FAMILY & PARENTING

5 Tips From Real Homeschool Parents To Help Others Navigate Home Learning

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

You didn’t ask to be a homeschool parent. That’s why you sent your kids to school in the first place!

But here you are, with a house full of kids, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for quite some time. School is out, and we have absolutely no idea when it will be back in session. As if we didn’t have enough stress with, ya know, pandemics and finances and all, we also have to worry about how much our kids are actually learning now that they aren’t leaving the house and heading to a classroom for most of the day.

Many parents are completely overwhelmed with the idea of having to homeschool their kids.

I don’t blame you. I homeschooled my own kids for one year by choice, and that was enough for me. There were certain things I loved about it, like getting to make our own schedule. In the end, I needed more time for my work and myself. Now it looks like we don’t really have the choice.

Times are tough — there’s no question about it. But the truth is, homeschooling can be a great option for so many reasons. Tons of families do it, and they use all kinds of different education models, too, many which include online tools and more.

"Let Their Interests Lead" — Me

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My homeschool tip is: let their interests lead.

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The first tip comes from yours truly. Yes, I may have homeschooled my kids for only one year, but I definitely learned a lot about the process during that time. The big “Aha!” moment for me was when I gave up trying to force material down their throats that didn’t interest them. The truth is, kids are more easily engaged when it’s something they genuinely care about. Like that time my daughter fell down a YouTube rabbit hole and learned everything there was to know about the Titanic. Get away from the idea that you have to teach everything they might be learning in “real school,” and let them sink into their interests for a while. You’ll be amazed how much information they collect in the process.

"Make It Fun" — Heather

Heather Brown homeschools her three girls, so she really knows what she’s talking about. She says that making it fun is important! I know — we don’t often align school with fun, but Heather says it doesn’t have to be like that, and with homeschooling, it really shouldn’t be like that. You have a lot more freedom at home, after all. Chances are, if kids are having fun and not bored, they’re probably learning more.

"Take Your Time" — Stephanie

Co-editor here at LittleThings, Stephanie Kaloi is another experienced homeschooler. Her big tip has to do with being patient with yourself. You can’t expect perfection because, well, you’re brand new at this! It takes a long time to get into a flow and feel like you’re really nailing your kids’ education, especially with all of the pressures surrounding us right now. Practice being gentle with yourself, know that this is a process and, also, that some days are just going to be a total loss. Guess what? That happens in regular school some days, too.

"Have a Morning Routine" — Miranda

Miranda Altschuler likes to rely on a morning routine involving reading– each kid picks a book of their choice for Miranda to read aloud. Then that book can become a jumping-off point for lots of other activities. It’s a great idea since we can read about pretty much anything from science and art to math and more. A book can pique a child’s interest and lead them to want to explore more on that topic.

"Try To Create a Positive Environment" — Jessica

Homeschool mom Jessica Hare Whittington says creating the right kind of environment is important. You definitely want to stay positive and have your home feel like somewhere your kids can immerse themselves into learning. A lot of that has to do with you.