Advice for New Homeschool Moms

When my husband and I began contemplating the fact that we wanted to homeschool our children, I had a lot of questions.

Questions like, Where do I start? How do I start? Who do I talk to?

I also had a lot of fears.

I’m afraid I will not do a good job with my kids’ education.
I’m afraid they are going to get behind.
I’m afraid they will not be able to go to college.
I’m not good enough.

Does any of that sound familiar?

We all had questions and fears in the beginning, right? Unless you are a second generation homeschooler, you really do not know what to expect. Even if you are a second generation homeschooler, as you are stepping into the opposite role of parent/teacher, you may have a lot of questions still.

We began our homeschool way of life 8 years ago. Wow! A lot has happened since then. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that we started, in other ways, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

I had absolutely no idea where to start.

Both my husband and I are public school graduates. Neither one of us has any family whatsoever that homeschool or even ever talked about the possibility of homeschooling.

I did, however, have a friend who homeschooled. At this time, both of her children were in high school and soon to graduate. I had watched her over the years. I watched her children over the years. Yeah, they were a little different, but it was a good different.

By the time my husband and I knew for certain that this was the route we wanted to take, I thought of my friend and gave her a call.

I remember it as if it were yesterday (now 8 years ago). I got a pencil and paper and was ready to take notes. I went outside and sat in our carport and made the call.

That was probably the most helpful and encouraging conversation about children, parenting, and homeschooling that I have ever had. In fact, that conversation was one of the things that got me through the next couple of years.

I don’t remember exactly what was said throughout the entire conversation, but two pieces of advice my friend gave me, I held on to, I clung to when self-doubt, fear, and overwhelm came creeping in.

Advice for New Homeschool Moms
Advice for New Homeschool Moms
What were those two pieces of advice?

I was sharing with my friend my lack of confidence when it came to taking on the huge responsibility of educating my children. This was their EDUCATION we are talking about. If I messed that up, they would be RUINED for life….right?

My friend, in the calmest and most reassuring voice simply said,

“You care more about your children than anyone else on this earth does. You care more about their education and how they develop than a teacher would. You will do a great job, better than anyone else, at making sure they get what they need. Their education is important to you, you will not mess it up.”

That should be obvious, right?

Sometimes, even us moms need to be reminded and reassured of that truth.

So, rather you are new at this or you’ve been at it for a while, just remember that you love and care for your children more than anyone else on this earth does. Their education and development are among  the most important things to you.  Trust yourself with your children’s education. You will make sure they get what they need.

What was the second piece of advice my homeschool mom friend gave me?
“Do not quit after the first year.”

I didn’t really understand what she meant. I understood what she said, I didn’t really get it, though.

That is, I didn’t get it until that first year was over. In fact, there were a lot of things I didn’t get about homeschooling until several years in and some things I wish I had known when we started.

The transition for my kids from the public school system to being at home with all day with mom was harder to get adjusted to than I anticipated. The first semester wasn’t really that bad, it was more of an adventure. By the time the second semester started, the feeling of adventure wore thin and I knew that my children were missing certain things about going to school -away from home- every day. My children were, for the most part, willing participants and there were things they really liked about homeschooling but there were also things they really missed about going to school every day.

Honestly, it was just as hard for me to adjust as well. My transition from a quiet home with a mild-mannered toddler to a home full of noise with a fourth and seventh-grader, which then made the toddler not so mild- mannered 🙂 was difficult for me. I loved my kids being at home and I wanted to spend the time with them and invest in them but that didn’t change the fact that it was difficult to get used to.

On the one hand I loved it because I could see our relationships growing, but, on the other hand, my quiet sanctuary that I had had available to me all day was no more.

I need alone time. I need quiet time.

So, I had to adjust, and I did.

We all had adjusting to do. Making a dramatic change in your lifestyle requires patience, time, and a lot of prayers.

Dramatic changes in your lifestyle require patience, time, and a lot of prayers. Click To Tweet

Have you ever heard the expression, it takes a lot of water to turn a big boat around?

Making the change from the public school system to homeschooling is a big one.

It takes a lot of time to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Homeschooling is more of a lifestyle than just a thing you do.

Give yourself and your family time to adjust before making the decision to quit.

Don’t look at the first year as a model of how the rest of the school years will be. Each year will get better.

So, new homeschool mom, as we are nearing the end of the first semester, my advice to you is…

  • Don’t worry about not giving your kids what they need to have a great education. You will provide them what they need when they need it because it is important to you.
  • Whatever you do, do not quit after the first year. Give yourself and your family time to adjust. You started this journey because you felt it was best for you and your kids, don’t give up.

Are you looking for more advice from a veteran homeschool mom? (I don’t know about you but these precious ladies are the ones I look to for most of my advice, the ones that have been there and done that 🙂 ) Michelle over at Midlife Blogger has several encouraging posts on homeschool. She homeschooled for many years and has great advice for new homeschooling families. Go here to read 10 Pieces of Advice for New Homeschoolers.

Do you have any other fears or concerns?

I would love to hear what you have on your mind and I would love to be an encouragement to you. I read all comments left so feel free to leave a comment expressing your fears or concerns. Who knows, it may strike a cord with someone else reading this and ease their worries. Or, if you would like, contact me here. (it may take me a few days to respond, but I will respond)





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Amanda

Amanda

You'll catch Amanda at mendedandblended.com writing about her
family's journey of being mended and blended together by the thread of the Word of God. They are a homeschooling family on this journey with 4 children talking about real life andseeking to encourage others.
Amanda
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27 thoughts on “Advice for New Homeschool Moms

  1. It’s been a few more years for us, since we started homeschooling, but the best thing we did was visit another homeschooling family. Like your friend, they were able to answer our questions, and reassure us that we could do this.

    1. Deborah, It helps a great deal to be able to visit with people who have been on the road that you are about to go down. I’m glad you knew people that you could go to that were able to help you!

  2. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am a public school teacher turned homeschooling mom this year!! Even as a teacher I still think sometimes “I hope I don’t mess them up too bad” or have days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing! Thanks so much for this post. So encouraging!!!!

    1. Tammy, taking that huge leap of faith is hard in the beginning but is so worth it, isn’t it? I can’t even imagine sending my special needs child away for strangers to take care of. Good for you for taking that leap of faith!

  3. Great advice! I’m on year #17 of this crazy hard but very rewarding ride called “homeschooling” and I’d say make sure you NEVER give up. It’s never “easy,” but always, always worth it. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Amy. I know how much it meant to me to hear that from an experienced homeschool mom. I want to be able to share that with other new homeschool moms and hopefully ease their worries a little.

  4. From a not so new homeschooler (have homeschooled my kids from the start, oldest of 4 is 11) this is great advice!!! I would also add, RELAX!!! You do NOT have to check every box every day, you do NOT have to make your home look/feel like a school classroom. They learn so much more than we realize just from day to day life.

    1. Yes! That’s so true! Some people do a great job at not replicating the school system when first transitioning from public school to homeschool. I think I feel somewhere in the middle. Now….you would never even know that we attended a public school as we have finally “gotten” homeschool 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read this!

  5. I am in the first year of homeschooling, an 11 and 8 year old who previously attended a small private school.
    I am REALLY having a hard time with the lack of quiet, lack of me time, general increase in noise in our home.
    I also have a 4 and 2 yr old boy at home, and though I take them to preK 2 mornings a week for time to run errands, go to the library, etc, i have very little alone time. Except late in the evenings or very early in am before they wake up.
    Im burning the candle at both ends and am often tired and cranky. Im likely a highly sensitive person, and this was one of my main doubts and one of my husbands biggest hesitations in our “trying homeschool for a year”.. i dont want to have my kids home all the time just for me to treat them like i dont want them around!!?? What do i do??

    1. Aubrey, I can definitely relate to needing me time and quiet time. Honestly, I felt this was the hardest thing to adjust to in the beginning. One of the biggest things to remember is to give yourself time to adjust. You will eventually adjust to the extra noise and even miss it when, on rare occasion, you are home alone :-). I wonder, with your two oldest being 11 and 8…when you take the younger ones to preK, would there be a way (at least one of those days) to have that time as down time for you? I know that you have to fit in running errands, etc. when you can, but if you could fit in a morning or two a month even to just have that time as quiet time, that may help out. Maybe the two older ones can do some of their schoolwork on their own those few days (in another part of the house), or if you live close to anyone who could oversee their schoolwork for a few hours on the days your youngest ones go to preK? I also found that I had to let things go in order to get enough rest as well (which helped me overall with my attitude toward my kids). Getting enough rest is imperitive. Sometimes, I just have to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, I have to fold a load or two of laundry the next day, etc. so that I can go to bed and my body can get the rest it needs. Do you have friends who homeschool that you can talk to and get ideas from on how they handle getting enough time to themselves? Also, what is your WHY of homeschooling? If you have not found a solid WHY as your reason to homeschool, I would take some time to do that. Something else that helped me was to find a few homeschool moms online that I could follow. Not the “everything looks perfect in my homeschool” moms, but the moms who are not afraid to tell you that this homeschooling thing is not all honey and no bees. I also want to say that moms with all different types of personalities can homeschool. You just have to find your way and it may take a little while to do that, and your way may end up being different from what you first thought it would be. Some moms need more alone time, some moms don’t. It really depends on your personality type. And, of course, this is the most important thing…pray a lot. I prayed that God would teach me to be the mom that my kids need. I prayed that He would teach me how to adjust. As you said, I didn’t want them to be home with me and then me act like they were a burden or that I didn’t want them around. I wanted to be mama first, then take care of schooling and everything else. So, the things I would do is, give yourself grace, let some things go, find a support system rather it be family or other homeschool friends that can help you transition to the homeschool way of life, and pray a lot. Just hang in there, the first year (when transitioning) is usually the hardest.

  6. Amanda, this is such good advice. I’ve been homeschooling for 12 years and I still tend to worry about messing up my son and him not being able to get into college. But that is Satan trying to make me second guess what I’ve been doing all these years. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Lori, yes, I agree! Satan has a way of doing that. Homeschooling is so popular now that I don’t think any college would not accept someone based on the fact they homeschool. Of course, the other fear is that our kids will not be able to do the work academically or adjust to being in a clossroom. I love talking to families who have sent their homeschooled kids to college whose kids have adjusted very well to a classroom. 🙂

    1. Jen, thank you so much. Sometimes I hate to admit that I need “me” time and that it was so hard to adjust to my wonderful kids being home 24/7, I feel like that sounds selfish….but it is true and I’m realizing that I’m not alone in feeling that way 🙂

  7. Wow. Just what I needed to hear. My kids are 4th and 6th and so much will have to be undone. I’ll be back for advice I’m sure💜Thank you for this post!

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