Beginning your home education or homeschooling journey can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor!
As a new home educator, you’re taking on the role of both teacher and parent which can be a tricky balance in the beginning.
Here are my top 3 tips that I wish I had known at the start which would have made those first months so much more enjoyable:
- One Day At A Time: I can smile now as I look back on those first few months of our journey. I remember spending weeks preparing for that all important ‘first day’ Not only had I pretty much researched every topic on home education that Google had to offer, I had also taken out subscriptions to various learning resources and bought half of Amazon to get us started. I had looked at curriculum guides and targets for every step of the way and had devised a 4 week timetable that any Head teacher would be proud of! Little did I know at the time that I really need not have bothered because the phrase ‘all change’ springs to mind. One of the main benefits of HE is flexibility, not only for learning but also for how you and your children choose to learn. Whilst for some, timetables and structure are preferable that doesn’t mean that its right for everyone. Whether your child is only just beginning their educational journey or has previously attended a school setting, start by taking things just one day at a time. Trial and error is key, by all means have options to try but I found that all I actually achieved by trying to enforce a strict learning schedule was stress for all involved.
- Its A Marathon Not A Sprint: Remember that not only will home education or home schooling be an educational choice for your children, its also a family lifestyle. There are no time restrictions and as such there is no urgency to undertake any learning or social opportunities right away. If you begin by throwing yourself in at the deep end and signing up to every course and activity on offer, you will be burned out by the end of the month (trust me, I still have the T-shirt for anyone who would like to borrow it!) Its a great idea to join local HE forum groups on social media and get a feel for whats out there, likewise there are so many new and exciting learning and educational opportunities available, but by over committing or trying to constantly push social events onto not only your children but yourself too, it can become very overwhelming and have the adverse effect on what you are trying to achieve. Don’t be afraid to take small steps at first, this will help you ease into your new lifestyle comfortably whilst keeping your options open.
- Nothing To Prove: Depending on the level of support that you have received from family and friends in your decision to home educate, many feel that because they have not conformed to the educational norm, they constantly have to prove that its the right decision but in short, you don’t! I found that I put an immense amount of pressure on myself at the beginning to constantly demonstrate how well my children were doing which became increasingly stressful yet neither myself or my children gained anything from it. In fact, although I had prepared myself for an entourage of update requests on their education from every person and their dog there were none because clearly it was obvious to them how well they were progressing that nobody felt the need to ask! Around 12 months into HE, I remember going out for lunch with a family member who had not been in favour of our choice in the beginning and was astonished to hear that she had been telling others what a great thing home learning was and how my children were thriving….all that stress and worry that I put myself through was for nothing. Obviously there are going to be people that no matter what, will always question your choices but thats their problem and not yours and as such you have nothing to prove. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and the benefits will speak for themselves in so many ways as your children grow and flourish into fantastic human beings.