Homeschool Parenting

Homeschooling: 6 Things Learned in the First 6 Months

Our family started our homeschooling journey at the beginning of this year. Before that, I didn’t know anything about it. So, as you can guess, the past 6 months have been a huge learning experience for us. In a good way, of course.

I know I am not the only one here beginning this journey, and I wanted to pop in to share with you all some of what we’ve learned about homeschooling thus far. Whether you are a newbie, like me, or a veteran homeschool family, its always good to continue learning and growing along with your kids. Hopefully you can take something valuable away from our experiences.

The Homeschooling Community

Overall, I’ve found that the homeschooling community is very supportive of each other. It’s not a competition, we all want to see everyone’s children succeed. I have been blessed to be able to connect with a few local homeschooling families, as well as online communities on Facebook and Instagram. Everyone I have interacted with is happy to share information, be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, and give encouragement to help through the tough stuff.

Curriculum choices galore!

Getting started, I had no clue how many curriculum choices there were for homeschooling. I had never heard of Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Unschooling, or most of the other teaching styles either! Christian or secular, online and/or book work, divided by grade level or designed for multiple age groups, expensive, cheap or free, and so on. Just looking through all the different curriculms can make a person dizzy!

There are so many to pick from that I ultimately decided to create my own curriculum for my kids for the first 6 months. Which taught me why some curriculums costs so much. It can be a lot of work to compile! I’ve really enjoyed myself with it though!

In fact, I’ve created some printable worksheets for my kids that I want to share with you! For Free!! Who doesn’t like a freebie, right? All you have to do is become a site member by subscribing to my e-mails. That’s it! Once I get your e-mail address I’ll send you the password to my Freebie Library! I will continually add to the Freebie Library with homeschooling printables, Bible study resources, and other content that I get creative with. Subscribe today with the form in my pop-up, side bar, or HERE to get access!

Homeschooling Curriculum - A Reason for Handwriting - Apologia Astronomy - 6 Things I learned in the First 6 Months of Homeschooling - Minding the Kings

For this coming school year, I did buy some curriculum that I’m pretty excited about. I plan to share more about that as we work through it, so keep your eyes open for that!

Different learning styles

I did know before we started that there were multiple learning styles. In fact, being better able to accommodate the different styles than a typical school setting does was a big factor in our decision to homeschool.

I’m more talking about the little quirks my children have, and how they have taught me how to teach them. Things like, my youngest prefers to do his “work” (he’s preschool age) in his underwear. That’s not something the schools can accommodate! My oldest prefers to have all of her work sitting there in front of her as she does it. Seeing the progress helps to motivate her. My middle, however, gets overwhelmed if he gets it all at once, and prefers to do one thing at a time and checking in with me between each task. They all like to work outside, or comfy on the couch, or even upside-down sometimes!

Working with each child within their visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning style is easier and more effective in a homeschool setting than a classroom setting too. In these 6 months I’ve learned how to work with my children in this way. Take learning to skip count for example. For auditory learners there are skip counting songs you can teach them. With visual, work with them to color in a 100 chart and see the pattern that forms as they skip count. For the kinesthetic kids, have them hop-scotch, skip count while skipping rungs across the monkey bars, or work with homemade lacing cards. We have so much freedom to be creative and make it interesting!

Cursive Writing Practice - 6 things I Learned in the First 6 Months of Homeschooling - Learning Styles

Gameschooling

Before I started getting involved with Facebook homeschool groups, I had never heard of gameschooling before! Gameschooling is when you incorporate games into your homeschooling as a learning tool! Games can teach different concepts such as math, problem solving, strategy, social skills, geography, and more, depending on the game. Even basic games like War, Pictionary, or Memory Match can be altered to fit your curriculum and your children’s learning styles! Here’s a photo of some of the games we have:

Gameschooling - Homeschooling - Scrambled States of America - Farkle - Uno - Minding the Kings

Field Trips

As homeschoolers, we can still do field trips! That’s a given, right? The thing I learned is that, there are so many possibilities for field trips with our kiddos! Here, the local libraries have all kinds of different programs all year round we can attend. There’s a planetarium at the community college that offers free showings too. Then there are local museums, public art events, beaches, the farmer’s market, and so much more. With so many choices, we can work in field trips for so many different topics of study. Not only that, but the realization that now I can control the topic, time, and cost of the field trips was freeing!

I also learned that when you get connected to other local homeschoolers, you can take field trips together! That helps with the ever “concerning” socialization issue. Then, when you get a group to do a trip together, you can often get a discounted rate similar to a public school group!

Homeschooling - Plasma Ball - Field Trip - Science Museum - Minding the Kings

Homeschooling Schedules

Although not the final thing I learned about homeschooling so far, the last point on this list is that I learned the schedule is whatever you make it! If you want to do the work during the public school hours, that’s fine. Or, if you work first shift, your family can do school during second shift hours. You can do a 2 months on, 1 month off schedule, or go year round with breaks as needed. The daily times can be 3 hours, 5 days a week, or 8 hours a day 3 days per week, or even 2 hours in the morning and then 2 hours in the evening Wednesday – Saturday! The schooling works around your schedule, rather than you working around a school’s schedule.

The flexibility is especially helpful when it comes to planning family vacations. Homeschoolers don’t have to wait until Spring or Summer break. You can take your vacation in the middle of February or October when the prices are lower and the crowds are minimum! You can go to the zoo on a Tuesday morning in September! Being able to make your own schedule opens up so many opportunities you may have never even thought of before!

Thankful for this Homeschooling Opportunity

I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach my children at home. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would homeschool my children, I would have said no way! I didn’t feel capable. I was worried that they would’t listen to me or that it would be too much. But, God. He is the one who changed my heart and mind and equipped me for this journey. I thank the Lord for this gift He’s given my family.

I also thank my husband for 100% supporting this. He is the “principal” so to speak, and helps me to keep the kids on task as well as being the one to fund this whole thing. He is a good provider and encourager.

I’m thankful for the support we’ve found in other places too. To my mom, who is full of ideas and even made us a felt board and accessories. To other extended family members who have supported and encouraged this decision. Also to the homeschooling families I know personally that have let me look over curriculum they use, shared about resources in our community, and done play dates. Finally, to the homeschooling communities on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, for your never ending ideas and encouragement! You all rock!

How long have you been homeschooling for? What curriculum(s) do you use? Do you have any advice for a newbie like me? If you don’t homeschool, have you ever considered it? Let’s chat in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “Homeschooling: 6 Things Learned in the First 6 Months

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I am anticipating to start homeschooling in 6 weeks but to be honest I am becoming more and more hesitant not knowing if I could actually do it. I am pinning this to my homeschool board so I can check these resources out more.

    1. You’re welcome Carmen! Just remember that if God is calling you to homeschooling He will help you do it. I will be praying for you! I hope these freebies are useful to you. If there is anything in particular you are looking for let me know and I will see if I can make it or help you find it.

  2. My mom homeschooled all five of us up through middle school. I loved it! I’m glad you’re having a wonderful experience and are learning so much about your children and about yourself, too! God can use all experiences as a learning opportunity!

  3. I homeschooled my son through his middle school years. Let me tell you, I have come to thoroughly respect homeschooling moms! It is the hardest job ever. And the moms I met in the homeschooling coops I belonged to were some of the most dedicated mothers I know! Smart as whips, and taking their parenting responsibilities to the next level, homeschooling moms are worth honoring as hard-working women of God. In this day and age of public school instruction including the ideology that you can “choose your gender,” I really pray that more Christian parents pull their kids out and begin homeschooling, Your post shows that everyone can create curriculum to suit their children’s needs. There is a plethora of great educational materials out there! May God bless your efforts.

    1. Its great that you got to homeschool your son for all those years! It is a hard job, but so rewarding! Public school indoctrination is a huge reason we have never sent our children there, and pray we never have to. We enrolled in private school for 5 years, but it really wasn’t working (long story), so here we are! Thank you Lisa!

  4. Jennifer, what an excellent post and resource you have offered here! First of all, I am thrilled to hear you and your husband made the sacrifice in order for you to homeschool your children. I was a public school teacher for 28 years and I wish I had done the same for my kids. You cannot replace the time and interactions you will share. Most especially, the sharing of your faith. As we know, in today’s world, they will not find faith in Christ very easily in other places. May God bless you and your dear family! Way to go!

    1. Thank you Melissa! Our pastor often teaches that we need to pay attention to what and who we are allowing to speak into our lives. If we only allow God to speak into us for an hour on Sunday, and then listen to things of this world the rest of the time, we start to follow after this world. So to be able to limit what our children hear from the world, and speak more truth into them is a big responsibility and blessing. We hope to help nurture their faith to spiritual maturity!

  5. Hey Jennifer, as I mentioned on your tweet, I homeschooled our kids for one year while we did missions work. I loved the flexibility to not being tied down to public school. And I agree how overwhelming it is to pick our curriculum. My sister-in-law homeschooled for years, so she helped me.

  6. Back in the dark ages when we began homeschooling (1983), there were no resources and no help like this available anywhere. We gleaned all we could from an annual home schooling conference. Gradually, as twenty-eight years of homeschooling passed, things changed. The internet, for one. Homeschool co-ops for another, complete with professionally done plays and debate teams. All of those enriched and expanded upon the few resources we had in the beginning. You’re providing a wonderful service to beginning homeschoolers with this type of post, including pictures and so many tips. We were told that after we’d slogged through six years of homeschooling, we’d know what we were doing, and it would feel normal. Which was true. Because of people like you today, however, a new family need not feel alone and unsupported for six years! I hope many newbies find your resources.

    1. Dark ages, lol. Thanks for the laugh! I have been so blessed to find homeschooling resources like I am providing, many of them for free, so I felt that a good way to say “thank you” would be to give back some of my own. It breaks my heart to think of anyone feeling alone in such an important endeavor!

  7. I’ve never homeschooled, but I’ve had students in my classroom who had been homeschooled. Homeschooling provides amazing opportunities to cultivate kids well. Great tips here! God bless!

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