Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transitioning to Homeschooling

There are some families that always knew they would homeschool, and they have years to prepare...and then you have everyone else -- who finds themselves homeschooling for a myriad of reasons, and yet not an idea of what to do.

So you have pulled your kids out of school. Now what?

First, let's talk about what NOT to do. 

DON'T buy a ton of expensive curriculum.

So often new homeschoolers spend a ton of money on a mountain of shiny new curricula that never gets used. The day they come home from school is not the time to start all that fancy new stuff anyway, so take your time deciding, and buy slowly! Less is definitely more.

DON'T assume you need a box, correspondence, or a virtual school to be successful.

The highest rate of homeschool burnout comes from those families that think they must do the box, or the virtual school. These options do work for some families, and that's great, but don't assume  you are one just because you feel overwhelmed. Decide why you are homeschooling, and what you want, and find something that meets your needs. Trying to fit your family into a box it wasn't made for can be frustrating. There is nothing like a family looking forward to the flexibilty of homeschooling only to find themselves tied down to a virtual school calendar that has little to no flexibility.

DON'T panic. 
You are going to be ok. Many people have done this very thing, and they all felt the exact same way -- excited, nervous, and often inadequate. Be excited...don't panic. Transitioning to homeschooling can be intimidating, but it doesn't need to be paralyzing. There are great resources out there, but the moment those resources cause you to question and doubt...turn off the computer. 

So now that we have established what NOT to do...what SHOULD we do?

DO spend some time de-schooling. 

Don't go in thinking homeschooling will look just like your child's school classroom. It won't. It shouldn't. Homeschooling is new, and especially if you pulled your kids out of brick and  mortar school, they will need to be de-institutionalized in the area of education. Spend some time on the couch reading books, finding and researching areas of interests. Classrooms have a tendency to kill the joy of learning...try to get it back if that's the case. Read, research, read some more, cuddle on the couch, go to the library, talk, get to know your kids, read aloud as a family, let your kids get to know each other more deeply. Get them thinking that learning can be fun...that it's an experience -- not a task to be checked off. 

DO build relationships with your children

If they have been in school outside of the home, chances are your time and interaction with them will now be completely different. You need to get to know them in a different way, and they you. Take time to talk...take time to listen. Show you care about THEM, not just their education. 

DO learn about their learning styles and your teaching styles. 

Remember all that expensive curriculum you didn't buy? Get to know your kids learning styles. Research curriculum that will match their needs. And yes, your teaching style is important. You need to like it or you won't do it. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed. It CAN be overwhelming. Take your time! 

Homeschooling is an exciting adventure, but it can be overwhelming. Remember, it's a marathon not a sprint. Relax, and enjoy the journey! 


Don't forget to check out what the other Homeschool Help Series is 
blogging about their top 3 suggestions for someone who pulled 
a child out of school mid year.

Bernadette -- Switching Midstream

3 comments:

  1. We've written very similar advice, Nicole! (But you have managed to be more succinct ... I'm working on that, LOL).

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  2. Being able to also learn foreign language is very important.

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