When I first decided to homeschool, I felt overwhelmed and excited at the same time. There were things that helped ease me in to the process, and there are things that did not. It can be overwhelming as well as exciting. Here are some tips to help new homeschoolers get off to a good start. Take some of these thoughts in to consideration.
Don’t schedule out the next 12 years of school right now. Just step back and think about one day at a time.
Don’t buy curricula. At some point, you will have to make sure that you have what you need, it is true. But at this first moment you need to wrap your mind around your immediate needs. In my first months, I bought many curricula and books that I ended up not needing or liking. I wish I’d researched more before diving in!
Don’t accept curricula from well-meaning friends that you won’t need to use for 3-5 years. You are just starting out, so you don’t yet know what you need for this year, not to mention three years from now! Unless you have a very large house, I’d suggest kindly saying no. Chances are, if you take it, you will end up trashing it because it was not what you needed, it was dated, or it was otherwise unsuitable for your situation.
Don’t burn your bridges. If you are withdrawing your kids from public school, try to leave on a good note. If you are starting off as a homeschooler from the beginning, it is a good idea to keep up good relations with the public school district. Who knows what the future will bring, in terms of changing legislation and your family’s own personal situation?
Do seek out support in person and online. No matter how sparsely populated your area, you are not alone. More than 1,600,000 children are homeschooled in the United States alone. Find someone who can mentor you.
Do learn the local laws. I am not a lawyer, and most bloggers and forum friends you meet are not lawyers. Consider joining Home School Legal Defense Association or at least referencing their pages to review the laws for your state.
Do spend extra time with your kids. Learning how your kids learn and react to new things is an important part of becoming their teacher and recognizing their needs. For example, play a new board game and observe their reactions to new rules, new challenges, and so forth. What would help them learn with less frustration?
Do read about homeschooling methods and curricula. Before you buy curricula, you need to learn what options there are! Explore Cathy Duffy’s site, ask for suggestions on a forum such as Well-Trained Mind, read books about educational theory, and otherwise learn all you can before you actually spend a cent.
I hope these help the new homeschooler to avoid frustration!
What do’s and don’ts would you add to the list?