Homeschooling – The First Year
Expectation VS Reality…
So you’ve decided to homeschool, congrats! You are about to embark on a wild journey, my friend!
When we started our first year of homeschooling I set up desks full of cute supplies, bought wall posters, created a (what I considered foolproof) schedule, and had all these crazy high expectations. You know what happened? The stuff on the desks became a complete distraction, the wall posters never got looked at, and the schedule? Yeah, it wasn’t exactly foolproof.
The first obstacle you have to over come as a new homeschool mom is to realize that your homeschool expectations will not line up with reality! Like, at all!
I seriously went into this whole homeschooling thing thinking that if I created a school like environment for my kids, the learning thing would just fall into place. Definitely not the case, you guys!
Excited for Your First Year of Homeschooling, but Not Sure How to Get Started?
Check out how I prep our homeschool year!
If She Can Do it
I Can Do it…
The next thing you will need to come to terms with during your first year, is to accept that you are the only you!
When homeschooling first entered the picture, I thought I had to fit into some type of homeschool mom mold. I had this crazy notion that homeschool moms were complete super heroes and in order to be one, I had to do it all (just like I believed they did). Because of this, I worked so hard our first year that I felt like throwing in the towel. Every. Single. Day. It was hard, you guys!
No two homeschool moms are alike… and guess what? They aren’t supposed to be! Don’t join a co-op just because it’s what other homeschool moms do, join one because you want to and you feel like it’s the best choice for your family!
Learn how to invite flexibility into your homeschool by adding down time and scheduling free time for makeup work. Change your schedule and change it again! Also, understand that not every curriculum is right for everyone. Just because it worked for a friend, you don’t have to feel bad if it didn’t work for you.
Feel Like Your Stuck Trying to Fit Into a Mold?
I highly encourage you to check out Appearance & The Homeschool Mom for a little homeschool mom inspiration. Learn to break that mold and be yourself!
5 Things to Expect Your First Year of Homeschooling
and How to Overcome Them with Ease…
#1 Curriculum Woes
When you first start homeschooling, the multitude of curriculum options out there can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed! Even with hours of research under your belt, you won’t know if something works until you have tried it out first hand!
Also, the likelihood that you will find the right curriculum for each of your children the very first time you try is slim. If something doesn’t work, simply throw it out and try something different!
Don’t have the budget to try multiple curriculum choices?
Consider these simple budget friendly options!
Buy Used Curriculum
By purchasing used curriculum at a discounted rate, you can simply test it out with little regret! Find something that works amazing? Plan on purchasing new the following year!
Sell Lightly Used Curriculum Online.
Trying something that doesn’t work for your family doesn’t mean you have to lose a ton of money. Selling used (or barely used) curriculum online is a great option for putting a little curriculum cash back into your pocket for future use!
Use Free Curriculum.
If buying curriculum isn’t an option at all, don’t give up just yet! There are always free resources you can utilize! Simply search online or ask around.
One of our favorite free resources?
The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts Program (levels 1-5 in PDF form) are completely free!
Need More Curriculum Help or Advice?
Check out these amazing resources!
*Curriculum Tip: Something important to remember when trying out new curriculum, is that there will always be a learning curve! No two curriculum options are exactly alike, so make sure you always allow extra time for easing into new material!
#2 Daily Interruptions
This! Guys, when I was completely new to the homeschooling game I had this insane notion that I would be able to teach lessons to my children with ease. Boy was I wrong.
I never actually took into account all the tiny interruptions that happen in daily life. I mean, when my children were in school and the mail man rang the door bell, it wasn’t an issue. At most I was folding laundry or starting dinner, something I could easily get right back to because I was the only one involved. No stress.
However, when the door bell rings in the middle of a language arts lesson, all heck breaks loose! Every single child in my house flies out of their seat to see who could possible be standing behind that door. Then the question “what’s in the box, mom” soon follows, then comes the corralling of the kids back into the kitchen for lessons, then before I even know it 10 minutes has passed… and I find myself asking…
“how in the world does it take so long to answer the door?”
You will never have that perfect homeschool day with zero interruptions. Learn that early and simply embrace it!
The kids will bicker, UPS will arrive in the middle of a project, and snacks will be needed half way through a math lesson. The key is to let these little interruptions roll off your back with out zeroing in on them. Turn your focus from the interruption – back to the task at hand. Gently guide your children to do the same, or simply take a break if you find yourself stressing!
Can I be totally honest with you here? I’ve taken the rest of a day off from lessons simply because our morning was full of interruptions, distractions, and situations out of my control, thus leaving me overwhelmed and emotionally spent. Sometimes it’s 100% necessary for your sanity
#3 Complete Overwhelm
Ready to get real? This will totally happen!
At some point during your first year of homeschooling you will get overwhelmed.
Trying to keep up with the laundry, get errands run, keep your house clean, get dinner on the table each night, and homeschool your children is a full time job on it’s own! Not to mention the extras like bedtime routines and other outside of the home activities or obligations. Trying to figure out how to wear so many hats on a daily basis can be completely overwhelming just to think about, let alone actually live it!
Guys, this one is my biggest struggles of all.
I suffer from anxiety and tend to stress out over the smallest of things. The only way I could conquer this constant feeling of overwhelm was by skipping the unnecessary things and simply asking for help when I needed it!
Want to Know More?
Tackle the overwhelm before it takes control! Check out my top tips for homeschooling with a little less stress, because let’s be honest there will always be a little bit.
The 90 Minute Chore Routine for Homeschoolers: Keep chores in check with block scheduling & encourage your kids to help out around the house during their homeschool day.
Household Management for the Homeschool Mom: Fit little tasks into your homeschool day with ease.
Mom’s To Do List & Priority Tracker: Tackle a smaller to do list by prioritizing!
#4 Overloaded Emotions
This definitely piggy backs on the previous point. You will get emotional and quite possibly your children will too!
When you first start homeschooling, everyone is in learning mode! As a mom, you will be learning how to manage so many more tasks than you ever dreamed imaginable, while your kids are learning through daily lessons and life!
When lessons take longer than they should because a child is struggling to focus or isn’t grasping a concept they can easily become overwhelmed, leading to frustration and melt downs! This might possibly be followed by a mom that feels like completely giving up!
The homeschool emotions are real, you guys.
More than likely tears will be shed in your first year, but tears don’t mean you have failed! Homeschooling is hard and when you are first starting, there is a HUGE learning curve! You will get through that first year! You just have to be patient with yourself and patient with your kids!
Take breaks often, you’ve totally got this!
#5 Extra Insecurities
Ok. This one totally hits the nail on the head. If I’m being completely honest, these insecurities start well before the first year of homeschooling begins though!
When my son was in the 5th grade he asked me to homeschool him, point blank. I talked with my husband and prayed. I decided I would attempt it, but those feelings of self doubt began immediately.
Could I really pull it off? What if I didn’t have all the answers? Will I cause him to fail?
Then once our year was in full swing, I felt like I had to do it all, because if I didn’t, I would be a total failure!
Don’t listen to the lies, momma! When you’ve been hit by your first year (or pre-first year) insecurities, take a moment and breathe! Remember who you are… YOU are THEIR mom! Your kids aren’t missing out, you won’t screw them up, you’ve got this!! After all, who knows them better than you do?
My Child is Behind…
is it My Fault?
If you take anything to heart from this article, let it be this! If your child is behind where the public school system believes they should be, it is NOT your fault. Every single child is different. They learn at different paces, they have different learning styles, they are unique.
When I pulled my son from school (per his request) it didn’t take me long to realize he was behind. First we attempted online schooling, which only made the set back worse. He was being pushed through the system without fully understanding any main concepts. When switching curriculum, he took an assessment which placed him well over a year behind in some subjects and as much as 2 years behind in Math.
Because of this, we have simply chosen to extend his learning time by 1 year. While he may have graduated a year sooner in regular school, now he will be learning at his pace and finishing school in his time.
Time to Start
Embrace this new journey, my friend! You’ve chosen to homeschool. You get to do life with your kids, every single day! You aren’t holding them back, they aren’t missing out. You’ve totally got this!
Friendly Reminder: When you’ve finished your first year of homeschooling, you still might not have it all down! More than likely, you will finish the year feeling unsure if you should continue, not knowing if you will stick with the same curriculum or schedule and possibly having you rethink every little thing you’ve ever done
This homeschool thing took me about 2 1/2 years to figure out. Finally, I have a good idea of what works best for us… but you know what? We still totally have some hiccups along the way! Life isn’t perfect and homeschooling won’t be either!
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