5 Homeschool Tips for Beginner
Updated: Sep 30
Beginners Guide to Homeschool
5 Lessons for Pandemic Homeschoolers
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The only thing certain right now regarding education in 2020 is that school looks different this year no matter where you are!
Whether your school has chosen to be completely virtual, hybrid, or in person, what I know for sure is that we are all going through some very big changes and that not all of those changes will work for every family.
We are one of these families! My husband and I both work in healthcare, and 2 of our 3 kids have IEPs that make virtual learning difficult if not impossible (apraxia, executive function disorder, and dyslexia are some of our personal hurdles).
Homeschooling was always something my husband and I wanted to do, but never thought we could pull off with our children’s special needs. Once COVID hit we realized that maybe this has been a sign from the universe to slow down, protect our bodies and minds, and take this time to turn inward and focus on our family. We DIY everything else- so why not DIY school for a while?!
In the past few weeks of preparing, compiling, and eventually starting our family homeschool, there are five main takeaway lessons I have learned.
I know I’m not going to blow the socks off any regular homeschool families with these revelations, but if you’re like us and have been thinking about homeschooling, maybe have always wanted to homeschool but hadn’t had the opportunity, or maybe you never, ever, ever wanted to homeschool but your alternatives just aren’t an option- here are the five main homeschool tips and tricks I have learned after our first few weeks!
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1. Homeschooling is more of a lifestyle than a school choice
Seriously. This goes far beyond just giving up those sweet, sweet hours when your beautiful monsters were someone else’s responsibility for a change, but do not get me wrong it is a pretty big change. If you are used to having days to yourself, or even just with one or more less kids, suddenly being full time ‘on’ is a bit of a shock.
I used to use the time my oldest son was at school for doctors’ appointments, the gym, shopping, cleaning, meal planning. It never occurred to me how much I relied on the break from constant parenting that the school gave me. Suddenly I’m having to figure out how to manage and run my household while non-stop parenting a 2, 5, and 7 years old. It is not easy!
But it goes well beyond just the logistics of parenting and childcare. When I say that homeschooling is a lifestyle choice I mean for the entire family, which leads me to point 2!
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2. Homeschooling is a whole family affair
From my husband to myself, our toddler, and our school-aged children, we all play a role. I cannot imagine homeschooling without input, enthusiasm, and energy from everyone!
In our family, my husband excels in history, geography, music, and patience. Whether he is explaining something for the hundredth time without getting frustrated, ensuring the kids have classical music playing when he does their bedtime routines, or taking the kids on historical ‘field trips’, he has proven to me that even partners who work full time outside of the home are fully capable of playing an active role in their child’s education.
We do our best to involve our youngest family member in homeschool by finding ways to adapt our activities to be age-appropriate. She always joins in during storytime, takes turns picking out books, participates in art, and loves to use manipulatives.
Of course, the reality is that her presence makes some days much more difficult, but real life is often loud, messy, and has obstacles! The trick is to find the positive attributes in the negative.
For example, she finds screaming particularly gleeful (vocal exploration), climbing all over her brothers (physical education), and pouring out all the paint pots and mixing them together (art, chemistry).
In all seriousness though, this brings me to my next pearl!
3. There is a lesson hidden in literally e v e r y t h i n g
Do your kids want to bake some muffins? You can easily turn that into both math and chemistry! Need to meal plan and buy groceries? Give your kids a budget and teach them some home economics! Did your child rip their favorite pants playing outside? Grab a needle and thread and teach them how to sew!
One of the coolest things about homeschooling I have found so far is that not only can nearly everything we do be turned into some kind of lesson, but the amount of extra time we have had to focus on learning not just academics, but real-world functionality has been great.
The sheer number of things I have absolutely no idea how to do as an adult is wild, and I am eternally grateful for resources like Youtube, Kahn Academy, and Outschool and often find myself learning right alongside my kids.
4. Rhythm is more important than schedule
I know this one is not for everyone and that plenty of people and families thrive on schedules. However, for us, I have found that instead of maintaining a strict schedule we accomplish more when our days have a general rhythm. There is no stress about completing a task by a certain time, but there is also a familiarity with expectations for the kids.
The first thing we got rid of was our alarm clocks! My kids have the rest of their lives to be on a schedule, so for now we have ditched any semblance of a wake-up and let them sleep in for as long as they please. We keep a set bedtime, to ensure that when sleeping in happens it is because they truly need more sleep, not because they are making up for sleep lost!
Every family is going to have different rhythms, but once you settle into what is best for yours, accomplishing tasks and staying focused become much easier.
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5. Find your people
I saved this for last because I really think it is the most important. One of the most surprising things for me to learn once we started sinking our teeth into homeschooling was how completely diverse the homeschooling community is.
Whether you are in the market for a group that is secular, progressive, global, faith-based, or any combination of those, there are communities of likeminded individuals out there who will welcome and support you.
The reasons why a family might choose to homeschool are almost as many and varied as the ways to homeschool. Finding a community of people walking the same path as you that you can share ideas, frustrations, and triumphs with is one of the most valuable resources out there!
For more homeschooling tips and tricks check out WE ARE MAMA BEAR on Youtube or Facebook. Here the specific link to "How to create your own Co-Ops".
Honestly, I have no idea if homeschooling will be our forever, or even our next year, or even our next month. It is, however, our right now. And we are going to make the most of it!
We are all learning as we go, extending lots and lots of grace, exercising our patience, and having as much fun as possible. Hopefully many years from now when my kids are grown and flown, they will look back at these months and remember feeling safe, happy, lots of laughter, and learning some things. In that order!
About the Author
This guest post was written by Kirsten Marie Moore.
Kristen is a designated mom of three beautiful little Tigers, a part-time RN, and a new homeschool mom. She and her family live in Northern Virginia and when she is not at home with her family or at the hospital, she likes to spend time hiking, taking care of her plants, or finding new things to take pictures of.
I hope Kirsten Marie's tips were useful for you. Don't forget to leave a comment below with your own tips for homeschool beginners. I would love to see some pictures of your children's homeschooling as well!
Stay safe Lil Tigers!