Are you a new homeschool mom and the thought of starting out terrifies you? Maybe you’ve been living the homeschooling way of life for years, but feel like it’s time to up your game? Perhaps you are just frustrated, overworked, and overwhelmed? I understand. I’ve been at each of those places before. That’s why I created the Comprehensive Homeschool Guide.
Looking back on my career as a homeschooling mama, I can now clearly see many times that advice from a more experienced homeschool mom pulled me through. Whether it was the mom at the local co-op, my homeschooling best friend, or someone in an online support group, they all added a valuable piece of experience to my homeschool journey.
The statement “it takes a village” is never more accurate than in the homeschooling way of life. That’s why I am excited to share this guide with you. It’s packed full of what I’ve learned from much wiser homeschool moms. I’ve broken the guide down into eight easy topics so you can quickly find what you need. Each topic is clickable so you can easily find the section you need.
- Can I really homeschool? (Advice for the new Homeschooling Mom)
- Where do I start? (State Laws & Finding Support)
- Are homeschool goals essential and how do I set them? (Short-Term & Long-Term Goal Planning)
- What’s the deal with curriculum? (Curriculum research & planning)
- How do I keep it all together? (Schedules & Organization)
- What about socialization? (Is it vital and where do I find it?)
- What do I do when problems arise? (Troubleshooting those lousy Homeschool Days)
- What’s it like being a Homeschool Mom? (An honest, inside look at the Homeschool Mom Life)
Homeschooling Topic #1 – Can I really homeschool?
This question is the one we all start with, can we really do it? It seems overwhelming and daunting at first, doesn’t it? Just take a deep breath and know that we have all been where you are. Simply put, it all boils down to one question, do you want to do it? If you have the drive & desire to succeed then yes, you can indeed be a homeschool mom. Here are a few things you should know.
- Homeschooling is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart and not something you do so you can sleep in and not put your kids on the bus. (Yes, someone said that to me once.)
- There will be days when you want to quit. Just like a regular job (or even life in general), there will be days when you want to throw your hands up and quit. On those days you have to show up and keep going.
- We all started where you are. You know that homeschool mom that appears to have it all together, the one that’s homeschooling seven kids with ease? She started right where you are. We understand your fears, your doubts, and your uncertainties because we ALL started there.
Need more information? Check out these Posts:
- I Would Love to Homeschool But……Top Homeschooling Excuses
- Honesty for the Potential Homeschool Mom
- Homeschool Mom Entrance Exam (Pure Humor)
- Homeschool Expectations vs. Reality
As with anything new and overwhelming, it’s best to start at the beginning. My first recommendation would be to check out the homeschooling laws in your state. From there you need to focus on two things:
- What type of paperwork should you file to start?
- What type of records do you need to keep?
Both of these items will vary from state to state. Some states are extremely lenient, some require a portfolio of your student’s work only, and some require more extensive record keeping. At this point, I also recommend finding a good homeschool support group.
YES!! Sorry, I had to yell that one. I am a big believer of homeschool goals so you will find me go on and on about them in an endless manner that you may quickly tire of. Homeschool goals are important not only to help you find your curriculum and plan your year but also for those hard days when you want to quit.
Here are some additional resources for setting (and implementing) homeschool goals:
To say that finding a homeschool curriculum is overwhelming would be a colossal understatement. You will often hear of many different “types” of homeschoolers. We have the Charlotte Mason crew, the Classical Educators, the Unschoolers, the Eccelectics…..What does it all mean? My friend Jen has a fabulous series that details each one of these methods that you can find here.
Once you identify which method you feel your family best aligns with, curriculum selection becomes easier. I am a full-on eclectic homeschooler, which means that I have “shiny curriculum syndrome” and move around quite a bit.
Some other great resources for homeschool curriculum:
- Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum
- Why we Practice Independent Learning
- Online Learning – Why it made me a better Homeschool Mom
- Homeschool Curriculum Reviews by Cathy Duffy
(You can also grab my FREE Printable Curriculum Planning Pack here.)
So now you have the shiny new curriculum in hand, and you are ready to take the plunge, right? Now the question becomes how do I actually make this work AND keep my sanity? Very carefully my friend, very carefully.
First, I recommend making sure you start out very organized. This organization will save you time & effort in the long run. Sure, it might not ALWAYS stay organized, but you will always have a system in place that you can fall back on. For some great organizational resources check out my Pinterest boards here and here.
Next, you also want to start with a plan for how you will spend your day. While you don’t have to have a down to the minute schedule (and it’s probably best if you don’t), it’s a good idea to have a general idea of how your day will flow. I use my daily routine, my meal planner, and my chore charts to keep my day running smoothly.
Socialization, is it really a big issue? Well, in my opinion, it is. I believe socialization is important for both the homeschool mom and the homeschool student. I know that’s not a popular opinion so let me explain myself.
While I believe that socialization shouldn’t be ignored, I also think that homeschool kids are also MORE socialized than their public school counterparts. Homeschool kids experience more real-world interaction than their public school counterparts. That said, homeschool kids also need to be exposed to children their age, which is why I recommend joining a homeschool co-op, sports, or another social group.
As you move along on your homeschool journey problems will arise. Some days they will stop you dead in your tracks, and you will have to fight the urge to straight up quit. It’s on those days that you need to revisit your why. Remember when I talked about goal planning? The hard days are when your why is important. On the days when you want to quit, remember why you started.
Other Resources for When Homeschool Problems Arise:
- Battling the Homeschool Blues
- Homeschool Support: Do you need it & where to find it?
- Managing Chaos in Your Homeschool
- A Prayer from A Broken Homeschool Mom
- Finding Balance as a Homeschool Mom
So I’m sure at this point you’ve heard all the rumors. Homeschool Moms are denim jumper wearing, minivan driving, grow your food kind of people. Guess what….Some of that is true. Some moms do wear denim jumpers (even though this is a dying tradition I think, thank you fashion sense), and some moms grow their food. I drive a minivan. Today the homeschool mom is just your average mom next door. We are all different, but most likely not that much different from a public school mom, other than how we spend our days.
So there you go….My Comprehensive Homeschool Guide. Have I answered all your questions? If not, you can reach me via email (Erin@SecretSocietyofHomeschoolMoms.com) or through my Facebook group. I love to help other homeschool moms succeed on their journey so please get in touch!