I am in the fourth year of homeschooling my children. I particularly enjoyed the first year as it was largely spent in transition from school to home. We experienced the joy of discovering each other, and finding our places in this new and foreign world called homeschooling.
While the transition was refreshing, we were not spared the difficulties that came with the new role. Here are some tips for helping you to transition from school to home education.
1: Take Time off: Many veteran homeschoolers suggested that I take a year to six months off to allow the children to adjust to a new lifestyle. While I ignored this suggestion, thinking they had surely lost their minds, I know see the value in the thinking. My children raised their hands to go to the bathroom and ask questions for the better part of a year. They were afraid to ask questions and to make mistakes. They were the perfect students for an imaginary prison that no longer existed.
2. Re-acquaint yourselves: You think you know your children, but if they have been away from you for the bulk of the last few years in school, then you hardly know them at all. I found out that first year that my quiet withdrawn son actually had a lot to talk about. I also found out that he like affection. I was not surprised to find out that my energetic daughter was a wild-child at heart, but her quick wit and wry sense of humor did surprise me. You would be amazed to find parts of their personality that was previously hidden when they are really allowed to be themselves.
3. Break bad habits: Besides raising their hand to be excused or to answer questions, several other bad habits needed to be broken. My son was used to doing the minimum amount of work necessary to squeak by and his potential far exceeded his work.
4. Hold onto good habits: Unfortunately allowed the children to let go of some good habits that we had to recoup. Keep some of the rituals of traditional schooling like spelling tests on Friday, and math drills on a regular basis. Breaking these habits will get them out of the habit of studying on a daily basis.
5. Enjoy the process: Remember that homeschooling is meant to be enjoyed. Let down your hair, smile, and joke and have fun. On rainy days, snuggle up in bed and read. Remember that you are a parent first and a teacher second. If you fail to enjoy homeschooling then you are missing the whole point of leaving traditional schools in the first place… to learn in freedom.