Encouragement and Tips for Parents Thinking about Homeschooling
So you’re thinking about homeschooling.
Maybe it’s been on your mind for a while or maybe this is a brand new consideration. Either way, I want to encourage you and give you a little advice as you get started.
You can do this.
I know this phrase is overused but I mean it most sincerely. You – just as you are right now – are perfectly capable of homeschooling your children.
It doesn’t matter if you finished college. You don’t need a degree in education. It’s okay if you don’t remember high school math. And you are going to be just fine even if you don’t know the details of World History.
You, a parent who loves their kids, are capable of creating a home education lifestyle for your kid.
You can stop thinking about homeschooling and start planning to homeschool!
You can do this.
I have met many, many homeschooling families. Every single family has a unique way of doing things based on their circumstances, background, and priorities.
What they have in common is their commitment to providing a solid education for their children. Each family accomplishes these goals in a unique way, but their goal is the same.
Which leads me to my next point…
There is no one right way to homeschool
Homeschooling isn’t one size fits all. Instead, there are thousands of options for everyone and some of them will work well for your family. Some of them won’t.
It depends a bit on your goals, how many kids you have, your reason for homeschooling them, and so much more.
Someone who is only homeschooling for one school year is probably going to make different choices than a family who hopes to homeschool through high school graduation. And that is okay.
Families where both parents have jobs (full or part-time) will do things differently than families with a parent who makes homeschooling their only full-time job. There are ways to create a wonderful homeschooling lifestyle in both situations.
There is no one right way to educate your child at home. And there isn’t one right curriculum either. In fact, no matter what curriculum you choose, you can even tweak that to make it work for your situation!
The options for classes are endless and you are going to discover so many great ways to learn. Some options that exists include:
- online classes (we like this option for math in particular – Mr. D is our favorite!)
- local classes (as around for options in your area)
- tutorial programs (these options a bit like a hybrid situation because they usually meet 2 times a week for classes and your child’s work is assigned for the days spent at home)
- curriculum guides to implement at home (for any subject!)
- co-op classes (parents work together to provide a variety of classes – everyone contributes and everyone benefits.)
You are also going to discover that homeschoolers are often guided by several different philosophies of education. Each one offers incredible benefits and educational opportunities. This list is not exhaustive but includes several popular philosophies of education you can research on google:
- Classical Education
- Charlotte Mason Education
- Waldorf Education
- Montessori Education
- Road schooling/World schooling
As you read and talk to homeschooling families, consider the different philosophies and how they might suit your particular child and situation. Don’t worry – you don’t have to pick a single educational philosophy. You are welcome to borrow aspects from all of them or simply follow the path determined by your curriculum choices.
Having so many options is part of what makes homeschooling wonderful, but so many options can feel overwhelming when you first begin homeschooling.
So before you dive in to the vast ocean of homeschooling options…
Know the Homeschooling Laws in Your State
Every state has unique laws that govern homeschoolers. These laws include the steps you’ll need to take to register to homeschool, how student performance is reported (if it is), what records you must keep, and the other requirements in your state.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a very detailed list of homeschool laws for each state. Be sure to look up the laws for your state before you begin.
There are plenty of people who can help you along the way, which is why I also suggest that you…
Find Homeschool Community, Support, and Inspiration
Whether you plan to homeschool for a semester, a year, or several years, be sure to seek out a homeschool community or at least a few other homeschooling moms where you can find support, inspiration, and answers.
One great way to find homeschool support is to ask – ask a homeschooling parent in your area to point you in a few directions.
Local groups are going to be a great resource for specific answers to questions about homeschooling in your state. Search google for Homeschool groups in [your city name] and begin there. You can also ask friends and neighbors in your neighborhood or county Facebook groups.
Local groups are a great source of friendships, social events, and support for homeschool families. As you research local groups, you’ll find that many offer mom’s nights for support and encouragement, field trip opportunities, co-op classes, social events, book clubs, and more.
Ask around and dig on google until you find the right fit for your family.
There are more homeschool groups on Facebook that you can imagine. Search for local groups first – groups for homeschoolers in your county, your city, or your state. You can also find groups for different homeschool philosophies, curriculums, and more.
Kindred Collective is a group that I began with a few homeschooling friends and the moms who have joined are incredibly kind and helpful! We welcome all styles of homeschoolers and would be happy to support you on your journey.
Social Media Profiles
Find ideas and inspiration by following social media accounts for homeschooling moms or homeschool curriculum companies. These accounts will introduce you to the many ways that homeschooling can be accomplished. Companies with social media often share ideas about using their products, so follow along for a bit before you dive in.
Where you can find me online for ideas and inspiration:
IG: @marywilsonblog – the place I share homeschool ideas, support, and resources
IG: @celebrateabook – an account focused on celebrating literature in your home
FB: Creative Homeschooling with Mary Hanna Wilson – a page where I share homeschool ideas, support, and resources
FB: Celebrate a Book Page – a page focused on celebrating literature in your home
FB: Celebrate a Book Group – a group to discuss literature celebrations in your home
Instagram Accounts that will Inspire and Encourage:
@learningwell – every Wednesday during “A Day in the Life,” you’ll spend the day peeking into a different homeschool family’s day
@karastephensonanderson – honest encouragement and love for the homeschool mom
@my_little_poppies – all things gameschooling and reading books to your kids
@hereweread – ideas for diversity and inclusion through literature in your homeschool
@rockyourhomeschool – making learning fun in a house with 5 boys
@thewaldockway – interest-led homeschooling
@differentbydesignlearning – help and ideas for special needs homeschooling
@colleenkessler – tips for homeschooling gifted kids
@yourmorningbasket – all things family learning with a Morning Basket (or Morning Time)
@humilityanddoxology – classical education resource
@hswotrainingwheels – multi-age homeschooling and large family ideas
Got Teens? A few additional accounts for you:
@marywilonblog – yeah, it’s my account again – lots of ideas for homeschooling teens
There are so many places to find community and support – reach out and start asking. You are welcome to email me if you live in the Raleigh area and I can point you in a few good directions!
Of course, now that you have some ideas to get you started you might be feeling excited and ready to dive in OR you might be feeling completely overwhelmed.
It’s Normal to Feel Overwhelmed
and inadequate. and excited. and grateful. and lost. and unsure. and basically all of the things.
I wish I could tell you that it will go away and you’ll find your direction and never have doubts or feel overwhelmed again.
But I would be lying.
Homeschooling is a big task. and an important task. and a totally doable task. But sometimes the bigness and importance of it will make you feel overwhelmed or will cause doubts and fears to creep into your mind.
I get it.
Because even after more than a decade of this homeschooling lifestyle, I still experience feelings of doubt and insecurity (which is another reason community support is so important).
But I also experience days of wonder, delight, growth, learning, and so many more incredible experiences alongside my children daily. And when I focus on my kids and the amazing things that our homeschool lifestyle offers us, I can normally talk myself out of the doubts and insecurities.
Or I phone a friend. And they remind me of the beauty of this lifestyle and my ability to teach my kids.
So as you begin thinking about homeschooling as an option, remember these things:
- You can do this
- There is no one right way
- Know your state laws
- Find community
- It’s normal to feel overwhelmed
Then always return to…
You can do this!
NOTE: This post was meant to help you offer some encouragement if you are thinking about homeschooling. If you’d like a few fun resources that are guaranteed to make your year more fun, then check out my TOP FIVE – mostly free – favorite resources of all time:
Other Posts You Might Find Useful:
- School’s Closed! Now What? (Creative Learning Activities)
- Be the Boss of Your Homeschool: Simple Ways to Tweak Any Curriculum
- How to Plan a Morning Time with Teens
Curriculum by Year:
- First Grade Homeschooling
- Homeschooling Third Grade
- The Plan for My Fifth and Seventh Grade Kids
- Freshman Year Plan
- Homeschooling 10th Grade
- Year in Review: 10th, 8th, 6th, and 4th Grades
Learning Through Games:
- Math and Logic Games
- Math Games for Teens and Tweens
- History and Geography Games
- Word Play and Language Arts Games
- Science Themed Games
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Great blog, thanks for sharing such great tips with us. Its very helpful.