Advice for New Homeschooling Moms

Whenever I hear that someone I know has decided to homeschool, I squeal and do a happy dance! Homeschooling has been such a fun fit for our family. I can’t help but get excited when I hear others are taking that path too and enjoy providing advice for new homeschooling moms.

This school year, I have a couple friends who are starting to homeschool for the first time. It got me thinking, what would I tell them that I wish I had known the first year I began to homeschool?

Photo of a young boy being homeschooled by his mother in his bedroomAdvice for New Homeschooling Moms

Pay Attention to Your Passion

If you have something that makes you come alive, incorporate it into your homeschool plan. When you are inspired while sharing or learning about a particular subject, your kids notice, and it inspires them too! Just think back to your schooling – do you recall a particular teacher who was animated and excited when they taught their subject? Or conversely, do you remember a teacher who presented with little passion and interest? It matters! When you are doing something you love, it will rub off on those around you. I remember one particular homeschool day this past winter when I took the kids to the arboretum for the morning. We hiked through the woods under a crisp blue sky, making tracks in the snow and climbing fallen trees. It was MAGICAL. I was alive, and they were alive, and everything seemed to click. That was a huge ah-ha moment for me, recognizing that when I share my love of nature with my kids, my passion comes through.

Let Go of Comparing Your Classroom to a Traditional Classroom

This was – and still is – so hard for me. I grew up going to public school and went to college to become a teacher. It has taken much effort to undo the idea that homeschool needs to look like a miniature version of public school. You cannot compare the two. But, as I slowly let go of that mindset and instead embrace who I am and who we are collectively as learners, our homeschool becomes more beautiful, unique, and fun.

Do Less

Write down a list of subjects you want (or feel you need) to cover. Then cross out at least half. I used to think I needed to teach all the subjects that are being taught in public school. I was pushing us too hard to do things that none of us were enjoying. Be sure to hit reading and math, and then follow your passions and your children’s passions and see where it goes. Periodically expose them to different subjects and see what happens. They will be okay, I promise. Just think back to some subjects that you studied and try to recall how much you still remember. Don’t teach something merely to check a box – it won’t benefit you or your child.

Value Relationship Over Schedule

Early on, I was so tied to our schedule and afraid to get “behind” that I pushed my oldest daughter too hard. There were tears from both of us on many occasions that first year. I am learning that if something doesn’t click with her, I teach it briefly and then move on. Her brain will grasp it in time, and a lot of curriculum is cyclical. It’s designed to come back to ideas periodically to provide many entry points for kids to figure out when their brains are ready. Finishing 5 more math problems when a kid is spent is not worth the dent it makes in your relationship. Put the math book aside, snuggle, and pick it up again the next day (or not!).

Embrace the Flexibility of Homeschool

One of the biggest perks we have in homeschooling is flexibility! Flexibility with content, length of the school day, and learning location. That last one’s my favorite. If it’s a nice day, we’re doing school outside in the yard or at a park. Someday I dream of finding some fun vacation rentals and just packing up and doing homeschool from a new location for a while. Savor and embrace the flexibility of being a homeschool family.

Make Extra Time for You

Even though I love teaching my kids, I still fantasize about what it would feel like to drop them off at school in the morning and return solo to a quiet house. Homeschooling is A LOT of work. In addition to the school preparations, teaching time, and classroom clean-up, there’s also extra meal and snack prep. Then add in the extra dishes and so much more tidying because the kids are home all day. I have mandatory rest time for my older kids in the early afternoon when the younger ones are napping just so I can have some quiet time to recharge. Extra time for you is necessary to be healthy and energized for this amazing endeavor.

Homeschooling has been a wonderful experience for our family. We’ve had our share of bumps along the way, but what classroom doesn’t? If you’ve made the decision to homeschool and are just beginning, know that you’ve absolutely got this. You do! I wish you the best as you find out what homeschooling looks like for you.

Amber has lived in Minnesota her whole life, with a 4-year stint in Iowa for college (Go Norse!). She and her husband met while both trying to kayak for the first time. The kayaking didn’t go well, but their relationship did! They’ve been married for over 10 years and have four incredible children. Amber describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, unashamed introvert, and extremely empathetic. Her favorite moments are those rare ones during the day when time stands still and she can see with fresh eyes the amazing little people who call her mom.

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