When you’re on a challenging journey, you need all the inspiration, tips, advice, and signposts you can get. Recently I was learning from my old homeschool encouragement posts and decided to organize the best of them for you (and me).
For new homeschoolers
My readers and I teamed up to list Advice for a Newbie Homeschooling Mom. Be sure to read the comments!
Some Basic Motivation
Many long books have been written on the practical details of homeschooling, but here are some simple reminders that will make a huge difference in your daily life of learning:
Six Tips for a Successful School Year is simple, basic, and oh-so-helpful, and I refer to it regularly.
Of the six tips, the most important one involves Bible reading. Many people find that to be a challenge, so here are some ideas to make Bible reading work for you. If you are a Christian, this is fundamental, the most important part of your homeschool.
When you are learning skills, you need to practice a little bit every day; marathon learning sessions simply do not work. Content learning can be done in marathon sessions, however.
When we find treasures out of doors, we put them in Our Museum. When I find treasures on the library website, I have discovered that to Leave Some Good Books Lying Around is one of the most effective ways of homeschooling.
Basic academics are crucial, yet I keep on hearing how important it is to Relax About Schoolwork. Perhaps being more relaxed about formal schoolwork will meet our goals more effectively. I think back to the past when my kids were young and I had energy. In those days we dabbled in unschooling and it was wildly successful academically.
Our Annual Reading Week has inspired many other homeschooling families, and I truly cannot say enough good about it. Obviously, we turn to our Local Public Library for this, but we also own a lot of books. Speaking of books, here is a post with our Top Twenty Books for Families to Read Aloud, and I’ve recently added two more to the list.
If you’re looking for curriculum, check out 100 Top Picks or 101 Top Picks, explore The Curriculum Choice website, and always remember Ruth Beechick’s statement: Any curriculum works as long as the teacher does. Here is a list of Our 5 Kids’ Top 30 Homeschool Resources, compiled when their ages ranged from 13-22.
Sometimes homeschooling goes very well, but other times you and your children will have issues. Sometimes it will be as simple (and devastating) as not being able to finish the school year. Other times you will notice that you’ve left an enormous gap in your children’s learning.
What if there are learning issues? Is your child Overwhelmed, Underchallenged, Unmotivated, Disobedient, or Just Plain Lazy? Or is it something else? When Your Teen Can No Longer Focus discusses some very serious issues and should be read by every homeschooling parent of teens.
When There is Too Much To Do, we need to ask ourselves, over and over, what we should be doing at each moment. This mindful living is good for us because it turns us to God and to what he wants us to do. It may also be helpful to ask yourself, “Why So Many Activities?”
Homeschooling teens can be a wonderful adventure, but it can also involve unprecedented problems. Hard times happen in this broken world and we homeschoolers need to recognize when our teens are suffering and respond wisely.
For those who are wondering, homeschooling can provide our children with a top quality education that is recognized by outsiders, even if we do it ourselves. In fact, you may be surprised how well universities respond to ‘mommy marks’ if they are properly documented.
Your teens need a guidance counsellor, and that will most likely be you. I’ve written up some suggestions to make that less intimidating.
Sometimes we think (and hear and read) that homeschooled teens learn completely independently. It is possible, but not ideal, for Older Homeschooled Children Need Attention Too.
As you home educate your children, there are a few habits to instill in them that will give them a slight edge now, and will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Habits are important for moms, too.
Caring for Mom
Guess what, mom? Believe it or not, you need to care for yourself, or you will not be able to care for your children. You need to read your Bible, be wise in all your basic health decisions, and find time to nurture your own love of learning. Of course, how you are able to do this does depend hugely on your current family and homeschooling situation.
It will be helpful for you to Model the Joy of Learning. One way is by engaging in Mother Culture. But always remember that Each Homeschooling Mom and Family is Unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you.
If you are struggling to survive, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode , written by a homeschooling mom, will help you. Tricia Goyer, an amazing homeschooling mom and author, has written Balanced, and Amy Lynn Andrews, another homeschooler, has a great little book on time management for moms, Tell Your Time. (These links are to my reviews.)
If your children are growing up too rapidly, you may be wondering, Is there Life After Homeschooling?
So, what did I relearn about homeschooling as I read through all these articles? I was reminded to
- Minimize screen time,
- Work diligently on skills every day
- Enjoy nature, pets, music, art, hobbies
- Be thankful
- Help others
- Read books
- Take an occasional professional development day
- Not do too much
I pray that you, too, will find encouragement here!