Not Back to School

This time of year has parents all across town running around, stressed and frazzled. They’re so ready for school to be back in session, but getting everything ready is such a hassle. Finding just the right composition notebook, getting the best backpack, gathering pencils and markers and glue…

Contrast that with homeschoolers, who are really just ready to have the parks and libraries back to themselves during the day!

Joking aside, many homeschooling families and cooperative groups do follow a traditional school calendar. Some even follow the local ISD’s calendar, which makes it nice for the homeschooling families who have children in public school as well. That means that for a lot of homeschooling families, August is just as mentally stressful, but for a different reason.

Most of us are finalizing our curriculum choices for this school year, and if you’re new to homeschooling, then you might be struck now and then with a bad case of “What have I DONE?!?’ syndrome, which can be quite debilitating when you’re sorting through curriculum options. Even seasoned homeschooling parents are occasionally tempted into trying something new. Every year, it seems that yet another company is jumping on the homeschooling bandwagon, and many have had some pretty sweet offerings.

We can’t alleviate all your doubts, but here are some tips that might help stop your knees from knocking:

  • Be flexible – one of the best things about homeschooling is that you’re not really ‘locked in’ to any one style of learning or way of doing things. Smaller student to teacher ratios mean that you have a world of teaching options open to you that aren’t feasible on a classroom environment.
  • Remember that learning doesn’t mean desk work – think back to some of the things you’ve learned that have stuck with you the longest. Did you learn it sitting at a desk? Probably not! Again, since you’re not stuck with a large number of kids to organize, you can afford to be more open to accommodating different learning styles.
  • Don’t buy too much stuff – this includes curriculum! Overwhelmingly, one of the biggest mistake that new homeschooling parents make is buying too much. Material things do not equal a quality education. The most effective curriculum for your child is not always the most expensive one. Sure, lots of hands-on things are fun to have, but give yourself time to see what you’ll really need so that your money is well spent.
  • De-School – if you’re coming out of public (or private or charter) school, give your kids time to ‘un-learn’ school. Homeschooling usually does not look like learning in a classroom. Plus, how you think that homeschooling will work for you is rarely how it ends up working. You learn so much in the first year of homeschooling, and your ideas change so much that it’s a really good idea to take it easy for the first year and give yourself time to develop a style. That doesn’t mean that you’re not learning or that your kids aren’t; it’s just not learning like you’ve been taught to think of it.
  • Get support – Whatever your homeschooling plans are, support is something that all homeschooling parents need. It’s a tough job, to be both parent and teacher; having someone there who can talk us down from the ceiling on ‘one of those days’ is always a good idea.

If you’re local to Southeast Texas, then we invite you and your family to join us on Monday, August 23 at 10Am at Roger’s Park (corner of Gladys and Dowlen) in Beaumont for our “Not Back to School” Park Day brunch. Bring brunch-y type snacks and enjoy the strangely quiet park with us. Hope to see you there!

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