I am nearing the end of my journey as a home educator. I have used this forum many times for advice and information to help me. Please add a tip for someone just starting out.
Purchase some high quality tools:
3 Hole Punch
various art supplies
a good dictionary
sports equipment for break time
Schedule a quiet time no matter what age children you have. When they were little, it was actually nap time, now it's reading/rest time. We all need a break from each other and from electronics.
Some things I have learned after 13 years
1. Expensive does not mean it's better.
2. Follow their interests, and try to incorporate into their school time.
3. Read aloud books to them, yes even bigger kids who can read. Read above their vocabulary, instead of at their vocabulary.
4. Let them read for pleasure, letting them choose books they like, making sure they are appropriate, of course.
5. Unless you have a natural speller, spelling lists will be torture for both of you. Copywork and studied dictation seems to work better.
6. Let them use the multiplication charts. It will help them become more fluent with their multiplication facts.
7. Play games with them, for fun, for school, in the summer, whenever.
8. Have fun. Rigorous is not fun. Boring stuff have to be covered sometimes, too. Try to balance it with fun.
9. If you are feeling burnout, take a break. Read number 8 again.
10. Pray for guidance. It will all be over before you know it. Live for no regrets. You won't regret skipping over diagramming sentences, believe me. But you will regret the missed opportunities for family time, making memories and having fun.
1. Try very hard not to compare your homeschool with others'. Someone else's will always look better (but how much can you really tell from blog posts or forum posts?). Do not try to emulate these other people. Do what works for YOU and YOUR children.
2. Don't chase after all the latest and greatest curricula. Use what works for you and your children. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, even if you see negative reviews. Just because someone else doesn't like it, doesn't mean it isn't right for YOU. Don't ever let other people "scare" you into using something that you are unsure of.
Think of your children as their ages, not their grade levels.
Conversely, you need to know their grade levels so that you will know where to put them in activities that group their children by grade levels instead of ages. Which is also to say that each year you "promote" them in the fall, regardless of what you are actually teaching or they are actually learning, because grade level has no real meaning when it comes to children and learning.
There are 365 days in year; learning will happen on all of them. Do not get hung up on a school year that starts in September and ends in June.
Don't be in a rush to only push academics, workbooks, and textbooks. Take plenty of time in the early years to go on field trips, have hands-on learning, read books, do projects, and play. Time goes so fast, and they will have lots of years for desk time learning.
Kids learn and retain best when they are learning something on their own and/or are interested. I don't know how many times I have "taught" some fact, or bit of information, to one of my children...and believe that they have learned it...only to hear from them at a much later date tell me what they just found out! Like it was never mentioned to them before.
You can not read to your kids too much.
Take pictures, record memories, and keep samples of their work through the years.
---You are the master of the curriculum, not the other way around! Feel free to tweak, speed up, slow down, add in, take out, ignore altogether.
---read, read, read to your kids
---some of the best learning in life occurs without a curriculum
---pretend play, games, creative art and building projects, drama,
CAN take the place of the curriculum for many subjects--no need to overkill with follow up worksheets, quizzes and tests bc you are worried they aren't doing enough or their learning doesn't look like the public schools!----