Starting out as a new homeschool family can be scary! Maybe you’re feeling pressure to have your homeschool environment mimic that of a public school (our advice: toss that idea out the window!) or you’re questioning your own abilities to give your child a well-rounded education.
I’m here to reassure you that making the choice to homeschool is already a victory in itself; it is the first step on a path to freedom, nurture, and countless opportunities for growth. I’ve walked through this journey with many new-to-homeschooling families in the past and am here to encourage, support, and help guide you along your way.
There are many great resources out there for new homeschoolers. Here are a few of my suggestions to help ease the transition and create workable systems for you and your students!
This is one of the biggest affordances of homeschooling; you have all the freedom to adjust and find what works for you and your students. If your student’s learning style doesn’t fit well with the curriculum you’ve been trying, try something else.
If your student is flying through their work in their favorite subject, allow them to work ahead while creating schedules with deadlines for subjects where they may need an extra nudge to stay on track. You and your family really have the power to create what your homeschooling experience will be and adjust and adapt to meet your needs along the way. If you take advantage of this, I can guarantee it will be empowering to your student.
2. CUSTOMIZE TO THE MAX
You know how they say, “life is what you make it”, well the same goes for homeschooling. Let’s take the previous tip of Freedom to the next level: tailoring the educational opportunities of your homeschool experience specifically for your children.
To dive deeper into what this might look like as well as learn about the impactful benefits, check out this blog post:
3. DO THE COURSE THE WAY IT’S DESIGNED
This is a phenomenal starting point. Every course is different and each is crafted with specific intentions and expertise down to every detail of how information is presented, the pace of the material, and the supports in place. Try doing the course the way it was designed before making modifications. After giving this a shot, perhaps you find that making modifications will better suit your students learning style and needs, and that is okay! You will discover what works as you go and then have the freedom to modify if/when it is needed.
4. FOSTER SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
It may take some trial and error to determine what systems will work in your household. You are switching hats from the role of parenting you’ve known to now also including being your child’s educator. Keep in mind you will likely not be the only adult teaching your child, however, you are responsible for cultivating the structure and environment for them to thrive and develop independence as self-directed learners. Your child probably won’t appreciate being micro-managed, but would definitely benefit from being given the tools, structure, and space to create their own schedule and take ownership of their education.
5. TREAT IT LIKE A BUSINESS
It can be a bit daunting to think about how to create a partnership with your students as you embark on this new adventure. After all, you are now a team and from this point on, you may be playing the most extensive role you’ve ever played in your child’s education. To facilitate learning, success, and happiness, teamwork and communication are vital! Try creating a “business meeting” once a week where your student presents what they are learning. This could also be an opportunity to discuss what is working/what’s not, check-in regarding overall progress on goals, formally acknowledge your student’s efforts, and ensure that they are feeling supported.
6. SEEK SUPPORT
A great place to start is joining HSLDA; the Homeschool Legal Defense Association hyperlink: https://hslda.org/ There are a ton of benefits to becoming a member including access to other helpful resources, encouragement, ideas, and inspiration. Another beautiful benefit to homeschooling is building a community of likeminded families to learn and grow together. Co-ops are an amazing opportunity to learn from other homeschool parents (especially those who have been doing it for decades!) and for your students to build lasting friendships with their peers. Co-ops often have a variety of extra-curricular opportunities that can be loads of fun for the entire family. Check out this article for more information about co-ops and groups in your state.
This will be a time of major transition as a family, but nothing is more beautiful than getting to know your kids better and seeing them grow, up close and personal! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to come alongside parents AND students in their educational journeys and help make things as FUN and easy as possible.
Remember, you can do this! With a little planning and a lot of communication and care, this can be the best school year your student has ever had!
If you’re looking for a little more hands-on support in the teaching department this year, our Mr. D Live site is FULL of unique live and self-paced courses that will help your student learn a variety of subjects in a fun and engaging way! From math to writing, coding to flamenco dance… we’re ready to join you!
Here are two courses that many first-time homeschool families love:
- College & Career Readiness course (discusses a variety of life skills that prepare students to take on “life after high school” powerfully)
Learn more here.
- Study Skills course (helps students understand themselves, their learning styles, and gives them practical methods for understanding)
Learn more here.
And as always, feel free to reach out to our team if you need some support or encouragement! We’re here for you.