When I first began homeschooling Tigger six years ago, I felt that I had a pretty good understanding of homeschooling. After all, I’m a homeschooling graduate myself.
I quickly found, though, that being a homeschool student and being a homeschool parent are two very different things indeed. Now I was responsible for providing a quality education to my little preschooler and I wasn’t even sure I knew what preschoolers needed to learn!
Somehow I made it through our first year intact, but I learned some great tips along the way that I’m happy to share with you all. So – here are five pieces of homeschooling advice for the first year! If you’re new to homeschooling, I hope these tips help you begin your homeschool year with confidence!
5 Pieces of Homeschooling Advice for the First Year
- Resist the urge to “school at home”, even though you might be really tempted to. Most of us gained our first experience in education in public school, but that’s not what homeschooling is about. In Help! I’m Homeschooling!, Tricia Hodges shares this wise advice: “Learn from me and don’t try to reproduce a school setting at home. Make learning natural and comfortable.”
- Establish a mission/vision for your family’s homeschool. Decide what educational objectives and moral habits you want your kids to learn and build your homeschool around those. In Patricia Espinoza’s Family Homeschool Planner for 2014-15, there is a space right at the beginning to list your family’s “most important intentions for learning”. That’s a fabulous way to renew your dedication to your learning goals!
- Stick to a homeschooling budget! It’s extremely hard not to buy every curriculum ever created, but you need to buy what works for your family. Alicia Hutchinson offers great tips for curriculum shopping on a budget in Mrs. Hutchinson’s Classroom Guides: Homeschool Basics, such as this suggestion: “Learn from year to year. You’ll begin to know what a good fit for your family is. If there’s a curriculum that involves gathering a lot of supplies and you know you won’t be able to do that, don’t buy it.”
- Set priorities when it comes to homeschool planning. When you spend too much planning, you can end up not having enough time for teaching! In Hands On Homeschooling, Kris Bales shares this pointer: “I try to plan no more than one big hands-on project per week—and many times, not even that often. I would rather do one high-quality, meaningful project than do many small projects just for the sake of saying we did a project.”
- Seek out other homeschoolers for support. Learning how other experienced homeschoolers made it through their first year can really help you become more comfortable in your role as parent and educator. A great resource for this kind of encouragement is You Can Do It Too: 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Story by Lorilee Lippincott.
Do you have any tips for new homeschoolers? Feel free to share them in the comments!