Homeschooling Things I Would Have Done Differently ~ IF I Knew Then What I Know Now ~ Part 1

 
Are you taking your child out of school to homeschool them? Do you want to learn about what deschooling is and why you should deschooling your child before homeschooling them? Need tips on what to do to start your homeschool off right? Are you interested in learning how to homeschooling on a budget? Not sure how to manage your household and homeschooling? If I knew then what I know now, I would have certainly done things differently through my homeschooling journey. These helpful tips can help you start off right or even get back on the right track.

When I started homeschooling I really didn’t have any clue about what homeschooling really was. Like most people, I thought that homeschooling was to school your kids at home. I didn’t take any time to look up what homeschooling was all about. I didn’t look for a homeschooling support group. I just jumped right in there with both feet.

I had decided over the summer that I wasn’t going to send my children back to school. My school-aged children were going into grades 8, 6 and 5. I also had a 1 year old at the time, and I was a home child care provider for 3 children aged 9, 3 and 1 on top of that. And yes, I homeschooled the 9 year old as well – she was in grade 4. So, if you are counting, that’s 7 children in the house during the homeschool day in total. Four school-age and 3 toddlers. With all the children in the house, I needed to plan everything and be very organized in order to make the homeschooling year successful.

Looking back, that was probably my most ‘productive’ homeschooling year in terms of the number of curriculum books my children completed, the amount of reading and writing assignments done, and the most organized and planned out yearly curriculum, lesson plans, and monthly progress reporting that was stuck to without falter. The problem with that was — I suffered server burnout at the end of the year. Go figure.

 

DESCHOOL MY CHILDREN

The following year I switched the way I homeschooled. I didn’t know the text book term for what I was doing, but I followed my instincts and switched to a more student-centred approach (which is known as unschooling). Going along with my kids individual interests and learning styles was be better than trying to get everyone to learn what I wanted them to learn, the way I wanted them to learn it.

No curriculum books were used for ‘school work’ whatsoever! Instead, learning was hands on, experiential and online. The focus of study was turned inwards to have the kid’s self-discover. The students where in grades 6 to 9 by this point. The age where adolescences want to ‘find themselves’ and develop who they are. The students spent time doing online learning style, multiple intelligence and personality assessments as well as life skills training, amongst other things. Not surprisingly the students took to this and didn’t really fight to do their traditional school work. This also assisted in creating a relaxed atmosphere in the house and reduced everyones stress level immensely.

After years of homeschooling, and much learning about what homeschooling was, I came to learn that I spent my second year of homeschooling DESCHOOLING my children.

 

What is deschooling?

“Deschooling is the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. To really get the benefits of homeschooling, a child has to decompress and disconnect from “school” being the default and “school ways” being the standard expectation.  [Jeanne Faulconer, The Home School Mom]

 

Who should deschooled their child?

Anyone that is now starting to homeschool their child who was, prior to being homeschooled, in a traditional school.

 

Why you should deschooled your child?

1. Your child needs time to adjust to the idea of being out of “school”.
2. You can use this time to identify and deal with any resistance your child is giving for being taken out of school.
3. It gives you time to deal with anxiety issues related to being homeschooled or from any bad experience your child had in school.
4. Both you and your child should take this time to figure out what your child wants to learn from what they are interested in.
5. Gives both parent and child time to adjust to spending more time together (reconnect).

 

What you can do while you are deschooling your child?

1. Learn about homeschooling
2. Learn about your child
3. Find a homeschooling network and support group
4. Spend time doing fun stuff with your family
5. Organize your home to create a in-home learning environment

 

How long should you deschool your child?

1. Calculate the number of years your child was in school
2. You should deschool your child 1 month for every year your child was in school

 

For more info on what deschooling is or how to deschool your child, check out these articles:  From School to Homeschool: What is Deschooling? and How to Start Homeschooling: Tips for Deschooling by Jeanne Faulconer from The Home School Mom blog.

 

SAVED MONEY BY NOT BUYING ANY BOOKS

When my children were in a public school, I was a very active parent. I was a member of the Parent Teacher Association. I started and managed the After School program and the bi-weekly Pizza & Hot Dog Lunch program. I was also a teaching assistant in son’s class. I practically lived at the school. I knew all the textbooks my children were using in their class and where to purchase them. And that’s exactly what I did. I schooled my children at home, just like the teachers did in their public school.

My children were in a French first language public school in Ontario, so their textbooks came at a premium cost. And when you are looking at buying books for 3 children for each subject, well that’s just a lot of money that you don’t need to spend on school books. Homeschoolers don’t usually go out and buy the all of the same books their kids use in the school. There are a lot of other books that are commonly used by homeschoolers that are really good. Trying to figure out which ones to use at the very beginning of your homeschooling journey or even what to use as your kids get older can be a difficult task sometimes.

Going into a bookstore as a new homeschooler at the beginning of the homeschool year can be like sending a child into a candy store with $100. You walk out of the store with a bunch of books that look great but may not be good for you or your child. It is better to save your money and spend some time finding out about the books you are interested in before you go to the store and purchase them. Instead, you should:

1. Read curriculum reviews from other homeschoolers and and ask other homeschoolers you know what they think about a book.
2. Figure out if the book matches your teaching style and your child’s learning style
3. Consider whether your child would be interested in learning about what is in the book you want to buy.
4. Determine whether there are other, less expensive ways, for you to get the same content from the books you want to buy.

 

Have you started homeschooling your child who was in a traditional school previously? How old were your children when you decided to homeschool? Did you experience any resistance from your child? What did you do to help your child adjust to being homeschooled? How did you decide what books to use with your children when you first started homeschooling? Is there anything that you would have done differently?

 

 
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