Tips for New Homeschoolers
Making the decision to homeschool is both exciting and scary. Often, you take the leap but immediately
think, Oh no, now what? If you are new to homeschooling, here are some tips for getting started.
FIRST, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Maybe two or three would be best. You'll be fine.
Parents all over the country are successfully educating their children at home with outstanding
results. They don't possess any special insight, skills or knowledge that you don't. They simply trust
themselves and their children to work out a method for becoming educated while still having a life, and
you can do it too! Tip number 1: Trust yourself to find the best way to do this.
SECOND, read and listen, read and listen, read and listen!
You'll begin to get an idea of what you don't know and you can then
begin to ask questions. Find others who homeschool and ask them how they
Ask to "hang out" with them for a few days. Read some of the many books
published on homeschooling, many of
which can be found in the public library. Remember that some of the
material will contradict what others
state as fact. Tip number 2: There is very little "fact" but lots of
opinions on the best way to
homeschool. Realize there are as many ways to homeschool as there are
families doing it. Refer back
to tip number one!
THIRD, discuss your ideas with your
children and come up with a consensus for how you will begin. Plan for
a "trial period" during which everyone will agree to cooperate to their
best ability. Agree to regularly evaluate how it's going and, after a
set period, decide if you need to make any major changes. It may take
several "starts" before you discover your family style. Tip number 3: A
plan that makes everyone stressed out or miserable is not a good
plan. Be flexible and listen to each other!
FOURTH, remember that if your children have previously been in a government or private school,
homeschooling can be intimidating and they will most likely need some "down" time in order to adjust. This
is often referred to as "deschooling" and a typical rule of thumb is one month for every year your child
was in school. You know your children best and can gauge how much time is needed. Most children,
however, are pretty exhausted, are used to being told what to do all day long, and will experience some
kind of related stress as a result of the transition. Tip number 4: The longer children have been in school
the longer the transition to self-motivated learning may take. Read up on deschooling. And see tip number
FIFTH, finding a support group is very helpful. There are
inclusive groups and religious groups. Each group has its own "flavor"
or focus. There may be one or many in your area, or it may be necessary
to start your own. Check online and with your local librarian for
groups in your area. Some groups meet for study, some for social
events, some for field trips and some for a combination of activities.
You will find other parents who will share your joys and frustrations,
and with whom you can share valuable information and
support. Your children will find friends and activities to keep their
social lives alive, and
their physical and intellectual needs met. They will interact with
children and adults of all ages and
that can be the very best atmosphere for learning how to become a
social being! Tip number 5: Giving and
receiving support, for children and adults, can be the difference
between struggling and soaring!
Most important of all, relax and enjoy your time with
your children. This time you will spend with them
can be some of the most enjoyable, interesting and
inspiring in all of your lives. Happy homeschooling!
Adapted from The Oregon Connection, Newsletter of The Oregon Home Education Network.