I am about to embark on my 15th year of this incredibly difficult and rewarding journey called homeschooling. Even though I am what many would consider a veteran homeschooler, it seems that the longer I do this, the more I realize there is for me to learn.
But homeschooling doesn’t have to be complicated and one of the best ways to simplify it is to ask others who have walked this same road to share their experience. Another way is to find the best resources you can to help you in your journey.
Over the years, I’ve found that our homeschooling journey has morphed and changed as our family situation has changed, as I have learned new methods that worked better for us, as I have gained confidence in the fact that my kids are learning “enough”, and as I have had the opportunity to talk to and learn from other homeschool moms.
I know what a treasure it has been for me to be able to talk to other homeschool moms and hear about what has worked for them and what hasn’t. It’ s also just nice to talk to other moms and know that I’m not alone. With that in mind, I gathered some wisdom to share with you.
I asked other homeschool moms, some just starting out and some with decades of experience to share a piece of homeschool advice with you.
Advice from real homeschoolers:
“Keep it Simple, Sister. When you are first starting out, add one thing at a time and work at it until you get your feet under you before adding one more thing. Start with the basics, and don’t add too much too fast. You can do this. When you start to get overwhelmed, take a step back and think about what you can let go or accomplish in a more simple way.” ~ Amy, Homeschool Encouragement
“Don’t compare the way you homeschool with others.” Alecia, Learning 2 Walk
“Do what is right for your family. People will tell new homeschooling families, “Don’t replicate school at home.” I’ve said that to new homeschooling families myself. However, the fact is, you’ve got to do what works best for your family. If that’s a school-at-home environment, so be it. If it’s unschooling – or anywhere between the two – that’s okay, too. Chances are, your homeschool will change and evolve as your family grows and changes and as you get comfortable homeschooling. Different seasons will bring different needs. Embrace what makes your family unique and don’t be afraid to let your homeschool reflect that.” Kris, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
“If it doesn’t work, change it. So many homeschoolers feel they have to be loyal to a certain company even when their child may not learn well with that curriculum. Or they have spent the money on it, so they feel they need to finish it. Every child learns differently. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to drop it and replace it with something else, until you find what works for your child.” ~ Katie Hornor, Paradise Praises
“I cannot stress enough the importance & the impact that making your children a part of the planning can have. When they feel they have had input in WHAT they are going to learn about – they are more invested. They take ownership of their schooling. It also pulls the family together as a team, planning your next move.” ~ Kelli, Adventure Homeschool
“Expect hard days. Know that there will be days when no one, including you, is in the mood to do school work and everyone is grumpy or whiny. But press on! Because there will also be days where everyone is excited to learn and you are all having so much fun together, you can’t even believe how blessed you are to get to stay home and teach these amazing little people. So be flexible on the hard days, and enjoy every moment of the amazing days, because they all go by so incredibly fast!” ~ Bethany, Math Geek Mama
“In the early years its okay to focus on only one thing at at time. I only focus on reading in kindergarten and first grade. Giving a child the ability to read will unlock the rest of the world to them!” ~ Becky Marie, For This Season
“Make a plan for your days if you must, but also ask your children what they want to learn about. And then set aside time each day for them to explore their interests and passions. This is how you will ignite a love for learning.” ~ Marcy, Ben and Me
“Don’t be afraid to have fun and follow your children’s passions. Children learn the best when they are relaxed, engaged and interested. Having fun with your learning will help trigger better learning and retention of concepts. Plus, it helps develop a life long love of learning.” ~ Shelley, STEAM Powered Family
“Ask for advice from others, but ultimately remember that your homeschool does not have to look like anyone else’s. Your homeschool is a reflection of your family and their needs. Trust God’s guidance and have faith that He will lead you to the resources you need when you seek Him.” ~ Vicki, Simply Vicki
“Probably the hardest lesson that I’ve had to learn as a new homeschooler is that my year will never, ever turn out how I think it will. This was a very difficult and painful lesson for this Type-A perfectionist! As a result, I’ve learned to set broad goals for each child and for our homeschool year, but to leave enough room in our homeschool experience for God to come in and change things up as He sees fit. By keeping my goals high (but my expectations open), I have found so much freedom and joy! I encourage every homeschool mom to keep this kind of flexibility (what I talk about in my book “Plan to Be Flexible“) in her daily and weekly homeschool planning. Focus on setting specific pillars in your day (or goals you want to achieve in a certain timeframe) but then give enough room and space for that learning to happen in real and natural ways. This is what I call “rhythm-based homeschooling” and it allows for moms to prioritize growing relationships with their children instead of trying to force-feed knowledge.” ~ Alicia Michelle, Vibrant Homeschooling
“Use the tools and resources that are available to you. Trust me, you’ve already got enough to do. No need to reinvent the wheel!” ~ Kim, Not Consumed
“Never compare what your homeschool looks like or functions like to any other family’s homeschool. Just like each one of our children have different personalities and learning styles – the dynamics of each homeschool family will vary greatly as well. Remember it’s not about what anyone else is or isn’t doing – rather it’s all about teaching our the children to learn in the unique way God created them to. Have fun and enjoy!” ~ Carlie, Today’s Frugal Mom
“Delight-directed homeschooling has taught me to allow my children to be who they are–to cater to their gifts and interests. It has also given me the freedom to be who I am–to capitalize on my own strengths and interests and to stop comparing myself to other homeschooling moms whose gifts and talents are not my own.” ~ Ami, Walking by the Way