Are you new to homeschooling? Eager to get started…excited, nervous, can’t sleep for fear of failure? Relax! It will all work out.
If you are a new homeschool family my very first suggestion is to deschool. Don’t panic…let me explain…
Deschooling is the adjustment period a child and parent must go through when leaving the public school system and begin the homeschool journey. It’s the time when you must remove the influence of public school. When your children operate in a school mindset, you aren’t seeing how they actually learn. So what should you do?
First, get rid of all preconceptions regarding what school should look like. Homeschooling is NOT just doing schoolwork at home. Rather, its about building strong family relationships, learning Godly character, and taking the time to learn what makes your child tick, what excites them, and what are their struggles. It’s about the love of learning…the lighting of a fire, not just the filling of a bucket. It’s a lifestyle.
How does one rid themselves of the public-school mindset? You will need to THINK differently. To really make this work you will need to break some major public school rules!
1. Who says school must begin at 8am and end at 3pm? You will find as a homeschool family that you will not need all those hours to complete school assignments. Every family is different. We usually begin our lessons at 9:30.
2. Follow your own calendar. I honestly have no idea when our local public school is in session. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can enjoy field trips, vacations during off seasons, meet Daddy for lunch or go take a bike ride when little Johnny is restless.
3. Your children do not need to sit at a desk in a classroom to get a proper education. Although I have a beautiful colonial style classroom, we rarely sit at our desks. We usually gather around the picnic table outside during warmer weather and snuggle on the couch during cold wintry days.
4. Teachers do not have all the answers…and you don’t need them either. Seriously, you have the teacher’s guide and google. What more do you need!
5. Your children do NOT need to be in a classroom with peers their own age all day long. Rather, REAL socialization is when our children have learned to communicate with people from various cultures of all different ages.
So, you have cleared your public school mind….now you are going to take the first few weeks of “school” and just relax. I know you are so excited about that new curriculum but coming from a school setting to homeschool takes an adjustment period. You all will need time to decompress and disconnect. You need to watch your child play. Learn what excites them and how they learn new concepts.
Be prepared for your child to have some challenging behaviors. This is new to them. They may miss their friends and be nervous about meeting new people. You may hear, “that’s not how we did it at school.” This is all very normal. Just be patient.
Joining 4H is a wonderful social outlet:
Let me interject a thought: If you just pulled little Suzy out of school on Friday and then slap down a pile of worksheets for her to complete on Monday please prepare for a struggle. She will hate it! You will too. But, sadly, moms will continue onward as they are completely driven by fear of “falling behind.” That is NOT homeschooling, but rather doing school at home. Homeschooling is a lifestyle.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started…and to maintain your sanity.
1. Take it slow. Homeschooling is not a race. Enjoy the journey. For example, if your little ones are studying insects take the afternoon for a nice hike to start a bug collection. I know, you’re in panic because history hasn’t been done. It’s ok. Go with the moment! You will see the love of learning begin to sparkle in the eyes once again.
Ideas for exploring unit studies: https://www.raisingourtribe.org/post/world-geography-unit-on-africa
2. Be flexible. I know, you bought that expensive planner. I have one too. It’s ok to have routines and schedules as long as you are aware that most toddlers could care less what you have penciled in on your daily schedule.
3. Comfort is important. During times of reading we usually gather in the living room and snuggle on the couch.
4. You will need a sense of humor. There will be days that you will have to choose joy instead of anger and tears.
5. Do projects together. Kids love to cook, build, and feel needed. I call this our Life Skills class.
You might enjoy my blog on life skills: https://www.raisingourtribe.org/post/essential-life-skills-for-teens
6. Go on lots of field trips. I cannot understand moms who feel so bound by their curriculum and schedule that they cannot take the day off to enjoy a good field trip. Studies have show that children will retain more information when they experience it!
Look at some of our field trips: https://www.raisingourtribe.org/post/fill-your-life-with-adventures
7. Get a library card. This is a MUST! Read, read, and read some more. Turn of the television and video games. You can travel the world in the pages of a book.
Allow yourself permission to let go of what school should look like. Instead, step off the public school path and walk the unexplored trail of homeschooling your children.
Do not go where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
You might also enjoy: https://www.raisingourtribe.org/post/a-fresh-perspective