Successful Homeschooling Tips
Are you looking for successful homeschooling tips? Tips to help you successfully homeschool your children. I know homeschooling is a huge responsibility, and you want to do everything correctly. There is a lot of pressure that can build up when you choose to homeschool, and doing everything can feel overwhelming at first. When I chose to homeschool, I scoured the internet for information because I had no clue how to go about it. I wasn’t sure how to fill out the paperwork correctly. I needed a helping hand to understand those regulations and requirements, and don’t get me started choosing the right curriculum. In the past few years, I have been trying to gather, create and share information that I have found helpful from my experience homeschooling here in New York. Let me share some successful homeschooling tips, but before I begin, please take a moment to pin this post to your homeschool board.
Know the law in your state
Every state is different. New York’s homeschooling laws and regulations require reporting to the Department of Education or DoE. This paperwork may seem overwhelming and terrifying at first, but it gives us each power when we learn the law well, and the resulting paperwork helps to keep us organized and well documented. Don’t rely on others, like the DoE, to inform you. Take the time to learn what is actually required by the law. You can learn about everything you need to file and when on the DoE’s calendar for homeschooling. If you live in another state, you may want to check out your state’s laws.
Finding support is essential. Whether that support is in person or online is up to you. Maybe you want the best of both worlds. Finding the right groups and communities is an important part of homeschooling. It would be best if you had support during this journey because it can be different than everyone else in your immediate circle. It can be difficult and stress-inducing. It can even be isolating. It is also a bonus if these groups extend to group field trips, co-ops, and more. Do some research, try things out, don’t be afraid to leave, and not return if the group isn’t working for you. There are all kinds of homeschoolers in all walks of life. There is a group out there for you and if you can’t find it, start one!
Group Activities for Homeschoolers
Socialization is always a hot topic. That’s why I created the Beware Unsocialized Homeschoolers Merch, homeschooling can be isolating for you and your children, but it doesn’t have to be. As I said about finding support, finding other homeschoolers or group programs open to homeschoolers can help you not be isolated and take care of that socialization problem. Whether you join groups or create your own group activities, they are an important part of successful homeschooling.
Your Child’s Interests and Learning Style
Homeschooling gives you and your child the ability to dive deep into their interests. Ask your child if they can learn absolutely anything, what would it be? Give your child room to explore. If they can learn:
- Any language
- Engineer / Build anything they wanted
- any science they like (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, any science at all)
- any musical instrument
- art style or art history
- any culture or part of the world.
- any time period
- write or perform plays, songs, poetry
- video games
- graphic design
The list is endless. These are just a few broad topics to choose from, but if you gave your child the opportunity to learn whatever they like or even yourself, for that matter, what would they choose? What would you?
Three days is all you need to give your child to really think and answer the question, giving them the freedom to change their mind at any point in time. Take their answers seriously. What may seem silly to you may be the world to them. Give them each thoughtful consideration, including your own interests.
If your child is having difficulty choosing and you really don’t know your child’s interests have them do little deep dives into different areas during your deschooling period, visit the library and choose something that grabs them at that moment and dive into it, grab the laptop or tablet, watch videos, visit museums or events and go for it. Spend the time with your child, go out for walks and talk, notice what they get excited about what attracts their gaze. Do they notice a flyer for soccer or a new pet store in the neighborhood? Please take it as an invitation to dive into those areas.
Every one of us has our own learning style. Some of us learn best from reading, while others learn best from watching or listening. Still, others learn best by having the experience and doing it. Some of us need absolute quiet for concentration, while others need the radio or some background noise. Many of us getting started don’t know our child’s learning style. Be vigilant of what works best for your child, try things out, and don’t feel guilty to let things go. You can also check out Discover Your Child’s Learning Style by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle-Hodson. It includes a series of simple checklists that can help you identify your child’s learning style.
Finding your child’s learning style will help lessen the frustration for both you and your child. It will also improve learning efficiency. Sometimes all you need is some simple modifications to your day or school structure to make a big difference. There is no one size fits all method or structure. What works for you may not work for your child, and one child may be very different from your second child. It is important to be flexible and follow your child’s lead and needs. It may seem overwhelming, but sticking to one step at a time and taking your time to get each thing in place will help overall. Learning styles can also change, so it may be beneficial to reassess their learning styles and your teaching methods at the beginning of each homeschool year.
Interest Led Homeschool Teacher
We have explored how important it is to know your child’s learning style, but if you are a homeschool teacher, you are critical. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked as a parent. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what interests us, what excited us as children, what we loved to do, and things we weren’t being requested to do. Did you enjoy playing games, playing baseball or soccer, dancing, drawing or painting, reading, acting or singing. Dive into those interests, or something that interests you now. It will help you homeschool, diving into your own interests. Maybe that looks like a book club, or a pottery class, or writing class, or learning photography. It will breathe life into you, and you can breathe life into your homeschool. You can take that photography interest and then teach it to your children, or teach science, art, math, history and reading all through photography. Thinking outside the box is another important aspect of homeschooling, we all have these ideas of what school should look like, throw them away and realize learning doesn’t only happen at a desk.
Research, Research, Research
Research is key to a successful homeschool. No one has all the answers, but there are a lot of answers out there. A little research goes a long way. Research is essential for getting information, recommendations, teaching ideas, lesson plans, textbooks, resources, and inspiration.
Where can you research? You can turn to your support groups; you can search online like this website and countless others, you can check out the library, Youtube, podcasts, and even social media.
There is plenty of information and inspiration out there. Remember to keep your and your child’s best interest at heart. Don’t try to make every moment “Instagram perfect.” It isn’t the case for any homeschooler. Focus on one thing at a time, don’t overwhelm yourself, make sure you don’t over plan your homeschool, and leave plenty of room to keep things flexible.
Use Your Environment
What is going on in your neck of the woods? It is a good idea to learn more about what is happening in your local area. Call or visit the websites of the museums, zoos, libraries, theaters, and schools (especially colleges) and ask about classes and internships for homeschoolers. If you are looking for a specific internship, google search for your area, speak to your neighbors, visit local shops and services, and learn about what’s in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask for internship opportunities or “after-school” jobs at your local vet or pet store. Homeschoolers have the advantage of a flexible schedule where your child can explore their interests, unlike traditional school children.
Paperwork- Keeping Records
Now that you know the law, the requirements, and regulations of the state, it’s time to fill them out or put them together yourself, depending on what they are. We do have some templates in our library of resources. Some videos available where I fill out the Individualized Home Instruction Plan and Quarterly Reports if you are in the New York area.
Storing your records is also important. You are responsible to keep a record for yourself. Therefore, everything you report to the DoE should have a full copy that you keep, permanently. I recently began keeping all my files in a binder, I have page protectors and each year of paperwork for each child is in their individual page protectors, this makes things easier to find when or if needed.
Creating A Love For Learning
Learning never ends. We are constantly learning and growing. This should be more enjoyable than not. Does that mean it’s easy? No. There will always be challenges and things to overcome.
Check out local colleges for offerings listed under continued education or pre-college courses. They may waive any prerequisite, age, and diploma requirements. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Internships and apprenticeships can sometimes offer a superior education than college, depending on the individual and their goals.
Teaching our kids how to learn and how to love it will help them become life long learners. Remember to keep alive their interests and spark joy by digging deep, even if it’s Minecraft. Always be on a journey that is filled with learning new things along the way.
Successful Homeschooling Tips
I hope these successful homeschooling tips lead you and your children to a happy and healthy homeschool. I hope they have filled you with excitement to get started, to jump in headfirst, and to breathe away any overwhelm. Homeschooling isn’t always easy but it is worth it. You can do this.