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Let’s Chat About Homeschool

Spring is upon us and that means many families are thinking about school plans for next year. A growing number of those families will choose homeschooling. If you are one of them, here are a few tips to get a jump start on your homeschooling year:

  1. Talk with your kids. Explain to them why you’re choosing homeschooling. Depending on the ages of your kids, this will look different. For a younger child, you may be playing together and say, “I’m so excited that we are going to spend more time playing and learning together at home.” With an older child, explain that you are eager for him to have extra time pursuing a passion of his. This will be an ongoing conversation throughout your child’s school years. Be sure to include your kids in the planning process so they can take ownership too. Our family has made posters with everyone’s reasons and we hang them in our school room.
  2. Develop relationships with another homeschool family or co-op. These people will be your mentors and support system. Take the opportunity to learn from someone else’s experiences, ask lots of questions and develop allies.
  3. Visit Mardel in Independence or Overland Park. They have a huge homeschool section and I’ve been known to spend hours reading through books to find just the right thing for my kids. If there’s something you love, make a note of it (I take a photo with my phone) and come back during their homeschool sale.
  4. Visit a homeschool convention, used book sale, information night or other event. The Midwest Parent Educators convention offers a vendor hall and a variety of speakers. Take time to peruse the vendor hall and, if your kids are old enough, have them look with you. Listen to the speakers and absorb all that you can.  Don’t buy anything the first day. Think it over and come back the next day. Something I learned: it’s worth the cost in shipping if you decide to get something after the conference rather than buying a bunch of stuff that you don’t end up using. If you can’t make it to the convention, several libraries and co-ops will host events throughout the spring and summer to help you get started.
  5. Get a planner and start writing everything you do with your kids. Better yet, get them in on the process and discuss it at the end of each day while you write. If they’re old enough, have them do the writing. We’ll talk about why later, just do it!

The most important tip I would offer is to not to sweat the first year. Your homeschool doesn’t need to replicate the classroom. Spend time teaching academics, but focus on developing character and relationships and set the course that you want to take over the next few years with your family. Homeschooling your kids isn’t a sprint, it’s a long distance run and you will be so glad you chose it.

1 Response

  1. Jenn Wolfsohn says:

    Love the article! I wanted to add, make learning a lifestyle and enjoy discovering new things with your children. You don’t have to know everything to homeschool, just have a willingness to explore and discover alongside your kids. Learning will become more exciting and enjoyable and you will not become the droning teacher that won’t stop talking when the class is already tuned out! While we have to do the paperwork, like math and handwriting, etc., take some time to get outdoors and “do school” outside at a nature center, in the backyard, etc. Take advantage of free resources like the public library, as well!! Going to get books at the library can become such a fun outing together that the kids naturally learn to love reading and learning. Jenn

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