Sifting Through the Advice
Experienced Homeschoolers Speak About the Advice
They Were Given as Beginning Homeschoolers
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By Beverly S. Krueger
Beginning homeschoolers are often inundated with advice, suggestions,
and possibilities. The process of selecting curriculum can be overwhelming
all by itself. If you could just ask experienced homeschoolers,
not what they use but the kind of questions that could help you
sort out all the advice a beginner's life would be so much easier.
We've done that for you. We addressed three questions to the experienced
homeschoolers on our EclecticHS
email list. We've compiled their thoughtful responses and offer
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you when you
"I knew that it would be a full time job, but I wish someone
would have told me that to begin, it is best to get your house in
order first. It really helped me a lot when I finally got a routine
down about what I cooked for dinner on a regular basis, how I kept
the house clean on a regular basis, that kind of thing. I have just
gotten these things down this year, and my life is a lot easier.
I also completely decluttered the entire house, and that has helped
tremendously. I owe a lot of the inspiration for this change in
our homeschooling to Victoria Moran's book, Shelter for the Spirit.
She was a single mom homeschooling her daughter at the time that
she wrote the book, so I knew that she would know what it meant
to really LIVE in your home! I highly recommend that book to everyone."
"I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to live life
and get school done. Sometimes it feels like school is all we do."
"To relax ... homeschooling doesn't necessarily have to mean
school at home." Kathy
"To start slow. Don't rush into anything at first. I started
homeschooling my kids after they had been in public school for a
few years (one was 8th grade). Take time to relax in the beginning.
It was explained about how long it would take to de-public school
my kids, but no one ever said how to handle the schooling in the
[Editor's Note: A great resource for what to do while
deschooling is Barb Shelton's Decided
to (Re)Start Homeschooling? section of articles.]
"Do not underestimate how quickly time will fly. He may be
a first grader today, but he really will graduate "tomorrow"
(it'll seem that way anyway) and you'll have regrets about what
you've done and not done if you don't keep that in mind." Tammy
What is the one most important piece of advice you received
when you began homeschooling?
"In response to my concerns about my inadequacies (lack of
patience primarily), a lovely Christian mom said "It's great
that you are aware of those issues. Commit them to God and trust
in His grace for those areas." Homeschooling has deepened my
walk with Christ and enriched my life as a parent. It's awesome."
"Remember that it doesn't take as much time to school at home
as it does a whole classroom of children. We do five different grade
levels in five hours a day." Terry
"Take full advantage of the homeschool environment and count
life learning with as much importance as book learning." Kathy
"Enjoy what you are doing with your kids. Have fun and play
with the subjects finding out what the best way to teach them and
yourself for being the teacher." Cathy
"Me, give only one? HAH!
1. Consider the first year to be practice.
2. Don't buy it until you need it.
3. No teacher ever finished the book." Tammy
"Two things that I was told have stuck with me "Better
late than early" (in other words they will get it eventually,
so let them take their time) and "Start homeschooling form
the beginning". I am grateful for that advice, and I think
we are all better off for it." Rachael
What advice did you ignore when you first started homeschooling,
but now wish you hadn't ignored it?
"Stay organized from the very beginning. The paper can multiply
exponentially and before you know it your are drowning in a sea
of worksheets and forms. Sadly, it took me two years to really implement
this. I didn't notice the problem when I first started because I
was only homeschooling one .. but once I doubled the kids, the paper
doubled. I still take one week a year to weed out all of the old
papers and forms that I accumulate. After 8 years and four kids,
even the most stringent weeding still leaves me with a large amount
of stuff that I have to keep for at least two years at a time for
portfolio purposes." Kathy
"Keeping records. It is so important to keep them. I didn't
want my son to go back to public school and wasn't too worried about
it (in our state you don't have to keep records). He ended up going
back in 10th grade, and I needed to have records for him so he could
graduate with the rest of his class." Cathy
"Homeschooling is not school at home. We set up a school room,
said the pledge, the whole nine yards....for about a month. After
that reality set in and my only return on the schoolroom money I
spent came from reselling the school desks to new homeschoolers
who were as convinced of the need for a school room as I had been.&"
"To set up a daily schedule. We have finally admitted as a
family that this works for us, and our lives are a little more simple
I also wished that we had started our support group sooner, (Hindsight
is 20/20!) instead of trying to make another group work for us for
so long that never really suited our needs." Rachael
"Let them learn to read at their own pace, and incorporate
unit studies into your curriculum for Social Studies and Science."
Contributors to this article included: Billie JO Youmans,Oxford,
NY; Tammy Cardwell, Baytown, TX; Cathy G.; Kathy Martinez, Florida;
Terry, Pennsylvania; Rachael La Rock Whaley, St. Louis,Missouri.
Copyright © 2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association