The transition to homeschooling doesn't have to be scary or daunting. Even if the prospect of homeschooling seems overwhelming, you really can homeschool and enjoy it. You will be surprised how fun and easy it can be. If you are feeling nervous about the transition, here are a few tips and tricks to help ease the adjustment for your children.
1. Let The Kids Be Part Of The Conversation
Once you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to homeschooling bring the kids into the conversation. Talk to them about the changes they should expect and the hows and whys of what things will be different. Talk to the kids about their concerns they may have. Talk to your kids about what they'd like to learn homeschooling is the perfect opportunity to allow kids to pursue their interests and passions and really learn about the world. Allow the kids help to pick their curriculum whether its the era of history to concentrate on or the type of science to explore you will find no matter their grade level there's something out there that will suit your needs. The more the kids are involved and they feel their opinions are valued the smoother the transition will be.
Big Life Journals the perfect way to help build self confidence in your kids. Click the image to learn more.
2. Keep The Social Calendar Filled With Both Old And New Friends
Homeschool kids are not anti social as the old wives tale likes to claim. There is often many more opportunities for homeschool kids to be social than their public school peers. Often in public school kids are so bombarded with assignments and testing that there isn't time to socialize at school and the few times they are allowed like at lunch is so short all time is spent scarfing food as fast as they can before lunch is over. Homeschooling allows for a multitude of socializing opportunities such as co-ops, churches, dance studios, museums, bounce houses, zoos and karate studios. Many of these places often offer homeschool hours or programs and opportunities to meet new friends. Weekends and after school hours are great times they can get together with their old school friends and keep those friendships alive. Plus since homeschooling doesn't require big projects or homework you don't have to balance school and life you just get to live life.
3. Make It Legal
Before anything else research your state's requirements for withdrawal and any rules you must follow. The requirements to homeschool vary greatly from state to state so its important to know before taking your kids out of school. In my home state of TN there is two options either independant with testing by the state in 5th, 7th and 9th grade and you are responsible for transcripts and ensuring all required classes are completed for graduation or an umbrella school that acts as a private school which allows you to not have to do state testing keeps track of the transcript and has counselors to help keep you on track. Whatever you pick is up to you and there are pros and cons to both but the choice is yours. I know some states will actually give you money to homeschool your child though that can limit what you are allowed to pick.
4. Work On Your Relationships
Get ready to enjoy your kids in new and exciting ways and for your relationships to morph and change as you go through your homeschool journey. One of most families favorite parts of homeschooling is the time you get to spend together. As nice as that is though it will also be an adjustment period as you adjust to spending so much time together. If you have more than one kid it will be the same for them as they adjust to being together more often in new and different ways. There is sometimes to much of a good thing. One of the most important things to remember is you are their parent first and always a teacher second. Sometimes you may need to end the day early and start over tomorrow. Ensuring theses relationships stay happy and positive are one of the most important parts of your journey. Homeschool allows us to flex and bend when we need our healthy relationships with our kids are more important than any one day of learning.
5. Don't Try To Recreate School At Home
Recreating the school day at home is an easy trap to fall into. It is what we all know and what we think is needed for kids to learn. The reason a lot of families move to homeschooling is because the public school isn't working for their child so why would you want to do the same thing at home. Homeschool allows you to let your child learn at their own pace and most importantly how the learn best. Homeschool allows everyday moments and tasks to become teachable opportunities. Take your time and learn not only your teaching style but your child's learning style. As stated above find a curriculum that allows your child to love what they learn and you can mold everything else around that a happy motivated child is easier to teach than a frustrated one because they traded one broken system for another.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Tweak As You Go
We are humans and we make mistakes. That is never more true than when it comes to choosing curriculums, and what we think is the perfect fit may in fact not work at all. Don't be afraid to make changes even in the middle of the year. There are tons of curriculums out there and often they have samples so you can check out how it will work. If it isn't working cut your losses and move on if it becomes burdensome for you and your kids it can negatively affect your homeschool journey. I found this out very quickly and the thought of tossing something I spent a lot of money on was aberrant concept to me but the daily fight just became to much. The great thing though is with as many curriculums as there are there are just as many resell sites for used curriculum so you can make some of that money back which made the idea of starting over a little easier.
7. Allow An Adjustment Time / De-school
I admit this one was very hard for me. The compulsory education system is so ingrained in our brains that a deviation from that can be panic attack inducing and feel so wrong. Homeschooling is throwing out the traditional manual and going at your kids pace not so arbitrary pace/level that someone who has never met your child says they should be. Give the kids and yourself time to adjust and find your groove. Give yourself time to adjust the way you think. You are making a big change and everything about it is different. Don't worry about falling behind your kids will surprise you with what they can accomplish when you start officially.
~Some families takes a few weeks up to a few months just to enjoy spending time together and begin to slowly start working on your new routine.
~You may consider starting just a few subjects at a time working up to a full workload.
~Some families plan memory making fun field trips as they celebrate starting to homeschool and enjoy doing things that you never could before like sleeping in or spending the day in your pajamas.
All families are different. Make the decisions and schedules that best fit your families needs.
8. Find Your Tribe
They say it takes a village to raise a child. That is never more evident than when you start your homeschool journey. There is just so much information out their and a lot of it conflicting so finding some like minded moms will help to ease you through this transition. Facebook has allowed for people to connect in ways they couldn't have before. As you start your journey check Facebook for online support groups or co-ops in your area. Finding a veteran homeschooling family is a great way to help ease the transition and help you answer all the questions you'll have as you continue on this journey. If you are religious your local church is another great place to find help, answer questions and learn about options you may have available in your area. Homeschooling like anything is easier when you have a tribe to help you when you need it.
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