I hear you. It’s not always easy deciding which curriculum to choose or what homeschool method to try. Not a week goes by that a parent doesn’t contact me with these exact same questions.
You are not alone.
I had these same questions myself.
In fact, I am still learning, always seeing new products, always hearing something new I want to try!
Do you feel that way, too?
With so many new products released into the marketplace, the choices become more varied with each passing year. That’s a good thing, but one that only seems to add to the confusion, right? Legal changes can sometimes affect homeschoolers, too. Staying current isn’t always an easy job.
If you were sitting beside me right now, I would share what has worked well for me and countless others. If I could guide you through the process, some of tips I would offer are:
When choosing materials for homeschool, it’s important not to go overboard. Too many of us go a little bit “crazy” at first — I admit being guilty of that, too! Buying school supplies can be fun, but materials purchased impulsively often end up sitting on a shelf. Think hard before making purchases, especially the very expensive ones. Your stress level will remain in check this way, plus your wallet will thank you, too.
Think of the child who may be using the product or method. Just because you like it, doesn’t mean your student will like it, too. Imagine your student sitting at the kitchen counter actually completing the work. Will he like it? Is she likely to succeed with that particular book or program?
Start small and expand gradually. Did you realize you don’t have to teach every subject, every day? You can even focus on one subject each day, if you prefer. Build a full schedule after a few weeks (or months) of settling into things. Or, just continue using these techniques all year if they work well. These concepts come as a surprise to parents who do not understand that homeschooling is all about what works best, not about duplicating what goes on the public school classroom. Try them and see.
Be ready to switch if things don’t work out. Too many parents feel compelled to complete a course just because it’s paid for. Watch and listen to your children. What they say and do can be important clues to what’s working and what’s not. Never hesitate to change up your homeschool if something isn’t producing the reactions and results you were hoping for.
Last but not least, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Not just once in a while, but EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Remember that bad homeschool days don’t make you a bad parent overall. Always go to sleep knowing you put in your very best effort and your children are better off in the long run — hands down – over any other alternative to homeschool.
Other posts you might like:
Don’t forget to check out my book, Suddenly Homeschooling, to learn a structured way to respond to this confusion. It’s like an “Instruction Manual” for homeschooling that helps you sort through materials, research, homeschool laws, plus your own thoughts, resulting in great decisions that work in your own family.