3 Top Tips for Finding Your Groove as a New Homeschool Mom
2020. It’s been a wild ride.
If there’s one good thing that came out of it though, it’s that so many people now see the freedom and flexibility educating your children at home can bring.
For those of us who already homeschooled, we had some adjustments to make. Extracurriculars, co-ops, and sports were canceled. Museums, aquariums, and zoos were closed or their capacity was severely restricted.
*This article was written by Amy of Real Talk with Amy.
But we already had the hang of teaching our kids at home. For us, it was making some changes to our daily routine, searching out new social outlets for our kids, and finding renewed joy in being at home.
Those who are coming from a public school background–this is a whole new thing for you guys.
If you’ve decided to homeschool for the first time this year, it’s going to take some time to find your groove as a new homeschool mom.
And that’s okay.
We all started somewhere.
And you’re starting in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Everything’s a bit topsy-turvy.
I want to reassure you, one homeschool mama to another, that you will find your footing. You and your kids will be okay. You will be more than okay. You guys will thrive.
I don’t know you or your situation. I don’t know why you decided to homeschool. I don’t know if it was forced upon you by school closures or if you felt like you needed to keep your kids at home because school districts were all over the place in planning for the school year. Maybe you had already been considering homeschooling and decided this was the time to make it happen. Maybe it was for a completely different reason.
No matter your reason, you are now part of a community of women who take care of our own. We’ve got you. We help each other. So let me begin by suggesting 3 top tips for finding your homeschool groove as a new homeschool mom!
1. Have some fun. Start a “not back to school” tradition with your kids.
Do you have a favorite “first day of school” tradition that you and your kids share each year? If you do, great! If not, that’s okay too. But you might want to consider starting a new tradition to mark the start of your homeschool year!
Different families choose to mark this day in different ways. You might consider:
- Creating fun props and having a mini photo session.
- Take the first day of school “off” and going on a field trip or even taking a week-long road trip.
- Starting the day with a morning donut run and park playdate before coming home to begin assignments.
Really, it doesn’t matter what you choose so long as it fits your family. If you’d like some ideas to consider or to use as jumping-off points, the article 5 Ways to Make the First Day of Homeschool Special will be helpful to you!
2. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Well, okay, let’s be clear. Homeschooling is NOT a race. But, I digress.
Let’s go with the “slow and steady” part. You and your kids are on your own timetable now. You don’t have to keep up with the public school kids next door. You also don’t need an 8-hour school day. Or to teach 15 different subjects. In fact, your homeschool doesn’t need to look like public school at all! Why? Because Public-School-at-Home Is Not Homeschooling.
You can keep it simple to start – math, a daily read-aloud, a yoga class on YouTube, writing a letter to Grandma, and maybe a nightly devotional before bed. A little bit of reading, a little bit of writing, some number fun, and make sure they move their bodies. School can fit around your life. And when you homeschool, you begin to see that learning is happening 24/7. You don’t have to force it.
Sure, you’ll add in all the rest – science, history, foreign language, art appreciation, whatever you want. But, it doesn’t have to be all at once. And it certainly doesn’t have to be right now. Get your feet wet as a new homeschooler.
Figure out what time of day everyone functions best. Look at your calendar and your outside commitments. Work on putting into place some good habits and routines. This will serve you well in the years to come – homeschooling or not. You’ll begin to see a natural flow to your day. And when you do, you’ll see what subjects fit in where.
Remember, learning doesn’t happen on a public school schedule. Your kids are learning at night and on the weekends too. It doesn’t really matter what time of day you tackle your schoolwork. Do it at whatever time works for your family.
3. Consider embracing the concept of year-round schooling.
When we think of the first day of school, the end of summer/beginning of fall typically comes to mind. However, likely at the end of summer, you were still trying to decide whether or not to take the homeschooling plunge. You may not have been in the right headspace to jump in with both feet and get started. In fact, the first few weeks may have left you feeling unsure whether or not to continue. If so, that’s okay.
Thus the beauty of year-round homeschooling. A few weeks, or even a few months, of spinning your wheels doesn’t have to derail your whole year. The benefit of year-round schooling is that you can make it fit your family – whatever that means to you. Four day school week? Sure! Six weeks on, one week off? Absolutely! School as you normally would and just take days, or even weeks, off when needed? You bet! Start in January and end in December? Sounds crazy, but yes! To find more information about year-round homeschooling, read The Benefits of Homeschooling Year Round (with FREE Printable Calendars!).
Schooling year round gives you the freedom and flexibility to take your time, chase rabbit trails, and take breaks for all the important things – sick kids, work commitments, new babies, and even family vacations! As with everything else, make the schedule fit your family–not the other way around.
I hope you can see that homeschooling is, like everything else, a process of trial and error. But, the benefits are beyond compare.
You can tailor your children’s educations to their interests and abilities. Single parents and working parents can school around hectic work schedules. Families can take time off to travel (or even better, school on the road!).Learning is living. And living is learning. When you embrace this concept, the rest will fall into place.
And then, you’ll realize you did it. You found your groove as a new homeschool mom.
Amy Thetford is a freelance writer and blogger who homeschools her tribe of tiny humans while pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a published author. She is fueled by coffee and the desire to do ALL. THE. THINGS. She has the attention span of a squirrel, though she somehow manages to make it through each day with everyone fed and happy (well, mostly happy! Ha!) while striving to make every tomorrow better than the last. You can hear more of what she has to say over at Real Talk with Amy, where she blogs about all things motherhood.