Let’s get right to it, shall we?
#1 Let go of insecurities!
This is numero uno for a reason! If you can do this, than the rest of your year will be so much easier. When friends and family find out you’re making the decision to homeschool, you can bet that you’re going to get mixed reactions. People will offer their unsolicited advice and opinions on just about everything. You have to teach yourself to have faith in your choice of education and not care what others think about it!
#2 Let go of your own expectations.
The reality of homeschool is SO much different than what you envisioned when you signed up for this task. Things you thought your kids would love will cause meltdowns at the dining room table. All those pictures of happy kids learning hands on? Forget about it! And, last but not least, your kids WILL annoy you and you will want to cry. Just know that you’re going to have bad days. But, you will recover. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Especially, if you’re transitioning from public school to homeschool. You kids are going to have to adjust. Give it time.
#3 Remember the heart of homeschool
Now that #1 and #2 are out of the way, you can regroup, be a big girl, and take a deep breathe! It’s time to remember why you signed up for this task in the first place. Whatever your reason for homeschooling may be, I want you to write it down in no more than three sentences. For example, when I began homeschooling, I would have written this:
“I want to build my son’s confidence back up and help him find his smile again. I want to give him time to mend from many of the trials we faced at public school, and I want him to enjoy learning again.”
Got it? Go ahead and write down your homeschool mission right now.
Yes, I wanted to find the right curriculum for his learning styles. Yes, I was thrilled to incorporate biblical values in our learning. Of course, I wanted to have a successful year, be a good teacher, make sure I taught him enough…blah, blah, blah. But, what really mattered to me was the two sentences I shared above. You have to remember why you made the decision to homeschool in the first place, and you will need to remind yourself daily! Everything else you will do needs to fall into place around your homeschool mission. And remember, your mission field does not have to look like every one else’s.
#4 Expect Trial and Error
Some things you try won’t work and you’ll have to come up with a plan B,C, and sometimes…Z. Perhaps the curriculum you thought was going to be fantastic isn’t a good fit for your child, or the homeschool group you recently joined isn’t really working out. That’s OK! Don’t stay committed to something that isn’t working. I’m not telling you to be scattered brained and do a hundred different things without giving it a realistic trial period. But, the truth is some things don’t work, and you’re better off trying something different.
#5 Expect interruptions!
Here’s the thing with homeschool…You’re at home! You will have interruptions. The house will need to be cleaned, dinner will need be cooked, and doctor appointments will fall right smack in the middle of that science experiment you had planned! It’s part of the deal. Be able to regroup without letting it get you down. Keep in mind that the things that are distracting for you, are even more distracting for your kids.
#6 Eliminate Unnecessary Interruptions
You can eliminate some interruptions by staying ahead of them. Make a list of the things that are causing unnecessary interruptions in your day, and think about what you can do to reduce them. For example, leave the housework for after school, turn your phone and laptop off during school hours, or wake up an hour earlier to throw in a load of laundry or take dinner out of the freezer. Pinpoint the areas you can control distractions. You won’t be able to control all interruptions, but many of them can be reduced. You’d be surprised!
#7 Slow down, girl! You can’t do it all!
You will be overwhelmed with the abundance of curriculum, books, activities, resources, printables, and everything that’s out there for homeschooling families! I’m just going to tell you right now, it.is.crazy. Aside from those changes that must be made, don’t go crazy buying a ton of stuff, signing up for emails, and joining every group that’s available to you. Take it slow, stay focused on #3, and really ask yourself if what you’re buying/signing up for will benefit your goals for the year. There’s always next year. You just can’t do it all! Overstimulated kids are no fun. In some cases the change in routine (if you’re transitioning) is enough to stomach.
#8 Make time for your kids
This may seem a little weird since you’re going to be with your kids all day, but you wear two hats now. Mom and teacher. The teacher hat will begin to suck all the “mom” right out of your day. You will have to implement some focused time during the day when the kids still get your attention after school hours. This is hard, because you will want to lock yourself in your room with a glass of wine after a long day, but remember, the kids need to connect with “mom” too! Even if you set an appointment with each child. Do whatever you have to do to show them that mom isn’t going anywhere. Thirty minutes of video games or a favorite craft will show your kids you still have time for the child, not just the student.
#9 Make time for yourself!
You need that pedicure! Go grocery shopping alone! Go for a walk. Do absolutley anything you can think of, without your kids! You need to get away from them now more than ever. Talk to your spouse about this. This should be a topic that’s addressed when you’re in the decisions making stage. He needs to know that you’re going to need a break!
#10 Your husband won’t get it.
No offense to our hardworking men, but let’s face it, they don’t care what curriculum we buy. your husband has no idea what you’re talking about when you say “Co-Op”, “Lapbook”, or “Unit Study”. Your husband may be supportive, but he doesn’t want to hear every single thought that goes through your homeschooling mind. He will see the job you’re doing is great! Don’t worry about him being part of every single detail. That’s nto to say he doesn’t support your homeschool mission. Of course he does!
I can tell you first hand that my husband feels very strongly about me homeschooling the boys, but does he want to know every move I make? No. Find support through other homeschool moms. They get it!
I feel like this list could go on for ever. We are stepping into our fourth year, and I’ve learned so much since I was a timid first year homeschool mom. I wish I could have told myself a few of things, and I really hope they helped you!