Twelve Tips for the Best School Year Ever for Homeschoolers
Tip I of XII
This fall marks the beginning of our twenty-ninth year of homeschooling! Twenty-nine years ago, with an almost-one-year-old in tow, my husband and I began our homeschooling journey by homeschooling my then-junior-high little sister. At that same time, we began helping those who wanted to homeschool in Ohio but needed a “covering” to report to according to state law during the early eighties. I did not know much about homeschooling in general and teaching specifically at the age of twenty-one years old (despite an elementary education degree followed by master’s work in reading education), but I dug in as best I could. Little did we know that this adventure would become a way of life for us—a parenting and educational method that has brought us countless joys, challenges, and fulfillment.
Here we are nearly three decades later—still homeschooling and still helping others in their homeschool endeavors. Today I bring you tips that we have discovered on our journey—tips to make this “the best school year ever”!
1. Get Teacher Training and Support
I could go on and on about how little support, scarce materials, and few homeschoolers there were nearly thirty years ago—but I don’t want to be accused of describing how we homeschooled “walking uphill five miles in waist deep snow without shoes,” so suffice it to say that we are immensely blessed to have the support, training, and freedoms that we have today. (For instance, we had “home visits” from the local superintendent, principal, and social workers during our first year of teaching my sister!)
Take advantage of the opportunities available for training! If you are unable to attend physical conventions, learn all you can online, in webcasts, virtual conventions, and more. Read websites and books. However, do not get overwhelmed! Stop reading and researching when that reading and research becomes burdensome rather than helpful.
Additionally, get support! We have enjoyed support groups, networking, and small parenting groups throughout our tenure of homeschooling. One of the best things to happen to me concerning support is the formation, nearly twenty years ago, of a little four-mom parenting/homeschooling support group. We met with our “littles” at McDonalds—and since I like to have a purpose for everything I do, I labeled our group the “MAC” group—Mother’s Advisory Committee, who met at McDonalds. We have taken parenting classes, done marriage videos with our spouses, gone through Bible studies, completed video teaching with our entire families/kids, field tripped, played, prayed, planned, and more.
I can’t stress enough the importance of finding like-minded parents to take this journey with. When one of us wondered why in the world we were doing what we were doing (in parenting, homeschooling, or life in general), the others were there to remind us. It wasn’t uncommon at all for one of us to call another and say, “Okay, Josiah is still in the high chair from breakfast, and he is still screaming and throwing his spoon. Remind me again why I shouldn’t just give him his own way and go on with my day!”