As we near the middle of the school year, many parents will be evaluating whether or not their children’s public school is working. Some will take the plunge and pull their kids out of public school over the holidays. I know, this was me! My freshly turned 5-year-old came home on Christmas break and we never looked back. But, the transition from public school to homeschool was hard. And the older your children are when you start, the more difficult it may be. I would love to share some tips that can help ease the homeschool transition.
Give Yourself an Adjustment Period
When your child first begins homeschooling, there will be a time of transition. This transition period is the perfect time to “deschool” your child, and yourself. You are both used to a public school mindset, and you will both need time to learn what homeschooling is and what it looks like. Homeschooling is NOT public school at home. The environment is different, the structure is different, and the learning can be different.
Don’t Go Nuts with Purchases
This was the biggest trap for me. I purchased a huge boxed curriculum for my kindergartner only to pitch most of it within a year. Don’t fall prey to the same mistake. I recommend looking at purchases before buying them. You can do this with a local homeschooler, or a convention in the spring. Until you can see items in person, use free products online or from the library. If you know you won’t be able to see curriculum in person, then order a few items at a time. Chances are the first couple purchases will NOT fit you and your child. Finding a good fit curriculum wise takes time. So, don’t go nuts with the purchases at first.
Remember Homeschooling is NOT a Fix All Answer
Homeschooling is a wonderful education choice. It is a great way to for our children to get a one on one education. We are able to tailor our children’s lessons to their learning styles. We are able to educate them in a safe environment. We are able to do so much that the schools can’t.
It is not going to take away every bully your child may ever meet. It’s not going to make them a well-mannered child, or an academic genius. All of the issues your child may have in public school may also exist in the homeschool environment. It won’t fix everything. So, be prepared for that.
Allow Your Child to Have a Say
When planning out what you want to study homeschooling you may have ideas and thoughts in mind. But, what do your kids think? We tend to forget about the students we are teaching. We forget that they are individuals. We forget that they have desires of their own. We forget that they HAVE an opinion. So, talk to your kids. Let them have a say in what they plan on learning. This may make the transition easier for them as well. Have an animal lover? Spend a year studying zoology. Your child loves space? Astronomy may be the way to start. History buff? Let them choose the time period they are most interested in. If you aren’t entirely onboard with their choices, what can you compromise on? Maybe you need to choose a certain curriculum in one area, but give them liberty in another area. Our kids have likes and dislikes, and homeschooling gives them the freedom to study what they are interested in.
Don’t Forget Socialization
This is huge. For you and your child. Homeschool moms need homeschool friends. And your kids need socialization. Don’t forget this important part of homeschooling. Continue to nurture your child’s friendships with the kids in his public school, but also, reach out to local homeschoolers and homeschool groups. Join a co-op. Attend a field trip. Sign up for that community art class. Go to the park. Socialization is important for ALL homeschoolers. A common problem I see in my area is parents pulling their children out of school, joining our Facebook group, but then never attending anything. Within a year or two the kids are back in school because they “miss their friends”. But, they never had the opportunity to make new ones. For homeschool success, don’t forget this important step.
So, are you ready to make the leap into homeschooling! Go for it! You’ve got this :) I hope these tips help you and encourage you to make the best of your homeschool journey. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it!