Are you trying to figure out how to make this a successful year of homeschooling? I’ve been homeschooling our children ever since our oldest turned 4, over 9 years ago. I truly didn’t have any homeschooling experience to speak of. The closest this subject came to me is that a couple families from church did it. So why I felt God leading our family in this direction was a mystery. But I felt the call and decided to give it a try. With being so nervous about it, I decided to start Hannah in Kindergarten at the age of 4. This way, if it didn’t work out, I could send her the following year to public school. Nothing would be lost.
But I’m excited to say that it did work well for our family! And every year since! So I decided to partner with Personalization Mall to share some great tips that can help make this year great. Plus, I’ll share some really awesome personalized school products with you too!
This year, we are going into our 9th year of homeschooling. It honestly doesn’t feel like that at all. Because every year is a new experience as the kids get older. Hannah is now starting 8th grade and I’m having to learn about transcripts. So even though we may be considered veteran homeschoolers, I still consider myself quite green in certain are things. As the “teacher”, there are always things to be researching and learning. Ways to improve. New things to try.
But as I talk with homeschool families and friends just beginning this journey. Or those who are considering pulling their kids from public school even. There are so many questions. So, I decided to write this post and share things I’ve learning that help us to have a successful year of homeschooling.
The Different Types Of Homeschoolers
Until I started homeschooling, I had no idea that there were different types of homeschooling. Did you know?
- Un-Schooling: This is where the kids lead in the learning. They chose the topics, activities, etc. The philosophy of un-schooling is the belief that kids are naturally curious and will learn on their own. Few, if any, text books are ever used.
- Traditional Homeschooling: The traditional homeschooling method is where the parent or caregiver acts as the teacher. This type of home education typically utilizes books and resources. But the parent is the one leading, teaching, assigning, and grading. Now, understand that this does NOT necessarily look like a typical public school day. The teaching can be indoors or out. And done at any time throughout the day. And utilizing many different methods and styles of teaching. However, some homeschooled families do structure their days to look more like the typical public school. But most don’t as they find that method the least effective way.
- Online School: There are several different options for online homeschooling. Different companies provide curriculum options where the kids are taught through online programs. Some even have teachers sharing the information. But the parent is still in control of what the kids do as well as the grading.
- Public/Virtual School At Home – K12: Public school at home is where the “school” you go through provides all materials. This may include: computer, art supplies, books, and more. However, the kids have to attend online classes, submit homework, follow teacher’s rules, and track school attendance and hours. Most of the families that I know who have tried this option have been the least happy. They find their kids spending 8+ hours a day “doing school”. And some struggle to learn this way. The up side is that almost everything is paid for and all the grading is done for you.
Then, there are a variety of other methods and homeschooling types such as Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, and more. However, I won’t be going into those today. But feel free to google if you’re interested in learning more about methods.
10 Tips On How To Have A Successful Year Of Homeschooling
1:) Stay Home (Sort Of):
Now I’m not saying you need to stay home ALL the time! (I’ll get to more on that later.) But honestly, I’ve found we do need to have some structure and stability in our schedule to be successful. And that includes time at home… aka… not running around.
2:) Add At Least A Little Bit Of Structure
This one took us several years to find what works best for our family. But part of the beauty is that we have the freedom to experiment! However, I’ve found that when the kids know what I expect out of them each day, things flow much more smoothly. I have actually created a school white board where I list what the kids need to do. I’ve already written up this coming school year’s expectations which you can see in my photo below.
(It’s a long list. Most of which is done daily. But some of the activities/lessons are done only once or twice per week. Each day, the kids let me know when a task is accomplished. Then I mark it off. After 5 days where the full days tasks are met, we reward the child with $1. We do this instead of a weekly allowance. It motivates them to get their work done without me having to bug them!)
3:) Time To Teach
I’ll start by saying that we do NOT model our “school day” to look like a public school. Yes, we have subjects, workbooks, assignments, etc. But we do not sit in a desk with me up front teaching/talking for most of our day. We work through what needs to be covered but I take cues from the kids. If they are getting bored, we may switch up what we’re doing. Gorgeous day out? Then we pick up and take our work outdoors. If someone is confused about a lesson, I look for a way to have a hands on experiment to demonstrate.
4:) Dedicated School Time
Our family is actually a bit flexible on this too. However, we’ve learned over the years that it’s best to get up and get started first thing in the morning. Last year, I started waking our two oldest kids up between 7 and 7:30. That way, they are already working their way through what needs to be done by 8am. And if they stay on task, they can be done within 2-3 hours most days!
The younger two homeschooled kids were in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade last year. Their homeschooling took about 20-60 minutes each day, depending on what we all did. And then they were free to play games, free play, explore, or whatever else interested them.
5:) Use Games To Learn
Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that it shouldn’t take all day. By saving 3-6 hours of time that would be spent in public school, kids can learn through play. Our kids play games daily. Literally! We have a big game closet full of a huge variety of games. Our youngest son, who just turned 6, is already playing adult games such as Catan. We utilize games to build a lot of skills. The kids work on team work, competitive play, good sportsmanship, math, critical thinking, and more. And the best part is that they don’t even realize it! But homeschooling gives us the freedom to incorporate games into our days.
6:) Utilize Your Local Library
Public schooled kids tend to have 20-30 minutes each week in the school library. But your kids don’t have to miss out! We try to head to our local public library at least once a week for 2-3 hours. This gives the kids time to find books of interest. Plus, our library has chess, checkers, toys, magazines, and computers for visitors to use. The kids really look forward to our local library visits and have even built relationships with the librarians because of our frequent trips there. And we will sometimes even meet other homeschool families too.
7:) Plan Some Field Trips
To tie back in to number one. Yes, we’ve found that we need to be home to do a bulk of the basic teaching. But we also make sure to get some field trips in each year too! Hands on learning with up close and personal experiences are super important. Our kids have learned so much through some of our field trips. Ask around your local community for ideas. We’ve done a variety of learning trips including: Police Station, Bakery, Dentist, Zoo, History Museum, Children’s Museum, Grocery Store, and more. Most off free or discounted prices for homeschool groups and families!
8:) Join A Co-Op
It truly takes a village. So finding a co-op is a huge piece in helping our family have a successful year of homeschooling We’ve been a part of several homeschool co-ops over the years and have found them to be very beneficial. It allows the kids to experience a group setting. They get to learn from other parents or whoever is teaching each time. It’s a great way to get a group together for a field trip. And honestly, it’s fun! Our particular group meets officially once per month. (However, we also do additional library meet ups, gym days, and field trips in addition.)
9:) Give Yourself Grace
Homeschooling is a journey. Just know that you will have good days and bad. Give yourself and your children grace. There are so many amazing benefits to homeschooling. I wish everyone had the opportunity to give it a try and see their family blossom. Watching our kids grow up to be each other’s best friends is one of the most amazing things ever. Plus, we get to spend our days together. And if we’re having a really hard day, we can scrap the schooling and start new tomorrow. Flexibility and freedom go hand in hand with homeschooling and we love it!
10:) Make It Fun & Get Some New Back To School Supplies
Just because you’re doing school at home doesn’t mean that you don’t need supplies. You do! So make it fun. Each of our kids has a backpack (perfect for trips to the library or homeschool co-op days). They all get excited about new notebooks, folders, and pencils. So make sure to add to their excitement! Include your kids and let them enjoy the thrill of picking new supplies. You can make it even more special by getting them some personalized school supplies.
Personalized Back To School Supplies From Personalization Mall
My kids LOVE to have personalized gear. Honestly, so do I. It helps us keep track of items. (Hello “Lost & Founds!” Man do we find a lot of our belongings in these!) While also making them more usable in certain situations. So I love turning to Personalization Mall as their Back To School Store has everything we need.
Plus, I love that Personalization Mall Products are high quality. They even carry popular brands such as Under Armour. But with the added element of customization on it, I’ll always know which bag is ours! Seriously makes it so much more special.
I’ve also found the custom notebooks to be beneficial for keeping subjects in order. Our son is able to glance at the cover to see both his name as well as which subject that particular notebook belongs to. And picking out the color schemes was a lot of fun.
And don’t forget to keep your kiddos hydrated. I’ve lost count on how many water bottles we’ve lost over the years. We bring them along but they get left behind. However, since it’s not an item that we would necessary use each day, it’s not counted missing till the next trip. But now with our Personalization Mall Bold Name Personalized Water Bottle, whoever finds it will know who the owner is. Total win!
So tell me, do you homeschool? Or have you been considering it? If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d be happy to answer and share what I can to help. As I love to hear when families have a successful year of homeschooling!
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Personalization Mall Back To School Giveaway
In collaboration with our Successful Year Of Homeschooling Tips, one lucky Thrifty Nifty Mommy Reader will receive $100 worth of personalized school supplies from Personalization Mall! The winner will be able to choose from any in-stock products from their Back To School Store!