Distance learning. Hybrid schedule. Homeschooling. This is an unprecedented time as parents are faced with making some tough decisions about their kids’ education. No matter your choice, I’m here to help you transition from a regular public schooling structure to a homeschool structure.
Before I get started, there is ONE thing you NEED to know. Whatever form of schooling you decide on for your kids this year, be confident in your choice. Don’t feel like you need to do what everyone else is doing. Don’t second guess your choice when you see what other people are doing. Do what’s right for your family.
Let’s dive right into some of my tips for transitioning from public school to homeschooling.
1) You are not a public school teacher. I have transitioned back and forth between homeschooling and public schooling with my kids many times over the years. The biggest mistake I made as a new homeschooling mom, and that many moms are tempted to make is to bring public school into the home. Homeschooling is not a public school at home! You need to understand that public school teachers are trained to teach many children. You don’t have to do this.
Be YOU! Magnify what you are good at and use those skills as you school your children at home.
2) Set goals. Before the school year starts, sit down and set some goals. You may want to include your spouse in this process and even your children. What do you want to accomplish for the year? What do your kids want to learn about? When we started homeschooling, I decided that tests were not important for me. My goal for my kids was to have them be self-starters and to have them develop a love for learning.
Goal Setting Tip: Set realistic expectations and goals. Feel free to reach for the stars, but allow for some flexibility as you achieve those goals.
3) Make bed first thing in the morning. This is something we have adopted as part of our routine so as to accomplish our goal of becoming self-starters. It gives my children a sense of accomplishment and gets them on a roll for checking more things off their daily to-do list. Just think about it, before their day even starts they’ve already accomplished one goal!
4) Set their own personal goals. What are your children passionate about? What drives them? We use planners and have a big family meeting before the beginning of each school year to answer these questions. From there, we tailor the curriculum around their interests. For example, this past school year Shae wanted to learn about Switzerland. He dove deep into Switzerland’s history, the people, their food, their art, and so much more. In doing so he was able to cover, literature, art, and history!
5) Set a daily routine. It is important for kids to have structure and a routine will help them feel that sense of structure. Keep in mind that whatever routine you create can be flexible and does not need to be down to the minute. We start in the morning. We have morning pow-wow (meeting) while we’re eating breakfast. We talk about what everyone is getting done for the day. I announce any group lessons we might be having then we break and meet back at whatever time we set for group lessons. We meet again at lunch talk about what we have finished and what needs to get done. From there we set a goal to be done between 12-2 then the rest of the day is free for them.
6) Curriculum: I wanted to answer this question because I’ve gotten lots of questions about it. If you’re doing the hybrid you probably don’t need to worry about curriculum because you will likely get it from the school. Homeschoolers, start researching now what kind of curriculum you want to use.
Here’s a break down of some we’ve used over the years:
*K12- THis is a self-moving curriculum that is all online. You pick the electives, they send all the manipulatives and you work at home. Keep in mind it’s all online.
*The good and the Beautiful- If you don’t like online, this is a full curriculum that is all in workbooks. Use their assessments online to test what level your children are in. You can take assessments and placements for most homeschool curriculums.
*I like doing group studies. For example, for history, we do history read alouds (using History of the World) and then we assign different assignments depending on grade level (essays for older kids, art for younger kids and everything in between).
*Life of Fred- The Good and the Beautiful only goes up to level 3 so for my older kids we use Life of Fred. This is an all workbook curriculum, so if you prefer online, you might want to look into other curriculum. There are many out there. Khan Academy is a great (free) online resource we like to use.
I hope this was helpful for you in transitioning to homeschool. What are your best homeschool transition tips? Keep an eye out for more homeschooling tips here on the blog and on my Instagram accounts @thenowmom or @rachbennett.