– It will be okay. It will. Because you care. You care enough to be motivated to figure this out. You will look up what you don’t know or find someone who does know to help you out. You are not going to fail your kids. It will be okay! And you can do this!
– Unplug from the internet and social media for a day or two or three. Breathe deeply. Meditate or pray. Walk in nature. Take Epsom salt baths. Play with your kids today. Swim or run or exercise in some way. Get in the sun. The school decisions can wait a day or two while you get centered and ready to tackle them with peace instead of anxiety.
– Literally the ENTIRE WORLD will be doing a pretty lousy job educating children this school year. This is the ideal time to try this out! Your best will be good enough. In fact, your kids will likely thrive academically more than they would during this crazy year at school. Take the pressure off and try to enjoy this time with your kids. People over products; remember that.
– Remember that you aren’t committing to homeschool for the rest of your children’s school years. You are only committing for one year (or maybe less)! That makes this decision hopefully feel a little less weighty.
– You don’t need to find the perfect curriculum. There is no such thing. If what you choose isn’t working, find something else! (So don’t spend a ton of money your first year!)
– You don’t need to cover every single thing the schools would cover. Keep up with math, do reading and some writing every day. Explore the world through books and experience, and your kids will be just fine.
– You do not need to recreate school at home. You are now a one-room schoolhouse. You are a one-on-one tutor. Take advantage of all the perks of that situation. Don’t feel pressure to act like a “teacher” and set up a “classroom.” Be you.
– The details are just details. You’ll get that figured out in the next month. And then you can start on the real business of living a life of learning with your kids.
– It’s okay if the first day of school happens and you don’t yet have all your curriculum! I PROMISE. You are on your own timetable now. Read books together, go on nature walks, watch documentaries, bake cookies, and watch the stars together for the first week or month while you make final decisions and order things.
– YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE EXPERT. You don’t have to be the wellspring of knowledge. You don’t even have to be the teacher for most things! You will be the facilitator, the guide, the mentor, the co-learner. And it will all be okay!
– Once you decide on curriculum, do not look at other options! Stay away from Pinterest! It is not your friend! The grass is not always greener…. Keep your peace by putting blinders on.
– Don’t compare your child with other children or your homeschool with someone else’s. Who cares if your dishes are piled up and their house is immaculate? Focus on why you are doing this!
– If you’re only doing this for one year, remember IT’S ONLY ONE YEAR. There are many elementary years. Expect them to learn and progress, but they won’t learn everything in one year. So keep your expectations realistic. They will know something one day and forget it the next. Expect it. Go with it. Exposure and repetition.
– If you need hand-holding because you are afraid of messing up, there are plenty of curricula out there with teacher’s guides that will tell you exactly what to say and do!
– Reading books on educational philosophy can help bring a sense of peace because you start to understand and believe in the reasoning behind what you are doing. Instead of just following what someone else has told you to do, you begin to have confidence in yourself to do what you believe is best for your children. (Book suggestions coming in an upcoming post!)
– If you are picking and choosing individual subjects instead of buying a boxed program, keep it simple at the beginning! You can always add more later. You want to be successful at the start instead of in over your head!
– What you might not realize is that homeschooling can actually lighten your load. When you are freed from having someone else dictate to you what to do and when to do it, you can focus on your individual child. You can meet HIS needs at HIS pace with curricula and methods that work for HIM. He no longer needs to be compared to other kids his age. He is a unique gift, and maybe he will start to see that.
– Find a local homeschooling friend to talk to. Share your fears. Ask questions. Look through her curriculum. This is usually the point where people begin to believe they CAN do this.
– If you are a Christian/Catholic/believe in God, buy the audio book Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie and listen to it on repeat. It is only $5. You will thank me!
– It’s going to be okay. Your kids are going to be okay. You are going to be okay.
Thank you to Jennifer Porter, Tiffany Hernandez, and Brienne Sessa for helping me come up with this list!