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This Week's topic is Top 10 Pieces of Advice to New Homeschoolers. I think I have this covered in less than ten and I'd like to share them with you in a reprint of a Heart of the Matter post I did at the start of this past school year. Enjoy!
An Open Letter to New Homeschoolers:
I want to share some tips I’ve learned along the way so that hopefully you can learn from them too.
1) Remember slow and steady wins this race- your kids don’t have to know everything today or even this year so refrain from turning on the fire hose of information. A corollary to this is don’t worry about keeping up with what public and private schools are doing- it’s a recipe for discontentment at best and disaster at the worst.
2) Start simple and establish a routine- a framework is great and allows you to get back on track if you derail (sick fussy babies are super derailers), but don’t be a slave to your routine. Your homeschool will begin to lack joy.
3) Let go of traditional school conventions- some of them may be fine and work well for you, but so often I see parents trying to replicate the experience they know and understand well. We all come to the homeschooling table with a similar background in education. It’s ok to let those fall away and find the niche that you and your children will fill. For more on this topic you might want to read Leaving Behind Conventions.
4) Be Consistent- whatever routine and program of study you choose, do it consistently. While we can leave behind the traditional school model, we still have the responsibility to educate our children.
5) Choose wisely your outside activities. Say no whenever possible! You’d be surprised at the discipline it takes to be home to school! Trust me when I tell you that your homeschool will be far richer the more you are home. When you are out too much, you settle into the mentality that when you are home you need to hit the basics. Instead, be home and be consistent so there is plenty of time for exploring together. See Keeping the Home in Homeschool for more on this topic.
6) Say yes! When your child comes to you with a pill bug and says, “Can we keep it?” Say yes and see what happens! Don’t be afraid to step away from what you had planned to see what comes of the rabbit trail your child would like to investigate. There is a lot of power in those learning experiences if we aren’t afraid to say yes and enjoy the process.
Relax! And enjoy the privilege of homeschooling your children. You know what is best for your kids and you have the unique opportunity to meet them where they are and delight in it (You might like another article on Growing Your Children’s Passion in Your Homeschool). Be confident!