6 Tips for Successful Homeschooling
1. Plan for success – and failure. Yes, that’s right… I said to plan for failure. Why? Because if you don’t, you’re going to be very disappointed when you do fail. When you first start homeschooling, it’s trial and error. You can plan until the cows come home, but when it comes to implementing that plan, things can get hairy. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t plan – you should – but you should expect a bit of failure, too.
2. Research your options. If you look “homeschooling” up in the thesaurus, it’s going to have the word “options” next to it! Okay, not really, but that is what homeschooling is all about – having the option to do things your way! The way that is best for your child, for you, for your family… that is homeschooling. Because there are so many options out there, you really need to do your research before settling on one. It’s so disappointing to spend time and money on one type of curriculum, only to find that another one would be better suited for you.
While researching, don’t forget to investigate your state’s homeschooling laws in depth.
3. Budget. When you start shopping for homeschooling supplies, it’s exciting! And it’s so easy to go over budget… really fast. Write out your budget for supplies, and try to stick to it. Be flexible, in case you find something you have to have, but stick to the basics as much as possible. You can homeschool with very little spent out of pocket if you plan it right. Use free worksheets and printables you find online for lesson plans. Use Netflix and Amazon Prime for videos, documentaries, and movies to supplement your curriculum. Plan field trips on days when the attractions are free or discounted. There are tons of ways to save money while homeschooling!
4. Join a local homeschool group. Check out your local meetup.com website to see if there are any homeschooling groups in your area. Chances are, there are lots of groups! If you live in a rural area, you might have to drive a ways to find the perfect group, but it will be worth it. Some groups meet up once a week, while others meet up once a month. Groups are great because you can swap curriculum, get help with lesson plans, and interact with other homeschooling families.
5. Give it time. If you just started homeschooling and are feeling stressed, just push through it – give it a year at the least. Don’t quit mid-year! Finish it out, and see how you feel when the next school year rolls around. Feeling burnt out? Isolated? Add in some field trips, group activities, or even some hiking adventures. Everything can relate back to homeschooling – there’s no reason to sit at home all the time! Make it fun, and it will be a better experience for everyone.
6. Be flexible. And relax. This follows up on the first tip, but being flexible is a huge, part of successful homeschooling. Sometimes meltdowns happen, plans change, things come up. It’s a fact of life and it is something that seems to happen even more when you don’t have the patience for it. Being flexible will save you a lot of time, and stress.