Homeschooling: Mindset Help from Veteran Homeschoolers

sara caldwell- yes permission

Can I say just how exciting it is to see so many people wanting to start homeschooling? I remember when we started 11+ years ago. Several of my closest friends were homeschooling. I was the lone holdout who said never-ever, don’t even think about it, no way am I going to homeschool. Never say never right?
Now as I see all the questions swirling about from those just beginning down this road, it causes me to reflect back on our own journey and how we started out. 11 years and 7 children later, the questions I see floating around now are the same ones I had years ago. How to start? How do you actually do this homeschooling thing? And of course the number one question, which curriculum? With that all in mind, I wanted to share a few “Dear younger homeschooling me” thoughts.
If I could go back, I would “PRACTICE” homeschooling long before ever purchasing curriculum. Homeschooling is 95% mindset and 5% curriculum. Sorry to say but the first curriuclum(s) you choose will most likely not be the one(s) you end up using in the long run;)
By practicing, I mean I would have worked on flashcards (letters, colors, math facts, science vocabulary) writing letters and addressing envelopes, assigning book readings, simple science experiments, nature walks, and any other simple assignments that would have allowed us to “practice homeschooling”. I would have discovered much sooner which of my children were more independent and self-starters and those that needed more structure and guidance. I would have realized sooner that I don’t have the stamina do all that my Pinterest Boards say I would do;)
  1. If I would have practiced homeschooling, I would have realized much sooner that always having the whole house clean before starting homeschooling for the day means homeschooling will rarely get done.
  2. If I had practiced homeschooling more, I would have realized sooner how invaluable meal planning was to the success of our days.
  3. If I had practiced homeschooling first I would have realized that individual desks would be impractical for our style and instead, we were going to end up at the kitchen table more times than not. (This help me know where to focus my morning clean up efforts and save the rest of the house for the afternoon)
  4. If I had practiced my minute by minute daily schedule that neatly laid out every subject to be covered and activity to be done, I would have found out that general routines give more structure than any strict schedule could ever do.
  5. If I had practiced my dream of having everyone around the table working with me there to help as needed, I would have realized I can handle working two children max, at any time, tops. I can structure my homeschooling routine much more efficiently now knowing that. (I still use curriculum designed for multiple ages but we rarely do it as a group.)
  6. If I had practiced group read alouds, I would have realized that group reading was not for this crew.
  7. If I had practiced homeschooling, I would have realized sooner how to include dad more to divide and conquer the daily goals. (He’s great if handed flashcards to review for 10 minutes with one child, verbal quizzes of spelling words, math facts etc, or taking a child or two on errands to help calm the noise:)

    And finally:

  8. After I had purchased our curriculum, I would come to realize much sooner that I had the freedom to make the curriculum work for us! I could modify it any way I chose in order to make it work for each child that might use it.

    Not sure if this is helpful but I would love to hear from other veteran homeschoolers some of their “Dear younger homeschooling me” thoughts!

Work, Home School and Keeping Your Sanity

Can you work, home school and still keep your sanity? Sure you can but it is going to take some planning and a schedule to make it happen!

Your Schedule and Managing Expectations

If you have suddenly been thrust into homeschooling, you may imagine that your kids will happily sit down at the kitchen table every morning after breakfast and work quietly and busily at the worksheets their teacher has sent until lunchtime. I have not ever found this scenario to be true! Children need almost constant supervision and reminders. They need your presence standing over them to get them to do their work.

Continue reading “Work, Home School and Keeping Your Sanity”

Homeschool scheduling: Get your work done! + Be creative

Four Humpty Dumpty mugs lined up on window ledge. These mugs show the creative side of our home school schedule.

I am a planner.  I like to know what is coming for the day and the week.  I like advanced planning and scheduling. Maybe you know someone that “unschools.”   Basically, they have just pulled their kids out of an organized school and are letting the kids run the show. They play, they help mommy make bread, they go to a museum, cut coupons, go shopping and lay around the house.  I do not like that kind of home school although a few days off may be needed sometimes.  I was a lot more like a drill sergeant! Continue reading “Homeschool scheduling: Get your work done! + Be creative”