This page came about because I’ve gotten so many email and notes from homeschoolers who are feeling lost, overwhelmed, and/or are not sure quite where to start. I hope this post will offer some support and encouragement. Hopefully, you’ll find links to some posts that might give you the boost you need today.
First, congratulations taking up homeschooling! I want to say that you’re awesome! All homeschoolers need to high-five and encourage one another!! And, while I hope you find some inspiration and/or good ideas on our blog, take it all with a grain of salt… A blogger like me loves to write and share on good days and in good moments, but I can guarantee I’m shoving a mess aside to take pictures or (AND!!) not turning the camera to the laundry piles, paper piles, and so forth!
We all feel overwhelmed, inadequate and inexperienced at times because we’re always dealing with a new phase in our kids’ lives. I also wanted to say that our homeschool looks a lot more traditional/scheduled when I write some of our posts (especially those posts that condense three or four years of projects and activities into one post!!)… but it isn’t our reality. At times we have plans, but it all goes out the window. I know that’s normal and then just try to jump back in the next day. I feel compelled to say all that because we all struggle to find our “groove” with homeschooling. Every family is on their own journey and I *know* you’ll be awesome because no one knows your kids better than you do!!
A Few Tips for Homeschooling Without Feeling Overwhelmed
- You are not alone! We all have times when we feel inadequate, overwhelmed, or inexperienced… but think about the whole picture. You have amazing kids. They’ve already learned so much from you. You can do this!
- Stay positive and focus on the small (and big) victories.
- Think about dinner early in the day! I’m often pretty drained and tired by the evening. It feels great if that piece of my day is taken care of.
- Don’t compare your reality to your thoughts, plans, and aspirations before the school year began. In the quiet of summer, I often have (and make!) big plans. But, if we don’t get to everything I planned over the course of the year, I just put it on the back burner for later!
- Similarly, don’t compare your homeschool to what you see on blogs, Facebook, Pinterest or even the stories you hear from friends. That’s just a partial, incomplete glimpse of someone’s day.
- Protect your time – make sure you turn off the computer, say NO when you need to, let the answering machine pick up.
- Create a enthusiastic, supportive atmosphere: Focus on having an enjoyable learning experience together… which means feel free to stray from the curriculum, follow rabbit holes, and spend an entire day focusing on something unexpected but engaging to the kids! That’s when true learning really takes place!
- Aim Small: It’s easy to worry about the big picture, but for me I need to focus on just one week at a time. We *love* hands-on activities, so I try to plan out just one or two for the week. I look forward to those moments when the kids are *excited* and *engaged* so I really try to make sure those happen. Find what excites and motivates you and your kids and add in just one or two a week. It could be anything from lapbooks to experiments, reading together to field trips.
- You are never behind! There is no one that says that the kids *have* to have gained mastery of a certain skill or learned a certain topic/subject by a certain grade or age. You are on a long journey together.
- Get help when you can: Enlist help from your spouse, the kids, extended family. Hire teenage help. Think about joining a co-op (but don’t feel obligated!)
- Plans are not engraved in stone: If you need to end a unit early, change curriculum, stop reading a novel half-way through, do a unit later (I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to do this!), take time off… Do it!
- Remember all the reasons why you started homeschooling. Feel confident in your choice. You didn’t make this choice lightly or frivolously. You took the plunge because you believed it was the right thing to do at this point in time. It will be challenging. It will be hard. You’ll have a lot to juggle. But it will also be rewarding, memorable and full of surprises along the way!
- It all boils down to LOVE! Love your kids. Love your time together. Cherish each other. Build memories. Nurture and care for your family. And love learning along the way.
Homeschool Encouragement Posts
- 5 Common Homeschool Mistakes to Avoid
- Homeschooling Multiple Ages from 8 on Down
- Challenging and Inspiring Your Homeschooled Kids
- Homeschool Thoughts: Spending Time Reviewing
- 10 Ways to Avoid Homeschool Burnout
- Organization: How We Keep On Top of Homeschooling
- Homeschooling is Like Coaching an Olympic Sport
- High Standards and a Nurturing Atmosphere
- What are Some of the Benefits and Challenges of Homeschooling?
- A Story of the Wise Teacher and the Student
- Life Happens – Things crop up and we have to be flexible.
- Thoughts on Teaching: Creating a Power Morning
- Homeschool Motivation: 10 Ways to Keep Going
- How to Start Homeschooling After the Holidays
- Meaningful Teaching Activities: A long list of activities you could incorporate into your routine no matter what subjects you’re working on — things like plays, simulations, debates, and all kinds of projects.
- Making Learning Active, Engaging, Relevant and More
- Language Arts Update: Resources we use for Literature, Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary
- Huge (Printable) List of Preschool Activities to Do with Your Preschooler: 100+ Activities!
Planning and Strategies
If you are looking for more practical homeschooling tips, you might be interested in our Homeschool Planning Series with tips on Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum. We have the first two (of four) free resource guides available for K-1 and Grades 2-3.
This FREE 50-page Resource Guide has been created to answer some basic questions: What subjects should I cover? Where do I start? How do I know what to teach. It offers topics, units and hands-on activity ideas that might appeal to your kids.
Creating a Homeschool Curriculum Grades 2-3 FREE 30-page Resource Guide
This guide is a starting point for choosing the material you might want to cover in your homeschool. What subjects, units and topics should you cover in Grades 2 and 3? Where do I start? This resource guide will offer suggestions on what topics and hands-on activities might be engaging for your kids at this age.
- Starting to Homeschool – This page has links to dozens and dozens of posts: How to find a homeschool curriculum? What about socialization? How do I know what to teach the kids? What does a homeschool day look like? How do I start homeschooling my preschooler?
- Starting to Homeschool: Where to Start
- Thoughts on Teaching: Getting Organized
- Here are some projects and activities we enjoyed for early elementary science. Here is a similar post with 20 science activities for Early Elementary.
And, the science tab above gives you links (and pictures) with some projects we’ve done along the way.
And here are some of the science topics I hope to cover K-8 in science: Homeschool Science Unit Checklist – K to Grade 8.