This is going to be my 16th year of homeschooling. In many ways, it doesn’t feel like that long, but I have gained some wisdom and perspective over those years. These are 10 things I would tell a new homeschool mom (that I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out!).
1. Relax. I wish someone had told me this my first few years. In regular school, a teacher has one year to teach her students all they need to know for that year. In homeschool, a mom has 18 years to teach her kids all that they need to know. It doesn’t need to be done on the first day!
2. Relationship. Having all that time together with your kids gives you the opportunity to form a close relationship with each one of them, to get to know their learning styles, their personalities, and to make moments that will form memories. Focusing on the relationship makes learning easier for the kids too as it allows them to be able to relax.
3. Support Network. Meeting other homeschool moms, whether online or in person, is so critical. There is a strong chance that there will be naysayers to your decision to homeschool whether they be family, friends, or strangers and having a strong support network of likeminded moms will help cushion that for you. It will also allow you to ask questions, share resources and ideas, and vent frustrations.
4. Character. Focus less on academics and more on character. Very few adults remember math formulas or verb conjugation, but values, morals, and character are something that stays with you all of your life. Teaching character to your children is critical.
5. Fun. Of course it’s important for the kids to have fun, but it’s important for moms too. Take time, actually make time, to enjoy your kids. Inject fun activities into your homeschool, whether that be crafts or hands-on projects or field trips or impromptu learning on a nature hike.
6. Love of learning. I am a learner. I love to learn. I hope I never stop learning. I want that same thing for my kids. Making learning fun and not stressful will create a love of learning in your kids and will ensure that you as a homeschool teacher and mom won’t burn out as easily because you will also be consciously trying to relax yourself to create that environment.
7. Read. Read to the kids. Read yourself so that your kids see you enjoying books. Read to the kids some more. Read. One of the best gifts you can give your kids to take with them into the adult world is the imagination, knowledge, relaxation, understanding, and experience that books offer. Here are our top 10 read-alouds.
8. Pray. Homeschooling is hard at times. It is one of those oftentimes thankless jobs where a lot of the reward doesn’t show itself until years later. In addition to having the encouragement of other homeschool moms, especially those who are veterans, prayer and faith is essential. It can guide you when making decisions, encourage you in the hard moments, and help you remember some of the reasons you started homeschooling in the first place.
9. Hang in there. There will be days where you will wish you could go to the bank without the kids in tow. There will be weeks that feel like they never end. There will be moments when you doubt if the kids are learning enough, if you are doing enough, if you are doing it “right”. Hang in there. It gets better. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility. If something isn’t working, you can change it. That goes for everything from the method of homeschooling to curriculum to schedules.
10. It is worth it. I can say this with confidence now after fourteen years of homeschooling. It is so worth it. For some of the reasons that I can see that it’s worth it, you can read my 10 Reasons Why I Homeschool and the Top 10 Reasons My Kids Like Being Homeschooled.
If you are new to homeschooling, you might also be interested in reading my top 10 must-haves for homeschooling. If you are considering homeschooling and have questions, I am so happy to help in any way I can. You can leave questions in the comment section or e-mail me.