Like many parents, I went into the new school year unsure of what it would bring. I tried to remain optimistic that things would flow and we’d eventually get into a groove that worked for our family. Like many parents, I scrolled through my Instagram and Facebook feeds comparing and taking notes of other learning centers to make sure I had created the best environment for my daughters. This year I was intending to start teaching Zoie this year as well and it honestly sounded like an easy feat with the virtual situation providing structure for Mckenzie…and here we are in October officially and successfully Homeschooling!
Ha Ha Ha .. Can we take a moment to laugh, because none of this went as planned.
Here’s our story…
Aside from having to suddenly move during the school year. We were really struggling with connecting. Forcing Mckenzie to sit in front of a computer screen for hours out of the day while her sisters were free to run and play was just not working for us. Mckenzie has never been a tech heavy kid. She’ll play for a bit, but imaginative and hands on play is always her go to. I tried headphones off, headphones off, private space, shared space, etc. You name it, we tried to encourage and harbor the best learning environment for Mckenzie.
So Mckenzie and I sat down to discuss what she truly wanted and what she felt would make her happiest, what would make her excited to learn again. As you can guess by the title of this post, we agreed that homeschooling was the best option for us.
Homeschooling wasn’t a new concept for Mckenzie as we had discussed it many times since her academic career started since her birthday kept her behind. Mckenzie was always in support of homeschooling but her biggest concern was interaction with other kids. I knew our time was limited, when the virtual school year started and the reality set in that there wouldn’t be human engagement with her fellow classmates and teacher. She was disengaged and discouraged to only see these people through a screen. Forcing my child to sit in front of a computer wasn’t something I was interested in doing, especially when all she needed and wanted was something I could give her. Interactive Engagement with People.
So I threw on my teacher hat and tapped into my inner child who used to play teacher in her room. We reset our dining room to make it into a full on classroom. You wouldn’t believe the shift in her interest in learning again. One of the driving factors in our decision to homeschool was the freedom to dive into the subjects and topics that truly interested Mckenzie. Our first week we got to dive into the moon cycles and watch a full moon. These last couple of weeks, we’ve been diving into her interest in anatomy. It’s honestly so empowering to provide your kids the depth of information on the subjects that truly interest them. Seeing her excitement to learn has been the biggest motivation even on days when I have no idea what I’m doing.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite tips:
Tips for Transitioning to Homeschool
- Plan ahead – even if it’s just one week at a time, that’s how we started .. and still roll. I have major key concepts and goals that I want her to hit, but I don’t pressure myself to have the entire month planned out. Zooming out to plug in a few activities based around Holidays and events is a great idea to help fill in time as well if you ever feel stuck.
- Letting go of the idea that we have to be structured like a school. The whole point of us leaving the school system was to encourage a routine and educational system that worked for our family as whole. Don’t forget that, and know that the way you choose to homeschool your children, may be different than what other Mom’s may be doing.
- Speaking of other Mom’s, GET SOCIAL! Seriously, networking amongst other Homeschooling mama’s will give you not only fresh ideas for content and teaching strategies, but also moral support. Getting other mom’s perspectives has been inspiring, especially on days or weeks where it feels like we’ve been running on a hamster wheel.
- Listen to your child! Again, one of the major reasons we homeschool, and I’m sure this is the case for many others, was to cater education based around her needs. Try different activities to see how your child prefers to learn so you can hone in on that and enhance their experience.
- Don’t be scared of the internet. There are so many resources online available, use Google and Pinterest to help you get inspired. If you get overwhelmed like myself, try searching niche projects and subjects based on your child’s age. This has been a lifesaver when I get stuck.
- Use the curriculum that was provided to you at the beginning of the school year as your frame. If you don’t have one available to you, your local district should have one available online. This will help give you an idea of where to start your journey, as well as, milestones to incorporate in your planning.
- Lastly, give yourself some grace mama! If you’re juggling a full time job, trying to run/grow a business, managing other kids, or even if this is all that you do, know that you aren’t perfect but you are doing what’s best for you and your family. Everyday won’t be easy and some days it will feel like an eternity just to get through the day. Rest assured, that regardless of those bad days, you’re no less of a good mom or teacher.
If you have any tips for Homeschooling, please drop them below. If you’re new to Homeschool Life like us or considering the transition, do you have any questions?