This post was written by my sweet friend, Elizabeth. She is a local homeschooling mom who transitioned her kids from public school to homeschool and learned a great deal along the way.
Not everyone has the benefit of “growing up” with their homeschoolers. Some of us are late to the game and for whatever reason, don't realize the need for homeschooling until well into middle school or even high school. Because of that, we have to take a giant leap into the world of homeschooling. Let me share with you some of the things I wish I had known during my first year of homeschooling.
1. Relationships come first. Learning will naturally happen as a result of that relationship. Maslow's hierarchy of needs lists safety as the second tier on the pyramid of motivational needs. After food and shelter, the need to feel safe is the next step for healthy development. Creating an environment where your homeschoolers are free to explore and fail is key to that safety.
2. It's homeschool, not school at home. Resist the urge to recreate the public school day in your home. I would suggest some time researching unschooling. This may be completely outside your comfort zone and not your first choice in schooling, but it will go a long way in helping you find a happy medium.
3. The first year is a transition year. Go into that year with the expectation that by the end of the year, you will have a great foundation for the rest of your homeschool experience. You will be amazed at the learning gaps you will discover as you begin homeschooling. Your anxiety level will be much more manageable if this doesn't come as a surprise to you.
4. Make a point to find out your child's individual learning style before investing in curriculum. Trust me, your pocketbook will thank you.
5. They will not remember every detail you teach them. Each year is a building block for the moment in life when it all finally “clicks”. Don't panic if the summer after a year of American History, your child asks why you celebrate the 4th of July (yes, that happened….with my 8th grader!!!). The “Rule of Seven” in marketing teaches that someone must hear a message 7 times before they are prompted to buy from you. The same rings true for our homeschoolers.
6. Get dressed each morning as if you have somewhere you need to go. The temptation to stay in your pj's all day is huge, which is a wonderful perk of homeschooling, but the learning process goes much better when your homeschooler is fresh and ready to approach work. Some of our worst days of “school” have been when we're all still sitting around with bedhead at 2:30 in the afternoon.
7. You are unique and so is your homeschooler. Let Pinterest and Instagram serve as inspiration but do not get caught in the comparison trap. You know your child better than anyone else. What works for someone else may be terrible for your family. That's ok. There are no failures, just opportunities for growth.
8. Have fun. Our lives have become so much better as we have traveled this journey. We truly enjoy most of our time together. We are making memories that will last a lifetime, and I am the primary influence in my child's life not their peers. They cannot take prayer out of my school and for goodness sake there are just too many days when we really need it.
I hope these eight things will go a long way in making your transition from public school to home a complete success.
Elizabeth Pait is new to the blogging world. A registered nurse turned homeschool mom of 3 kids, I began the homeschool journey to meet the needs of a special learner and fell in love with the homeschool world. I have a special love for the mental health community and desire to point others to a Christ-centered simple life. You can find her blogging at Live, Laugh, Love Simplified.