How To Start Homeschooling – Advice From a Homeschool Mom
It’s Friday Feature time!!! Many of my readers have either just started homeschooling or are still thinking about it. With that in mind I decided to start a weekly feature interviewing new and veteran moms, asking them to share with us how they started homeschooling, their struggles and their joys. I love hearing how other moms do it all and how they started homeschooling. Everyone’s journey is so different!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a woman of many different hats. First and foremost I have been married to the most wonderful man for the last 13 years. We have 4 beautiful children together. We have a 10 year old boy, an 8 year old boy, a 5 year old boy, and we were lucky enough to also have a 2 year old daughter. I run a Social Media and Marketing company, write for my blog and freelance, as well as host a podcast on health and wellness; all while homeschooling.
Did you always know you wanted to homeschool?
I actually did not want to homeschool. I shouldn’t say that, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it was just that I didn’t think of Homeschooling as an option. I had planned to put all of my children into school and then be able to concentrate on my work. I owned a Preschool for 5 years while my children were very young, and after my oldest had a negative experience with the school while in Kindergarten, I decided to sell my preschool and homeschool full time. We always said that we would reassess every year, but as time progresses we are coming to the realization that we are lifelong homeschoolers.
How did you start homeschooling?
My business partner for my preschool had already started homeschooling her children, so I kind of followed her. I would read homeschooling blogs and scrounge Pinterest for inspiration. We are Unschoolers for the most part and my classes on child psychology and learning while in University really helped to make me understand the value of intrinsic learning. I bought a few curriculum items and went to a lot of the homeschool classes that were offered in my area. We went to a coop pretty much from the start.
What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?
I think my favourite thing is the freedom that this lifestyle allows. We can go snowboarding when the hill is empty. We can visit the zoo and science centre on a weekday. We don’t have to do any of the extra curricular classes at night, unless we want to. It’s just a more laid back environment. I also love that my kids get to see their dad a lot. He works away every second week, but is home for a full week when he comes home, so the boys get to learn from him and be supported by him every day 24/7 for that week. I feel that is invaluable time for my kids.
As a teacher, are there subjects you struggle teaching? How do you overcome that?
Yes. My two older boys have ADHD, and my second born has some more learning disabilities. I find the lack of resources that are available to homeschoolers for special needs kids to be a challenge. They also learn differently and I have had to switch my thinking on how my homeschool “should” look. We joined a school board that has weekly classes with certified teachers and they help me understand different methods, or tricks to help teach a difficult concept. I also outsource. I have a tutor that comes in and teaches math to my oldest as we were always butting heads. It has helped our relationship tremendously.
What advice would you give to someone interested in or just starting homeschooling?
Find support. Homeschooling is still quite counter-culture, and you need to feel confident in what you are doing. Curriculum can come second.
Can you give us an example of how you encourage your children’s curiosity?
I ask a whole lot of questions. My boys tend to hyper-focus a lot, so I have to really help they expand on their thinking. As long as you are engaged and interesting in what your kids are interested in curiosity continues to grow!
How can readers connect with you?
I blog over at www.learningfrommykids.com, and am on most other social @alishabrignall. I do love instagram (@learningfrommykids) and Periscope (@alishabrignall) the most though, I am a very visual person.
Would you like to share your advice with us? Contact me at [email protected]