Help! I’m Homeschooling! 10 Pieces of Advice I Wish I’d Known

Dear Homeschooler,

There were so many titles I could have given this list: Encouragement for all homeschoolers, 10 pieces of advice for a new homeschooler, What I Wish I’d Known When We Started Homeschooling, My Best Advice, Don’t Let Homeschooling Get You Down. Whatever the title, I hope you will find something to urge you on.

1. God will fill in the ‘gaps’

He has designed each of your children with specific gifts and talents. Each unique. And He says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” in Jeremiah 29:11. When troubled, take a look at the awesome homeschoolers of history (e.g., Abraham Lincoln). The Pioneer Woman shared a wonderful list of Famous Homeschoolers. Here’s more encouragement: Six Reasons Why You Should Not Worry About Gaps.

2. Major in the three Rs in the younger years.

Read, read, read. Snuggle up on the couch. Work on phonics, simple math problems. Build those skills because everything else grows from those basics. A solid foundation in reading, writing and arithmetic is important. Don’t get distracted by shiny boxes of curriculum.

Chalkboard Solar System

3. Wait on formal science until 3rd grade.

This advice was given to me by fellow mothers in my homeschool group. I whole heartedly agree! There will be time for formal science. Go to the library and load up on books on a science subject your child is interested in.

Enjoy growing a love for God’s world through nature study. I remember back to when my older two were both under three years old, dropping a leaf and watching it float down the stream. When it rained, we built a tin foil boat and watched it float around the curb in the cul-de-sac. Simple discoveries that help a child enjoy the outdoors.

4. Act like homeschoolers.

Learn from me and don’t try to reproduce a school setting at home. Make learning natural and comfortable. Build learning centers. My friend, Cindy West, has a wonderful article on learning centers at Heart of the Matter. Plus, at the heart of our homeschool makeover series, is the goal of making learning easy. Take advantage of the freedoms in your schedule. Move your learning outside on a nice day.

This bright, new day, complete with twenty-four hours of opportunities, choices, and attitudes comes with a perfectly matched set of 1,440 minutes. This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced, or refunded. Handle with care. Make the most of it. There is only one to a customer!  ~ from my  Ellie Claire journal

5. Don’t skip Bible study and quiet time with the Lord for academics. (And that includes mom!)

Teach to the heart. Devotionals and Bible studies are built into our curriculum budget. Some of our favorite resources are in Devotionals and Other Resources. And we aim to keep The Word Within Sight.

6. Life is messy. Habits help.

At the risk of being a broken record, I’ll just simply point you to the Ultimate List of Helpful Habits. This page includes our homeschool habits and all our housekeeping habits are here.

The best thing that you can give your children, next to good habits, is good memories. ~Barbara Johnson

7. Stress life skills.

The goal is for our children to be responsible, God-fearing adults. Let your children learn the stuff of real life while at home. Let them fail under your care. Drive the lawn mower. Plan the menu (or the making of the afternoon treats).

8. Enjoy activities close by.

Especially when my children were little, I would worry over the fact that I was not taking them on all the field trips. But, we were visiting my grandmother every week. And we participated in the state fair, turning in art entries.

Go to the farmer’s market. Walk the little trail down the road. It doesn’t have to be hard or take much time.

9. Laugh.

Especially when doing math. When you want to scream, just sing. You might consider dancing with the dishes.

Laugh at yourself first before anyone else can. ~ Elsa Maxwell

10. “Prayer first; prayer before anything or there isn’t anything else.”

~ words with annvoskamp.com and holleygerth.com

But also prayer throughout the day. Practical Prayer – “Breathe out… send a prayer up… Breathe in…soak up His wisdom, give thanks. It’s a conversation. It’s easy. Something you don’t even have to put effort into.”

If your children have the habit of prayer then they will always have the answers. Just pray. All Day. The little saying I share often…

You can’t change what you have or haven’t done over the past year. Just start where you are, ask the Lord to make you a “joyful mother of children,” pray for grace and wisdom (and strength and patience), and move forward. ~ Vicki Bentley, HSLDA and Everyday Homemaking

Thanks to Angie at Many Little Blessings! Be sure to stop by to see Angie’s top ten and all the top ten link ups.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings Plus, don’t miss the other 10 in 10 posts at iHomeschool Network

What advice can you offer?

 

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children – preschoolers to high schoolers. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. I especially like number 8 and number 3. Keep it simple and it doesn’t have to be hard to be meaningful.

    Nice list Tricia. :)

  2. I totally agree with 2 in that my youngest was a slower reader. But even my good readers did a lot of reading. So read, read, read, is right. And #one is so true. Very glad God is there to fill in the gaps. I know there is always gaps…we just can’t cover everything. But they turn out all right in the end. God’s got our backs.

  3. I agree ladies! And there’s so much more I’m still learning…

  4. I’m glad to know about the science one. It is my achilles heel. I thought we needed to do formal science and now it’s my kids least favorite subject. Fact is, the LOVE exploring nature, figuring out how things work, watching science based videos. Thankfully, we aren’t so far along we can’t correct for my mistakes. (Which is why I like the “God will fill in the gaps” one too.

  5. I am a Ph.D. Chemist & I work with engineers. My wife homeschools our 6 children. I like #3 but I would propose it doesn’t go far enough. Science is a systematic study of the universe. It can be built by developing skills of observation, documentation, analysis, and critical thinking combined with fostering curiosity. There is little value, IMO, in learning science for the sake of science until students have the mathematical background to really understand the phenomena. Have the kids observe, draw, and journal. Encourage them to push forward in their math. But don’t sweat any formal science curriculum until your local homeschool laws require it. You can wait until late middle school or beginning of high school if you want to do so. We are focusing on the skills of doing scientific experiments and writing lab reports (using scientific methodologies) through middle school. We are also emphasizing that math is the “grammar” of science. I fully expect the kids to be able to master the high school science material with this background. Of course none of this should be taken to discourage a student’s own scientific interests. Let ‘em charge ahead as fast as they want to!

  6. Thanks for reminding us to “Act Like Homeschoolers!” That’s often so hard for me as a former public school teacher! Well said!

  7. Now THAT is a great list!

  8. The advice at the end is especially awesome! I really need to remind myself of that one. It’s easy to be too hard on myself and worry about what didn’t get done instead of celebrating what did. Great list!

  9. Yes, Life Skills! I forgot about that one! Great list!

  10. These are SO WISE, Tricia. I love what you say about God filling in the gaps. I haven’t been at this that long, but I can so obviously see how the Holy Spirit is always present in our homeschool.

    I also love all of your habits – I learn a lot from you – thank you!

  11. Love it! Agree with every one.
    =)

  12. I really needed this!!! Thank you so much!!!
    Angie B. recently posted..ABIDE is the Word!My Profile

  13. I could not agree more with you! Sharing on Blessed Beyond a doubt! Thank you for your words of wisdom!

  14. I loved this, glad I can take advantage of these since we’re just starting out!!!

  15. Tami Owens says:

    Tricia,

    I couldn’t agree more. God has been showing me we should spend a little more time on the “extras” and the character and life skills while they are still young this year. Thank you for sharing this!

    Blessings,

    Tami

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