipped 8th grade. The next one, my only girl, skipped kindergarten, started college at 13, (just taking one class at a time at first) is 18 and graduating with an AA degree with a 3.9 GPA. It wasn’t school that made them smart, it was a love of learning and the BIGGIE….READING!!!!! We also never had TV.
— Linda, New Jersey
Take it one day at a time, and don’t sweat it if you don’t accomplish everything that you set out to do on any given day.
— Shelly, Indiana
1. Most homeschooling families do best when they don’t try to recreate school at home. (Find your own way, what works for your family.)
2. Take some serious time to deschool. It will help you detox and relax from public school, and help you figure things out.
— Jennifer, Florida
Consistency is key with stubborn kiddos. We keep a routine. You could offer electives like gardening, home economics (cooking/sewing), basket weaving etc. Homeschooling our preschooler, but he’ll be attending a small private school for kindergarten due to our new hectic work schedules..
— Jessica, Georgia
Take it day by day, have fun, be creative.
— Nina, Missouri
Be flexible and willing to change your approach. Every homeschooling family I know has made numerous adjustments before they settled on the perfect system for them. Also, change your perspective to realize that there are learning opportunities EVERYWHERE, not just sitting in a seat doing a workbook.
— Raychel, Indiana
Give yourself grace. Your children are learning more then you realize.