Are you new to homeschooling or feeling overwhelmed? Here are eight simple tips for homeschooling that have helped me tremendously in my journey.
1. Join online clubs or groups such as Facebook groups.
This has truly been one of the most rewarding things for me. I have gained a wealth of information from other parents and “experts” in the field through these groups. Parents are very open to sharing best practices and love encouraging one another. It is also a good place to connect your child with friends that have similar interests and passions as well as learn about curriculum, local events, and enrichment classes being offered. You may even find the curriculum or book you’ve been wanting at a low price from a homeschool parent ready to part with it.
Here are the steps to join a Facebook group: Log in to your Facebook account. Go to groups. Click on the discover tab and search homeschooling. Countless groups will pop up that you can browse through. You can also search specific groups such as “homeschooling in (your county/city)” or “homeschooling college-bound teens.” There you can also find groups that meet up for park days or different events as well as specialized fields.
2. Become very familiar with your local library.
Do not underestimate the wealth of knowledge available to you at your local library. You can get information on state laws and guidelines and find books on most topics. If they don’t carry the book you want, you can reserve it from any library in the area and they will have it shipped to your local library. You may also be able to access e-books, current newspaper articles, and archives through your library’s online portal. If your child doesn’t have access to a computer at home, or if siblings have to share, you can have them use the computers available at the library.
Some of the things offered in my local libraries include: Mother Goose Story-time, Tiny Tot Story-time, Toddler Story-time, online book clubs, Build and Create with Legos, Craft Saturdays, Sunday Cinema, Monday Yoga Chair, Teen Hangout Day, Planet 51 Series, Scrabble Club, Kid’s Chess Club, Stuffed Animal Dance Party & Sleepover, Computer Basics Class, Android Basics, Master Gardner Plant Clinic, Rockin’ Carnival, Emojis Explained, Shake it Up, Gametastics for Teens, Food Club, Canvas Painting, Genealogy Help, and a Foreign Policy Discussion Group. Seriously, there’s something for everyone! Go online to your local libraries and look for the calendar or upcoming events tab.
3. Connect with local co-ops and homeschool support groups in local churches.
There are a few ways to see what groups are available in your area. You can go to HSLDA to see national organizations and state and local organizations that are registered in your area.
TheHomeSchoolMom is a great blog with lots of helpful resources. Click here and find your state on the map to find different resources and local groups in your state.
Homeschool World is another good site that has a link to different groups based on your specific state.
Join Homeschooling Meetups here to meet other local homeschool families.
4. Create your own group!
Is there something you or your children are extremely passionate about or good at? Well, of course, there is! Start a group so that other homeschooling families can share in your passion. They may even want to pay for your services. You can post about it in your Facebook groups or other homeschool communities you are a part of to see if there is any interest.
5. Find professional bloggers.
You don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel or resort to purchasing expensive curriculum. There are a host of quality products at low or no costs online. Search the internet for homeschool articles and other topics that are important to you. Find quality blogs and subscribe to them. You will receive many great resources and tips from them including quality products and discount codes. I have discovered several great curriculum and courses through the “Build Your Bundle” sales as well as a passion for blogging from homeschooling parents who blog.
6. Make learning fun and interesting.
I’m not saying you have to dress up like a clown and put on a show (unless of course, you’re learning about the circus). What I am saying is to be aware of what your child is in to and passionate about and infuse it into less desirable activities. If your child is a Minecraft lover, create (or search for) writing prompts pertaining to the game. Have your child solve math problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division within the game. There are several tutorials on YouTube showing parents and teachers how to integrate favorite games into learning. The same can be done with shows and movies. Engage in a unit study as a family and incorporate cooking, dress-up, movies, trips, and other hands-on activities. The ideas are endless and you may be surprised at how much you ALL will value that time.
7. Consider your child’s natural abilities and future goals.
Is your son a natural builder? Does he have a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together? Explore career opportunities with him that capitalize on his natural abilities and help him set goals to get there. Is your daughter a creative visionary who loves making things? Does she have a passion for making life better or easier for others? Help foster that creativity. Give her opportunities to practice being an entrepreneur at local flea markets or through online shops. Prepare her with the business sense needed to successfully follow her dreams in the future. You can also call local colleges who specialize in your child’s possible career choice to see if you can stop by and explore with your child.
8. Most importantly: RELAX!
You were born for this! Whether you recognize it or not, you are a natural! You will not “ruin” your child. He or she will not suddenly become “dumb.” You will only mess this up if you try to fit into a mold that is not natural for your family. Do not try to replicate a traditional classroom in your home unless that’s how your children are most comfortable. Do get advice from “expert” homeschooling parents but remember that what‘s best for some families may not work best for you. Be authentic in your schooling. You naturally teach your children every day anyway. You just need to be a little more intentional about it and figure out your family’s flow. For ideas on how to maximize your schedule, read Taking Control of your Day- Time Management Tips.
Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any questions, need encouragement, or would like help brainstorming schedule ideas.