Have I mentioned how much I love conference season? I love meeting new families, bumping into old ones, hearing about your victories, and helping you overcome challenges, too. Too bad conferences only last a couple of days — it would be fun to walk beside you all year long!
The good news is, you don’t need to wait for a conference to get homeschooling information and advice. Homeschoolers are everywhere these days, and most are happy to share what they’ve already learned. It’s actually very comforting to hear from people right there in the trenches with you, or who are already one step ahead. Actually, the most honest advice often comes from people with nothing to gain, who just want to share something they already went through, to save you the frustration of going through it yourself.
With that in mind, I asked some of my homeschool friends to help you out today. In response to a post on my Facebook page and in my private group, dozens of my readers responded to a question I asked:
What’s the best tip you could give a new homeschooler if they came to you for advice? Something you wish you knew when you first started?
I made a list of some of the helpful things they shared, and now I’m sharing it with all of you.
See this as an example of the way homeschoolers are constantly helping one another. Don’t be shy about asking other homeschoolers for a little help now and then. Asking never makes you look weak or ignorant. It makes you look powerful, because it shows you’re open to new learning!
Advice for Brand New Homeschoolers
(direct quotes from my readers)
Life is short….. enjoy the time that you are fortunate enough to be able to spend with your children
Don’t sweat the small stuff and…everything is small stuff
You don’t have to figure it all out your first year
There are not “grade levels” that our children must be on target for with their school subjects
Homeschoolers can learn at their [own] speed and ability
Just because it sounds perfect doesn’t mean it will actually work in practice
Find a really good advisor/evaluator to help you figure things out
Panic now and get that part out of the way, so you can enjoy the grand adventure ahead
The overwhelming feeling quickly fades
Yes, you’re smart enough!
If you’re thinking about doing you, do it!
Read aloud daily
Smile and be light hearted
Remember, you are not a school, you are a different mode and model
Don’t turn everything into a lesson, sometimes it’s okay to just have fun
It’s ok to occasionally take a day off to just spend time together, don’t schedule it! Just let it happen
Don’t feel like you have to teach everything every day
Spend the first year deschooling, take that time to let your kids play, read aloud to them everyday, and invest in educating yourself [by reading homeschool books]. Your kids can always “catch up” in later years
Each child will learn at their own pace and that is okay and normal
If you’re going to make it like school, there’s no point in doing it
Embrace collaborative learning
Take care of yourself, because sometimes nobody else will
Teach children everyday skills so the household will run smoothly
Can I just say, I love my readers! And if these words aren’t enough, hop over to one my social media channels and join in our ongoing conversations about education, parenting, lifestyle, and so much more. Hope to see you there!
To your success,
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.