10 Tips for Families Considering Homeschool

BY: - 27 Mar '14 | Parenting

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My husband and I officially decided to homeschool last year. At the time, it was a scary decision because we just weren’t sure how we would make it all work. He works at night, I work from home and we had three kids (ages 2, 4 & 6) who we were now going to be responsible for educating.

While we are newbies at this, we’ve learned some things over the last eight months. I can also officially say that we’re going to stick with it as long as absolutely possible. It’s such a rewarding experience to have a hand at your kids excelling in their studies (our Kindergartner is learning on a second and third grade level in reading, spelling and math, and our pre-schooler is reading, writing and understands addition). While we know this way of life isn’t for everyone, I wanted to share some tips that could help those who are in the “debating” phase where we were over a year ago.

1. Do your research.

A year prior to making the official decision to homeschool our kids, my husband and I started really looking into our options. We found articles online, reached out to people who were already doing it and put a plan into place in regards to how we would make it work.

2. Stand your ground.

People will try and give you 20 questions as to why you have chosen to homeschool. Some of them with good intentions, and some with the intention of making you feel “less than” or crazy for doing it. Either way, it’s not really any of their business as long as you have your own reasons. Understanding your “why” will make things much easier to navigate through the naysayers.

3. Don’t try to compare homeschool to traditional school.

Since my kids had already been going to private school prior to our decision to homeschool, that’s the only perception of “schooling” and teaching that we had in mind. We had to realize that as their teachers, we were now making the rules. And no, we didn’t have to have them “in school” for six hours a day. We could plan the lessons and finish their school work in two or three hours and that was okay.

4. Don’t try to compare how one family homeschools to yours.

There is a such thing as doing too much research and I may have gone a little overboard on this one. I wanted to adapt to everyone else’s homeschooling styles, and create the same files, documents, handouts, projects, rules, routines, etc. It was exhausting. I had to realize that our family was unique in our homeschool dynamics. Other families’ needs weren’t necessarily our needs so we had to take all of the little pieces of info we had, and create our own system.

5. Find and build your own support system.

With all the research and reaching out to other people, and meetings about homeschool, we were able to find a homeschool co-op group. We looked into two different ones, and ultimately chose the one that we felt would best fit our needs and that of our children. We found a community of support and have never felt alone (especially with 70 other families) since starting this new journey. The kids enjoy going “to school” once a week and taking classes with kids of all ages.

6. Understand your state’s homeschool regulations.

Every state (and may even vary by county) has different regulations when it comes to homeschooling. Thankfully, because we had found a supportive community of homeschool leaders, we were able to quickly find out what the requirements are for our particular area. It’s important to know this because while some states mandate a strict curriculum, others may require knowledge by a certain milestone. Be sure to check out the Homeschool Legal Defense.

7. Be patient and flexible.

As with any change, it takes time to adjust to a new schedule, routine and way of life. So don’t expect that everything will run smoothly no matter how great and color coded your notebooks are, how many lessons you’ve planned, or how cute your charts are. All three of my kids have different learning styles so we’ve had to adjust and figure out what works best for one, over the other. We’ve learned to stop setting our expectations so high being that we’re rookies at this.

8. Have structure and a schedule.

Once we realized that our son was not at his “peak” performance time in the early mornings, we decided to push back our school time to start late morning. While our schedule may vary from day-to-day, there are certain things that the kids know are expected of them every day. They know we don’t watch TV during the day, they know they have to finish all of their work before they can play with their toys. We have a big sheet that we created a loose schedule on so now when my son asks if he can do something, we ask him to look at the schedule and let us know what it says.

9. Have a plan but don’t be afraid to supplement as needed.

When we started to work more closely with our son last summer, we already realized that he was above the skill-set for just about all areas of Kindergarten. So when we set out to look for a curriculum, we looked for one that was a grade above (starting at first grade). But even with that, we’ve found that he’s advance to a lot of that as well. With that in mind, we’ve had to find other ways to supplement his learning so that he’s more challenged and not telling us “that was too easy” with all of the work we give him. Listen to your kids and pay attention to their learning needs.

10. Trust and believe in yourself.

When my husband first brought up the idea to homeschool, I thought he had officially lost it. It had nothing to do with the actual idea of homeschooling and what it could do. It had more to do with the fact that I didn’t believe that I/we could do it and do it successfully. But the more I prayed about it, the more I was led to believe that this is what I was supposed to be doing. If you feel called to homeschool, then know that God will give you the grace and tools you need to be successful. All you have to do is ask and believe in yourself.

BMWK: If you’ve considered homeschooling, what are your biggest worries?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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8 WordPress comments on “10 Tips for Families Considering Homeschool

  1. Pingback: 10 Tips for Families Considering Homeschool | Moms 'N Charge

  2. Sue

    Wonderful article. I have homeschooled 2 of my children and it was a good decision for us. This article applies to ALL families that are considering homeschooling though, not just those with darker skin. I am retiring from the military after 24 yrs in service and our guidlines and rules, way of life, job options, method for promotion, medical and dental care, etc is the same for all our service members; they are not based on the color of our skin. I wish everyone could come together and see our families and our children as families and children, not ‘Black” families, “White” families, Asian families, American Indian families etc. Yes, parts of our current cultures are different, but a “white” family from LA is probably a bit different from a “white” family in South Dakota too. Our cultures are most problaby based more on how we were raised, not what we look like. Why do we all insist on keeping us all separate when it comes to matters of the heart?

  3. Jessica

    Thanks for the article. My mom suggested we look into home school for my 14 year old son because he has been held back twice and will not do his school work. My mom is retired and she will be a big help in this process. This may work quite well because he will not have any inteference from his peers. I am definetly going to research it before school starts in the fall. Thanks again.

    1. Christine St. Vil Post author

      Hi Jessica,
      You are so welcome. It definitely makes a big difference to have support as my husband and I share the homeschooling responsibilities. There are also so many FB groups/pages/blogs to support homeschool families. Best of luck to you and your son! You should definitely be sure to reach out to the HSLDA to see what you need to do since he will be in high school soon.

  4. Maik

    I was pretty pleased to discover this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!!

    I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite
    to look at new things in your web site.

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23 Questions Every Mother Should Ask Herself Today! Especially 1, 7 & 12

BY: - 28 Mar '14 | Parenting

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23 Questions Every Mother Should Ask Herself Today! Especially 1, 7 & 12

There is one thing that I believe all good moms have in common—we all want to do the best thing for our kids. Mothers everywhere are full of good intentions. We love our children and we want them to have the best life possible—often a better life than what we had. We aren’t perfect, so we get things wrong (whether we choose to admit it or not). Then we feel guilty when, frankly, guilt is a wasted emotion. It serves no one.

So as mothers I wonder if we are asking ourselves the right questions.  Are we truly doing what we should be doing to raise wonderful human beings (and maintain our sanity in the process)? When I think about myself and the conversations I have had with countless friends and acquaintances who have children, I find myself realizing that the moments when we come up short as mothers are a result of our failure to get real with ourselves, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves the tough questions; the ones that can be painful to answer.

In an effort to help myself, and my fellow mamas out there who truly want to be the best mothers possible, I’ve created this list of questions. Join me in asking yourself the tough stuff. The answers may hurt, but I promise getting to the truth will make us all better moms.

  1. Are you imposing your dreams upon your children?
  2. Do you put your health first?
  3. Are you pursuing your life’s passion?
  4. Do you take time daily to care for yourself?
  5. Are you happy in your marriage/relationship?
  6. Are you truly present when you are with your kids?
  7. Have you worked through any issues you have with your own parents?
  8. Are you teaching your kids how to manage anger in a healthy way?
  9. Are you so focused on who your kids are not, you are missing out on who they are?
  10. Do you encourage your kids to be active?
  11. Do you lead by example?
  12. Are you able to admit when you are wrong?
  13. Do you know who your neighbors are?
  14. Do you encourage your child’s creativity?
  15. Do you go on dates with your kids?
  16. Are you taking the time to teach them how to love?
  17. Are you affectionate enough?
  18. Has technology taken over your home?
  19. Do you take the time to see the world through their eyes?
  20. Are you teaching your kids the crippling power of fear because you let your fears hold you back?
  21. Are you truly kind to others?
  22. Do you accept and learn from your failures?
  23. Do you really love who you are?

BMWK family, which questions did we miss? Are there any in the list that you’ve never thought about? Which question do you like the most?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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