July 13, 2007

Homeschool Wisdom: 40 Tried and True Tips

Homeschooling is about to take on a whole new twist at my house. I've been reflecting on what life will be like with a little bee in my bonnet. Visions of nap-time are dancing in my head. Sad thing is: I bet Mommy is going to be the one needing most of the napping!

In review of the past five years we have spent homeschooling... I have gathered up a few morsels of advice from many different sources. Probably half of these originated with someone other than me... but they are all true... and all of them need repeating (especially to those who might not have heard them before). Below is a great list you can keep on your fridge in case you need a little clarity or a kick in the bo-hunkus. I hope you all have a super year homeschooling (or whatever it is you are doing: being a mom, a wife, a grandma, a friend - or even a dad!).

Sprittibee's Favorite Homeschool Advice
40 tips that I would share with any homeschool friend (newbie or old-hat alike)

  1. If you are doing it on your own strength, you are going to fail (don’t forget to pray hard).

  2. Ignore what other people are doing. Do your own thing.

  3. SCHEDULE time off and me-time each day/week/semester.

  4. Really work at it (nothing comes without effort).

  5. Talent is overrated. There are very few prodigies. So what if your Johnny can’t make a stick figure. Not many people are just BORN knowing how to do things. You should still TEACH Johnny HOW to draw. If he hates it, at least he tried it. Same goes for you and homeschooling. Just because you didn't get a teaching degree doesn't mean you aren't capable of teaching.

  6. Maintain adult contact. Do not be a hermit. You MUST have support (from people older than your kids). Your kids need friends, too.

  7. Curriculum won’t ensure success. God + You + the Child = Success. Curriculum is just a tool. You can do just as good of a job with free stuff and the library as you can with the most expensive curriculums on the market.

  8. Everyone has one subject they hate. Get your husband or a tutor to help. Sign the kids up for classes. Don’t let “ALGEBRA” stop you from homeschooling.

  9. Creativity can not make up for DRIVE. A kid who WANTS to draw and puts out the effort will far SURPASS a child with “natural born talent” who is lazy. SKILLS are worked for. Talents that are not used DRY UP. Practice really does make perfect.

  10. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Who cares if your grandmother’s sister hates that you homeschool. Are your kids happy? Are you happy? Then what’s your problem?

  11. Bake cookies for your librarian. Get to know her. When you get charged 40$ in late fees, you may be glad you did!

  12. You are the parent. What you say goes.

  13. Don’t compare your kids or their grades to anyone else’s kids or their grades. Don't compare them to their siblings, either.

  14. Passion is a God-given gift. Feed it. If your child is fascinated by volcanoes, buy them books on volcanoes. One day, they will be interested in something else. You never know just what you are helping God to shape in them.

  15. It doesn’t hurt to color in the lines, but it also doesn’t hurt to draw your own lines. Don’t look down on someone else because they like to school inside the box.

  16. Everyone needs to learn how to type and use a computer. No more living in the dark ages. Sorry, mom.

  17. You CAN do this.

  18. Advice is not a mandate. Read what you can and take it all with a grain of salt. See what works best for you and do THAT.

  19. Find your own groove.

  20. Homeschool from the heart.

  21. Hang up your children’s artwork.

  22. Really listen to your children and get to know them.

  23. Understand that there will be bad days. MANY OF THEM.

  24. Set your own schedule. Then STICK to it.

  25. You do NOT have to finish every worksheet in the book.

  26. Keep records. One day you’ll wish you had them.

  27. Make sure your kids know you are proud of them. Even if they are struggling.

  28. Try to include dad as much as possible.

  29. Have awards ceremonies. Show your kids off to the grandparents. Make them feel appreciated.

  30. Success breeds more success. Keep the challenges at a doable level and watch the kids blossom in confidence.

  31. Knowing what is expected of you helps you stay on track. Give the kids a set schedule and a list of assignments. Use a chore chart. Be consistent.

  32. Call your homeschool buddy who is having a hard year. You may be what keeps her from giving up.

  33. Rewards are what everyone is after. You don’t work for free, so why should your kids? Give them a reward for hard work: Time off, sleepovers, screen time, free time, visits with friends, money or their favorite dinner.

  34. Co-ops and field trips are great… but don’t over-schedule yourself. Have your goals in mind before you say yes to any activity outside of the home.

  35. Plan ahead. Nothing will get done if you don’t.

  36. It is OK to change course in the middle of the year.

  37. You have my permission to take off the month of December instead of the month of June. In fact, you can take off any time of year you want. It is YOUR homeschool. You set the calendar.

  38. READ. TO. YOUR. KIDS. Read in front of your kids. Read, read, read!

  39. If you go to the conventions, spend more time in the lectures than at the vendor tables. You need the pep talks. Even if you think you don’t. You also don’t need to buy a ton of THINGS that will collect dust once you get them home.

  40. Have fun. Take pictures and make memories. One day you’ll be able to look back at a job well done and a beautiful lifetime’s worth of wonder that you got to share with your babies.

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Terri Sue said...

Thank you! I printed them out! May God bless you and your family!

Amy said...

Thank you for this! What a wonderful list. I am also going to print it out and hang it up.

Tanya Nichols said...

Love the last one..take pics...make memories...LOVE happy memories..
I needed that as we are switching up our curriculum this year! big hugs and hope all is well with you!

Mama Russell said...

I am going to print this out and read it. I am in my first throes of homeschooling and it is already daunting! Thank you so much for sharing this.

Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) said...

Preach it sister! Awesome list.

KarenW said...

Great advice! Doing your own thing is so important. I think a lot of time we try to keep up with the homeschooling Jones'.

Mrs said...

Sigh. I've sent this to new home school moms. I am so determined to get back to LEARNING this year and less about tests and grades!

How do we start in one place and wander away from what we know to be His good plan? Make memories, have fun, LEARN together, and the grades will come!

Maria Miller said...

I've linked to your post from my blog, thank you!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned using tutors. I’ve come across a number of online tutoring websites (e.g. tutor.com, homeworkhelp.com, tutoreasy.com, www.schooltrainer.com, etc.). Has anyone prepared a comparison of the various companies (pricing, quality, etc.)?

Kelly - PTT said...

This is such a great list. You should add it to the tips project. It's such a great resource and I still get new links there from time to time:
Homeschool Tips and Advice

groovyoldlady said...

Awesome list. Totally awesome!

My mantra to younger homeschool moms are, "Do it YOUR way." "Curriculum is just a Tool" (aka "Use what works!") and "Don't hyper-focus on the areas where Junior is not foing well; If you keep plugging along, there's a good chance Junior will have mastered 'it' by the time he is 18!"

The tough one for me? Consistancy in anything that resembles a schedule! But by God's grace, I CAN do it!

cre82learn said...

GREAT LIST!! Even after homeschooling or 11 years I still needed reminding of some things. ps. congrats on the baby news!!

playingschool said...

I love your list! And, I needed it. I think I'll print them out, too. Maybe even write some of my own. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

On July 15 above there was a question about tutoring options. I too would like to compare various tutoring sites, such as Vie-Nova, Tutoring School Trainer, Tutor Easy and Tutor Next. Do you have any comparative data on this? Thanks!

monica garcia said...

monica garcia, Hi, I am a homeschool mom, I thank God for the opportunity to homeschool my two boys of 15 and 11, I was praying for long time, and God answer and 3 months ago I pull them form the public sistem, and we are having a wonderful time, but we need prayers and advices, thanks and we need support from other christians God bless you. MONICA GARCIA



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