We made the switch from public school to homeschool after our son's fourth-grade year. At the time, homeschooling wasn't even something he wanted to do. Change was never easy for him and homeschooling was so far outside of our norm that he was pretty terrified of the whole idea. Eleven years later, I know he'd tell you it was the best thing we ever did for him, but at the time the transition was tough.
Our normal was public school. Early morning car lines, parent/teacher conferences, and loudspeaker late bells.
Even after a summer break, the transition from public school to homeschool was a huge lifestyle shift for the whole family and it took time to adjust.
Is your family making the transition from public school to homeschool this year?
Here's a few tips to help make your transition smooth.
Gather curriculum but don't go nuts.
When you’re ready to shop around for curriculum, take it slow. You'll need time to get to know your child's learning style, what works, and what doesn't. You don't want to go crazy buying a bunch a books that will never get used! Gather your core subjects and let the rest fall into place naturally.
Ease into lessons slowly.
I was so nervous that first year. I worried about covering everything and made the mistake of jumping right into full lessons, long days, and too much of the
school at home
style of going about the day. My suggestion?
Make learning fun.
Break out the microscope and discover something new. Get your kids in the kitchen and call it math or science. Plan a simple science experiment to start the day with a surprise. Go on a field trip. Take more walks.
Learning can happen anywhere, but I didn't really begin to understand that until our first year was long gone.
Don't expect homeschooling will solve everything.
I'm just assuming that if you're reading this post you've recently pulled your child out of public school or you're at least thinking about it. Perhaps you're like we were and struggling to help your child?
Just know that bringing him home isn't going to magically correct every problem. You might still have some of the same issues your child had in public school at home. If you're dealing with any special needs the transition might even make things worse for a little while. Hang in there!
I began to notice quirks and behaviors that got in the way of learning more closely, yet I struggled to know what to do about them. Our first year included lots of trial and error. On top of the decision to homeschool, we also made one change after the other as we found our way in how we would do it.
A veteran homeschooling mom once told me, “Give yourself time to
I didn’t really get what she meant until I actually felt the process of “de-schooling” in my own life, but it's the best piece of advice I can give you.
Let go of boundaries and expectations that no longer apply to your school day. If you’re like I was and you’ve taken your child out of the mainstream system after years of participating in it, you need time to de-school and change your mindset about education.
Spend lots of time doing things that have nothing to do with school. You're home. Enjoy it! Hang out with your kid. Laugh. Watch silly movies and go wherever you want in the middle of the day just because you can.
Find a support group.
You need to know other homeschool moms yell at their kids, have bad days, and don't complete every math lesson.
You need to be around people who accept your children just the way they are.
We all need a homeschool family to count on! Whether it's a co-op or just a group of fellow homeschooling friends, you and your children need a tribe. We need to be able to toss around ideas and laugh about the craziness of the day with people who get it because, let's be honest...not everyone will!