5 Things I Wish I Knew As A Homeschooling Newbie

credit: Michelle Mista

We’re coming up on the end of May now and the official end of our school year. Despite my initial nervousness, my daughter has done great and has continually surprised me throughout this journey.

I've thought a lot about what I wish I could have told myself in the beginning, to address some of the fears and reservations I had about spearheading my daughter's education. This is what I'd tell myself if I had the chance.

Homeschooling is a commitment. Uh, duh? I knew that going in. Or at least, I thought I did. And then the questions started.

When you start telling people you’re going to homeschool your kid(s), chances are you’re gonna get some people looking at you as though you’ve grown a second head. And they may not be shy about telling you that you’re a complete nutjob. This is where being utterly committed to the idea that this is the best idea for your family/situation is so important. (Not being shy about telling them it’s none of their effing business also helps a lot.)

Curriculum is overrated. Buying curriculum is a lot like buying toys for your kids at Christmas. You buy the most talked about, expensive "must have" thing out there and instead, your kids wind up playing with the Amazon box it came in. We had signed up with a charter school, we had a generous stipend to spend on curriculum and activities. So spent it we did! And of course, my daughter hated most of what I had chosen. And to be frank, so did I. 

Until you are more comfortable with your kid(s)’ learning styles and your preferred teaching style, chill on filling your bookshelves with curriculum. Figure out the first two things I mentioned first. And then ask other more experienced homeschoolers what they would recommend for a particular learning type. Also, borrow before you buy — try the library or ask other homeschoolers if you can thumb through their used curriculum.

Addendum: Don’t get married to any particular curriculum. Be prepared to change up when you realize what you chose no longer suits you. And don't beat yourself up because it worked for so-and-so's family. The same goes for homeschooling styles.

The dollar store is an awesome homeschooling resource. From school supplies to classroom decorations to craft supplies, the dollar store has it got it at a price homeschoolers can afford. One exception: don’t bother with the dry erase markers. They're trash and totally not worth the grief.

Homeschool isn’t like the school you remember. I imagined homeschool to be like school at home but that’s not how it worked for us.  Our dining room table — and everywhere else in the house and backyard — ended up becoming our learning space. That homeschool room that I was so excited to have -- complete with a desk and a white board and calendars -- ended up being unused except to store all the curriculum we acccumulated in the first few months.

Days of doing nothing aren’t necessarily a problem. Getting upset during school time probably is. There will probably be days where you don’t do anything “productive”. And that’s okay. Really, it is. Conversely, kids (or you!) getting upset during learning time? Something’s not working. The trick is figuring out what’s not working and how to fix it. (Spoiler alert: You might not figure it out in a day, a week, or a month. But keep trying.)



Originally posted at Mommy Misadventures.

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