New to Homeschooling? Come on In!
Every parent at STAC was once a “new” homeschooler. In fact, our community is composed of a wide array of homeschooling families. Some are just starting out and some are preparing to see their oldest kids graduate. We have families that always intended to homeschool, and those that fell into homeschooling because public school was not a good fit. We have families that use a set curriculum, those that consider themselves relaxed homeschoolers, families of dedicated unschoolers, and all sorts of combinations in between. STAC is excited to welcome several families new to homeschooling this year. Our goal is to support families wherever they are on their homeschooling journey.
In this month’s blog post, our board chair Shana Silva (pretty new to homeschooling herself) reflects on things that can help those just starting out on the homeschooling journey.
First Steps : Words From a (relatively) New Homeschooler
New Homeschoolers will seek advice from the more seasoned families, and are often met with a surprisingly relaxed attitude. “It doesn’t make sense!” we all say.
“How do we know our children are keeping up?” Well, the truth is: for most homeschoolers, it’s a totally different game. We play it in a way we never imagined. And “keeping up” isn’t really the goal. So, here are a few comforting words to rely upon as we deschool ourselves and relearn the delights of learning with our children.
Set goals WITH your children
Sure, you have an idea of what the kids need to learn. Sure, everyone else does too. But nobody has a better idea of what they want to learn than your children. So ask them! Collaborate with them. Let them know a few options, and empower them to go with it. Listen carefully.
Don’t spend money on curriculum yet
It’s so exciting to learn about what’s out there! So daunting to have to choose the right curriculum! The new paper! The sharpened pencils! Hundreds of dollars later, you’re not quite sure what you’ve got. Homeschoolers cross the spectrum from rigid curriculum followers to radical unschoolers. Many fall in between. It’s sensible to wait months or even years before diving into a curriculum. As your children’s wisdom exceeds your own, ask them to participate in finding a curriculum. Grab some books for math if you want. Or a language. Or don’t. Libraries are a magical portal to the world of knowledge. And free.
Check out the laws
Georgia is relaxed when it comes to regulating homeschooling. And most homeschoolers want to keep it that way. It’s up to you to make sure that you are following our very minimal rules for homeschooling. Sure, some of them are confusing.
Join groups in your area
When you join a group, your knowledge base grows exponentially. Find your like-minded people. Most homeschoolers are busy but friendly. Many are introverted and kind. Facebook is a great way to find a crew who want to be a part of your life. Groups help share resources. Groups give your kids that elusive “socialization” that the outside world wishes upon homeschoolers. And Groups can give you that sense of normalcy that a new homeschooler needs.
Be kind to yourself.
Stuff happens. Tears happen. Long days threaten to drain our last resources. Be kind to YOU. If you feel lost or lazy or confused... you’re not alone. You’re never alone! The kids are always there! It may feel inescapable at times. But within that, you have permission to take time for and care of yourself. Selfishly sit until that cup of tea is finished. Don’t force yourself or your children to hit some impossible expectations. Be kind. And as a part of self-care, be kind to the kids, too. Big or small, they will love nothing more than your love.