Is there anything you wished you would have known about homeschooling before you started? Maybe a few helpful or comforting real-life tips?
Whether you're at the beginning of your journey or have been homeschooling for years, this list is sure to make you smile and feel a sense of relief. Shout out to all the parents who shared their ideas with me. I love this homeschool community.
25 Things You Wish You Had Known About Homeschooling Before You Started
- Don't be afraid to ditch a curriculum if it's not working for your child. It might not be the right fit for them (or you) and that is okay. You can put it aside and come back to it or pass it along to a friend.
- Serving Second Breakfasts is required. I don't make the rules.
- February never ends. Know this going in and be prepared with crafts, coffee, and cookies. You're welcome.
- Learning alongside your child is fun and rewarding. I've learned so much over the last 10+ years! It's all about building connection and trust and a love of lifelong learning.
- Your family's journey will look different from all other homeschooling families. Embrace this!
- Find yourself a loyal and supportive group of homeschooling parent friends. They will make you laugh, understand your struggles and be there for you. You will do the same. Treasure these friendships.
- Relax and let everything unfold because there's no right "way" for it to look. Homeschooling changes season to season and year to year.
- You will spend the majority of your time making snacks (not to be confused with Second Breakfasts). Be sure to have your own special snacks hidden away for stressful times, February, or Tuesdays.
- Sometimes, it might be difficult to find a real-life, in-person community. Don't give up!
- There will be times when things don't go how you envision. This is normal. It might feel like this for weeks or months. Lean in and just do the next small, simple thing. You've got this.
- There will be many, many hours spent eating. Again, this eating is separate from the Second Breakfasts and the SNACKS. Side note: Baking, meal prep, cooking, and washing dishes COUNTS as homeschool (for the children).
- You have to be an adept "conflict management consultant" (special shout-out to Teresa W. for this one). If you have more than one child, they will need breaks from each other. Ask me how I know.
- Homeschooling can feel like an actual roller coaster ride, complete with a huge loopty-loop, corkscrew turns, and steep hills that seem to take forever and a day to go up, and then you free fall. It doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. Just make sure you're buckled up.
- There's a good chance you'll research and do a deep dive into the history of the U.S. education system. It is eye-opening and empowering.
- You will lose a library book (or five) because you max out your library's check-out policy whenever possible.
- You will likely own one (or seven) metal rolling carts to store craft supplies, books, school work, and all the snacks.
- You will want to continue making lapbooks with your children when they have grown out of them. This is normal. Allow yourself a little grace period to mourn one season of homeschooling ending as you enter a new one.
- It's THEIR education. Yes, you get to be the educational opportunity provider, and often, but not always, the teacher.
- The decor of your home will be best described as "homeschool chic" and that entails projects, science experiments, books, games, Lego creations, and half-finished snacks dotting all the surfaces. Yes, you'll clean it up (most days) but everything will magically appear again by 8:39 AM the next morning.
- Middle school is a time of transition on ALL levels. Roll with it.
- Audiobooks are books. Graphic novels are books. Let your kids read what they love and listen to what they love!
- The homeschooling community is notoriously late for everything. I know this probably isn't you, but it could be. Show grace and plan accordingly.
- Sage advice from longtime homeschooler and my dear friend Karen: "When you homeschool, you get to handpick the teacher, the curriculum, the classroom, the books, the lessons. It's not assigned to you & your child, and that immediately gives way to any competition for 'best teacher', 'best school' that you find in the public school system. Plus, if your child thrives in competition let that be in an environment where they are around people who are interested in gaining knowledge and skill of the same subject that will make them stronger, not in an environment where they are teaching to the middle and competing for the attention in a school system." Enough said.
- Your interests and passions and self-care MATTER, friend. Don't neglect yourself. Model this for your children. It will be a gift to them. I promise.
- Your family's choice to homeschool is not anyone else's business. Period.
I loved chatting with so many amazing homeschoolers to pull together this list. I am inspired every day by homeschooling families. What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.