Homeschooling Tips For Getting Started!
Homeschooling has been an Adventure for both myself & my family. To be honest when I first decided we would home school I felt a little lost. My oldest has been in school since preschool and is now in high school. He has had the opportunity to attend a great school district and has had some absolutely wonderful teachers over the years.
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I was pretty surprised to find myself considering homeschooling ( I use this term loosely as the only thing I am homeschooling at the moment is preschool). The reasoning came from the following …1. I love teaching my children 2. I worked full-time when my oldest was this age so homeschooling was not an option. 3. I wanted to have the flexibility homeschool provided for us to be able to travel as a family when opportunities arose. 4. I love spending time with my children. 5. I feel like our schools especially in the early years are broken and do not line up with my own personal philosophy of schooling. I have the ultimate respect for teachers and it is not them but the system itself. How the New Preschool is Crushing Kids
Has homeschooling preschool been super successful in some ways yes…and others ways there has been challenges. Homeschooling is something I will evaluate each year whether it continues to be right for our family. But as a parent who had never home schooled and didn’t have much homeschooling experience finding ways to get started and how I should approach it has been filled with a lot of trial & error.
Hopefully this blog post can give some assistance and pass on some resources to help you get started. This comes from my perspective and may be different from yours so please choose what you find helpful for you. Also, please keep in mind I have 3 under 5 so our schooling looks a little different.
Here are my top tips & resources if you are starting out or thinking about homeschooling:
1. Ask yourself your why? – Meaning dig deep and find out why you would like to home school….this will help when you have challenging days and or you start to question yourself.
Note: My Why looks like this …..My children will have a love of learning and constantly be challenging themselves as individuals. To help my children discover how they learn from an early age and how to use that to teach themselves. Flexibility in being able to have experiences with them from an early age.
2. Research homeschooling ideas & philosophies – Then either create your own or follow one …granted this may change as you learn your child’s learning style.
Note : We follow a mix of Montessori, Charlotte mason, & Danish schooling.
How this looks for us : Lots of hands on activities, mixed with lots of reading and listening to classical books and mixed with play and free time playing together. I focus on building my relationship with my children and no pressure learning.
3. Find a curriculum you like and if it’s not working for you feel free to try something different. At the bottom of this blog I will include a list of resources that I have used.
Note : We went from me pulling different items together (which worked part of the time), too Hooked on phonics (which was a struggle and my 5 year old was not responding too)… settling on The Good & Beautiful Curriculum (which we love and has been wonderful for us and for me to teach from). It is simple beautiful and engaging. Also, the lessons are short so some days we may do a couple and some days we might do half of a lesson. When my 5 year old starts to show disinterest or losing focus we switch to something else.
4. Start your own preschool co-op & or find one. This was super helpful for us …..it gave me a break 3 days out of the month and it taught my kids to follow directions from another parent. It also gave us a small group to do field trips and play groups with. This helped with socialization.
5. Find a routine that works for you and don’t be afraid to adjust it.
Note : Sometimes my kids need a day to play & relax I have writing that needs done, so we may not do “pre school” that day but on the weekend we may spend an hour doing some lessons. The great thing I love about homeschooling is at least right now the learning feels fun and engaging for my children. They will get out a handwriting book or math manipulatives and work on activity without direction from me. They enjoy learning…which is my ultimate goal for them.
6. Start to discover your children’s’ learning styles & don’t be afraid to teach that way.
Note : My 5 year old is a classical learner she likes workbook pages, listening to stories & loves all art. She does pretty well staying focused for a good amount of time. My 3 year old is all hands on learning…she loves puzzles, manipulatives, etc….she struggles with any workbook activity, so we do a lot of sensory learning and reading or listening to audio books while she builds with blocks or plays play dough. We are working on sitting still doing a movement activity before we focus on a learning activity. (however she loves puzzles and can put together ravensburg puzzles that are 6+ with little help from me).
7. Incorporate their interests into the Learning
Note : My 5 year old is an art enthusiast especially painting… for us we spend a lot of time painting in our day. She likes to learn different techniques and during her painting time we may listen to classical music, or an audio book. When the weather is nicer we may take painting outdoors and have her observe nature and paint etc. She also loves to create, so we do a lot of free art.
In the beginning I would get into the habit of coming up with crafts and this is not my strong suit. So we still do some guided crafts, but we do a lot of free art….meaning I give them scissors, glue, tissue paper, pom poms, etc. ( I took away the glitter though, LOL this clean freak couldn’t handle it!) and they are allowed to create whatever they like. I ask questions about their art etc. and I am able to teach shapes, colors, even some math as they create.
My 3 year old loves puzzles, so she will spend time working on all kinds of puzzles some that have letter and numbers, some that are pictures. While she is doing a puzzle we talk about the pieces & pictures of the puzzles. She is learning her alphabet and numbers this way. We still do traditional items like sing our ABC’S etc. but this way she is enjoying learning.
8. Get your partner and or spouse to help teach
Note : This looks like the following in our house …I am not a fan of math and or science so while I will teach these topics and incorporate them into our day through baking, cooking, play, and exploring with my children. My husband is great at sitting down with them and teaching them math and science education.
9. Have support – For me this looks like the following a co-op, and a Facebook groups centered on homeschooling it helps for both inspiration and challenging days. Also, I am lucky to have a supportive spouse that I can share both achievements and challenges with. He is a great sounding board and takes an interest in our children’s education.
10. Use the flexibility home provides to take advantage of different programs or travel.
Note: For our family it looks like trips to the children’s museum, swim lessons, nature walks, when were traveling it might be visiting museums, historic locations, different parks. It gives my children the opportunity to explore the world around them and draw connections to what we learn at home and what’s out in the world.
During the time my husband has been working in Boston we have had the opportunity to visit a lot of historic places. My children are too young right now to grasp who these famous inventors and forefathers were but as we are touring their homes etc…..they are looking at different artifacts and collectibles. They also have an active imagination and as we walk through these places they like to make up stories, or we will talk about the different pieces. These talks and explorations build their vocabulary in natural ways and opens their minds to all kinds of possibilities.
At this time I truly enjoy homeschooling and is the right fit for our family. In the future that may change. I love hearing back from the readers and if your also a homeschooling parent I would love to read your best tips. Also feel free to email me with any questions.
Til Our Next Adventure,
Below you will find a list of resources I have used over the years & my top picks from Amazon ( I tend to get alot of my homeschooling supplies from them).