Making the transition from public school to homeschooling is difficult for the entire family. Parents struggle with the decision to accept the responsibility of homeschooling. This decision may have financial implications if one parent leaves a job or goes down to a part-time job.
I always recommend the book Home Learning Year By Year for ALL homeschoolers. It’s a great way to figure out what you child should be learning by age/grade. I use it as a guideline to make sure I’m not creating any learning gaps.
For kids, the change can be equally tough. If you go into homeschooling knowing the first year will be a bit bumpy, the transition will be easier. Talk to any veteran homeschooler and they will tell you they wish they had done the following three things:
• One Month for Every Year – For every year your child spent in public school, plan on one month to make the full switch to homeschooling. This does not mean months on end spent watching Sponge Bob reruns or playing video games. It does mean it will take you and your child to figure out what a homeschool day looks like in your house. Younger kids will often say that this is not real school or that you’re not teaching the right way. Allow time to adjust to your “new normal.”
• It’s Not School-at-Home – If you attended public school and if that’s the only educational experience your child has had, homeschooling can feel weird. Wrapping your head around the fact that you do not have to sit at the kitchen table with your child for six or seven hours a day “doing school” can be difficult. Your child will have the same difficulties adjusting. He no longer has to line up to move from place-to-place. He does not have to raise his hand to ask a question. He can have a snack while he does his math work. He no longer has homework, he simply does his work during the day. These are big changes. Do not underestimate the time you will need to grow into them.
• Pass the Bean Dip – Years ago on a popular homeschool forum, a woman coined the phrase “pass the bean dip.” As a new homeschooler you will be getting lots of advice from well-meaning people who feel the need to quiz your children or give you tips. Nod, smile and pass the bean dip. Homeschooling, over time, speaks for itself. Your children will adjust and they will thrive. (If you have a friend or family member who is a serial quizzer of your homeschool children, teach your kids a couple of party tricks and leave it at that. Have them memorize the Gettysburg Address or the first 20 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. Even little kids can learn these and it shuts most busy-bodies up.)
Homeschooling your kids is such an exciting time for everyone in the family. These tips will help make things flow a little bit easier for you!