Thinking about homeschooling? Here are 5 tips to help you be successful right from the start! Insights on our schedule, organization, and curriculum!
We have been homeschooling for about 2 weeks now. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, but I do have a few tricks that I think have helped us be successful from the start.
Anyone that has been around here for even a short while knows that I am a stickler to routines. These routines change when necessary, BUT I have a routine for everything. My kids have had morning charts since they were 2 years old to know exactly what to do each morning. Each summer we have individual responsibility charts. Now, we have a Homeschool Routine Chart so each kids knows what to expect every day.
Routines may seem boring and mundane, or inflexible and rigid. Routines done right are the exact opposite! A routine gives a sense of understanding and expectation. By having a posted routine, I know what I can expect of my kids, and they know what they can expect from me. If the routine says they get to spend time with me, they can expect that. If the routine says they need to complete their chart before playing with friends, they can expect that!
Routines establish clear boundaries to help everyone succeed!
Raise Strong Readers
Reading is a large part of our family culture. My husband and I both love to read, and our kids have thankfully inherited that love. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t worked hard at raising strong readers though! Reading is part of our every day life. We read scriptures as a family every morning, read a story before bed every night, visit the library weekly, attend story time, and encourage older siblings to read to younger siblings.
By raising strong readers, much of the school work is able to be done independently. I meet with each of my kids one on one to go over the core work for each day. During this time, I teach new math concepts, do individual language arts lessons, and answer any other school-related questions they may have. The amount of work they are able to do on their own simply by being strong readers is astronomical!
Raising strong readers allows greater independence in learning!
Choose the Right Curriculum
Even though we have only recently started homeschooling, I have been pouring over home school curriculum for ages. We do a “Mom School” each summer where we focus on different subjects to learn about, stay brushed up on math, and work on summer reading lists. Because of all the research I had put in before hand, I was pretty settled on my curriculum.
We have chosen to teach out of The Good and the Beautiful Homeschool Curriculum. It has been hands-down the BEST homeschool decision I have made! There is little to no prep work before hand. I am able to literally pull out the books each morning, sit down with the child, and read the lesson. Because we have 4 in homeschool, plus two littles running around, this was ESSENTIAL! We have purchased both the language arts books, and one of the science programs for the time being. Eventually I want to purchase the history books as well, but we still brand new and I don’t want to overwhelm us!
After asking around and exploring so very many options that are available now, I decided that we needed something simple, captivating for the kids, and that taught good core values. The Good and the Beautiful has it all! We are memorizing poems, the kids are learning about beautiful art work, and the best part: they look forward to it every day!
Choose a curriculum that works for you, not the other way around!
Expect Team Work
If you think that homeschooling 4 elementary kids with 2 toddlers running around is a breeze…you should stop by sometime! We had to establish early on that we are a team. One of our Homeschool rotations is to play with the little kids. One of the big reasons we decided to homeschool was because we really wanted to foster strong family relationships. By rotating who plays with the little kids, relationships that may not naturally occur are encouraged.
I am one mom, and there are six kids. I can’t be everywhere at once. With a divide and conquer mentality, so much more can be accomplished! Big kids team up with little kids to be piano practice buddies, newer readers read stories to non-readers, and everyone pitches in to help clean up.
Team work fosters relationship that may not naturally happen otherwise!
Even with having these great systems in place, I have to expect that things just won’t work out some days. After awhile, I expect systems to need to be updated, or thrown out all together. Flexibility in motherhood and homeschooling alike is just part of the program. What works great today, will fail completely tomorrow.
By seeing change as a good thing, we learn that it allows us to grow. A growing and changing system and routine is good, it isn’t a failure! Accept and expect things to change as kids grow and go through various phases.
Being flexible means you accept growth and expect change!
If you have just started on your homeschool journey, are thinking about homeschooling, or have been at this for awhile, I hope something in here has been helpful. I am totally open to advice from other seasoned homeschoolers, so please leave all your best tips in the comments below!