If I was honest, the first day of every school year is met with a lot of trepidation. I begin to wonder if we are doing the right thing? I wonder if this is really what God wants for our family? And the all important, will my children feel like we held them back from something better? You can read how I really feel about this here. All of this might be partly due to all the hype that happens at the beginning of every school year. The talk of school supplies, new teachers, new clothes, new, new, new. And for us it’s just the same. same. same. Thankfully I can usually pull it together in order to get on with the year…or at least the first day of school. It also helps that I have such a wonderful support system. Which brings me to number one on my list of advice for new homeschoolers;
1. Find some support, you will need it. This might come in the form of a few good friends who are also homeschooling, a homeschool group or even some online buddies. I couldn’t imagine not having someone to laugh, cry, share fears and shamelessly complain to about a bad day. Not to mention there are just things that only another homeschooler can understand and offer advice on.
2. Make sure your spouse is on board. It is hard enough to homeschool without the support of your spouse. If the two of you can’t agree on the issue of homeschooling, it might not be where God is leading you right now- I think this is especially true if the spouse that doesn’t agree is the husband, much prayer is needed if this is the case.
3. Don’t spend a lot of money on curriculum your first year, or any year for that matter. You never know what will or will not work for your children and you will just be upset if half way through you find that, that expensive curriculum you bought isn’t working for you. There are so many used curriculum stores you can visit in store or online, as well as Ebay, Craigslist, friends, and even garage sales that you should be able to find just about any curriculum out there for a good price. If you decide you love it then you can always buy it new for the next year.
4. Along with number 3, it’s ok to stop doing something that’s not working for your family. If you and your child are miserable don’t be a martyr to the curriculum.
5. My Well Planned Day Planner had an article in it this past year that I thought was great. It reminded us that God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. The suggestion was to for us to work 6 weeks and take a week off. I loved this idea and began to incorporate it into our schedule. This gives all of us time to rest, take a break and gives me time to plan for the next 6 weeks. We will be doing this again this next year. I didn’t calculate how many days in the year that gives for actual schooling so if your in a state that requires you school a certain amount of days you might need to add that up.
6. Give yourself a break. Sometimes life happens and things don’t work out the way we expect them to. School might not happen every day and that’s ok. We are teaching our children to be flexible. ;)
7. School needs to be a priority. I know that sort of contradicts the last point but it should at least be a priority in the sense of it should come before friends, hair appointments, phone calls, house work, etc. Not that those things are not important, I love a clean house- but there will ALWAYS be house work. It’s so easy to be distracted and before you know it you have lost half a day to unimportant things and it’s hard to get the kids back on track.
8. Don’t compare your children with other homeschoolers…or other children at all for that matter. Our children are all unique, they will all learn to read at different times, have superior musical abilities, be good at sports, etc. We put undue stress on ourselves when we are comparing what our children are doing to our friends children.
9. Know when to get help. Don’t think you have to be the all in all for your children. If they need speech therapy by all means get it for them. If they are struggling in math get them a tutor. We can’t be experts at everything. Being part of a co-op is a great way to help lessen the burden with tougher subjects.
10. **** Make sure your spending time with the Lord regularly. Without the grace of God to sustain me I’m not sure I would make it most days. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way… can I get an amen?
I’m linking up to Many Little Blessings 10 tips for New Homeschoolers