We’re coming up on the end of May now and the official end of our school year. TLE’s done great and has continually surprised me throughout this journey. If I could go back and give myself advice about what to expect, it would be this:
Homeschooling is a commitment. Uh, duh? I knew that going in. Or at least, I thought I did. And then the questions started.
When you start telling people you’re going to homeschool your kid(s), chances are you’re gonna get some people looking at you as though you’ve grown a second head. And they may not be shy about telling you that you’re a complete nutjob. This is where being utterly committed to the idea that this is the best idea for your family/situation is so important. (Not being shy about telling them it’s none of their effing business also helps a lot.)
Curriculum is overrated. Buying curriculum is a lot like buying toys for your kids at Christmas. You buy the most expensive thing out there and they wind up playing with the Amazon box it came in. We had signed up with a charter school, we had a generous stipend to spend on curriculum and activities. Of course, TLE hated a lot of it. And so did I.
Until you are more comfortable with your kid(s)’ learning styles and your preferred teaching style, chill on the curriculum overload. Figure the first two out and ask other, more experienced homeschoolers what they would recommend for a particular learning type. Borrow before you buy — try the library or ask other homeschoolers if you can borrow their used curriculum.
Addendum: Don’t get married to any particular curriculum. Be prepared to change up when you realize what you chose no longer suits you. The same goes for homeschooling styles.
The dollar store is an awesome homeschooling resource. From school supplies to classroom decorations to craft supplies, the dollar store has it got it at a price homeschoolers can afford. One exception: don’t bother with the dry erase markers. Totally not worth it.
Homeschool isn’t like the school you remember. I imagined homeschool to be like school at home. That’s not how it worked forus. That homeschool room that I was so excited to have ended up being unused except for storage. Our dining room table — and everywhere else in the house and backyard — ended up becoming our learning space. The homeschool room eventually became storage for all the curriculum we didn’t end up using. (Seeing a theme here?)
Days of doing nothing aren’t necessarily a problem. Getting upset during school time probably is. There will probably be days where you don’t do anything “productive”. And that’s okay. Conversely, kids getting upset during learning? Something’s not working. The trick is figuring out what’s not working and how to fix it. (Spoiler alert: You might not figure it out in a day, a week, or a month. But keep trying.)
Now it’s your turn!
What do you wish you had known when you first started?
If you’re not a homeschooler, don’t feel left out!
What do you what you wish you’d known for helping your kids learn outside the classroom!