So I wanted to blog some advice for all the newbies. Here it goes.
#6 Do NOT compare your child to other homeschooled (or non homeschooled) children. This may seem like a no brainer, but it is something that I have recently stopped doing after years of homeschooling and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, seriously. It's not easy to stop comparing, it's in our nature and it's very easily done. When you are out at homeschool events, you'll hear moms bragging about what their children are doing (and that's ok by the way). Don't be discouraged if your child isn't doing what everyone else is doing. They don't have to.
#5 Don't listen to the myth that a child must learn something by a certain age or grade. Like, you must teach a child to read at the age of 5, or do long division by 5'th grade. Who came up with 'what every 5'th grader should know' anyway? Someone had to set in place a guideline for the public schools. That doesn't pertain to you or your child. He/she isn't public schooled. Your child can learn things in their own time, their own way, at their own pace and that is ok. My middle child read at age 4. My youngest is 13 and still struggles (he has Dyslexia). Every child is different. It's not the end of the world. If your child isn't reading at age 7, it will be ok. It will click and then you can praise them! (Always encourage them to try. If they fail, tell them that they will succeed in time!)
#4 Don't compare yourself to another homeschool mom! Some mom's like to have detailed lesson plans and a tight schedule. That is ok. Some mom's like to school by the 'seat of their pants' (meaning, decide daily what they should do for school). Both of these are ok. You do what works for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! If your little one likes to sleep in and is more energetic in the evening, then homeschool in the evening and let her sleep in. We sleep in. We start our homeschool around 10 am and school until about 2 with a lunch break. Yep, that's it, approx. 3.5 hours a day for my middle schooler. We can get a lot accomplished in those few hours, trust me. If you are night owls like us, school at night and sleep until noon! Yes, there will always be someone judging you. Who cares? (Family members are good for this.) Let them judge, you can ignore it or address it. To address it, politely tell them, "This is what works best for our family, but thanks for your concern".
#3 Don't let "LIFE" get you down. There will be interruptions! The phone will ring, you'll get a UPS delivery during spelling, you'll have to run to the store for something in the middle of a math lesson, etc. Life happens. Don't sweat the small stuff. There are some days when I have good intentions for a productive day, but I wake up feeling like I haven't slept, I'm out of coffee creamer (big deal! call 911), and then my hubby calls and needs me to do an errand. Sigh. It's ok. Take a breath, there is always tomorrow. Kids in public school have movie days, snow days, hurricane days, free time, even electronics day (yes, this is true). So don't lose any sleep over your homeschool day getting messed up. This too shall pass. And don't be afraid to say 'no'. If someone needs something and it can wait, tell them no. When you are finished with schooling, then take care of it for them. ;) You can do it!
Also, depending on your state laws, don't try to keep up with the public school days. For example, most public schools go for 180 days per year. In FL and WV, we don't have a set amount of school days. We don't have to put a certain amount of hours in per day either. So again, don't sweat the small stuff. ;)
#2 RELAX & HAVE FUN! Seems like another no brainer, but it's harder to do than you think. Teach your kids what they are interested in. Not interested in reading or math? Then find a subject they ARE interested in, and go with it. For example, your daughter loves horses? Do a unit study or lapbook on horses. Create spelling, history, science, reading and even math that revolves around horses. How? Lapbooks, research, books, movies, color pages, documentaries, workbook pages, crossword/find a word puzzles, math problem with horses, etc. All of this is school. You get the picture. A wonderful math game for children is the grocery shopping. Yep. Give them a few items on a list and tell them that they need to find these items in the store (supervised of course) and give them a budget to stick to.
#1 Think outside the box! If you child loves animals, go to the library and get some books on certain animals. Read about them, color them, draw them, have him/her tell you a story about them. Take your kids to the zoo and then have them tell you what he/she seen and learned that day, then draw a picture of it. Having trouble with addition? Use candy! Take skittles an have him/her group all the colors together and then count them. Be creative and encourage! Don't make learning harder than it has to be.
Enjoy, Relax and have fun! Any comments to add or questions, feel free to post/ask. :)