Tips for new homeschoolers

Relax, take a deep breath. Your kids will be fine and so will you. IDEA has been supporting homeschoolers for over 20 years and we are eager to give you some tips as you begin this journey.

Here are 5 great ideas to get you going.

  1. Start slowly with simpler tasks and be patient. Initially, focus on language arts and math and ease into other subjects as you get more comfortable in this new role. Kids love to be read to, or try audio books. There are lots of free audiobooks and other resources available here.  Practice skills, but don’t be locked into the worksheet; use conversation and questions to explore topics.  The goal is to enjoy the process and enjoy learning new things.
  2. Set your own schedule. Maybe beginning at 9AM works for you but maybe starting later is better. Maybe putting your noses down and powering through learning is best or it could be that breaking the day up into chunks with active breaks works best. Remember that while your kids are in school several hours a day, much of the time is non-academic.  Younger kids spend a lot of time at play and older students have elective classes, lunch and PE, besides their core subjects.  Every child learns differently–so don’t be afraid to try different learning schedules to see what works best for your kids.
  3. Take time to have fun. Schedule time just to have fun with your kids. Enjoy this time together, get to know each other, explore fun topics. See this as an opportunity to build your family relationships. Play games (Monopoly, Scrabble, Candyland and more), watch documentaries and other interesting videos (lots of content on YouTube is free), cook new things together, do arts and crafts and have fun. There are so many free online resources now! Use this as a time for your children to explore new interests.
  4. Add in more difficult educational subjects, concepts and content slowly as you get a routine and develop confidence. Just like building any new skill, you start small and add new things as you find your groove. Build on small successes and wait to take on more difficult tasks until you and your kids are ready.
  5. When you feel like it’s all going wrong, take a break. Give yourself and your children permission to stop and re-group. Have a snack, let everyone read for an hour or engage in something physical. The changes we’re making related to Covid-19 are stressful. So be kind to yourself and your children. There’s an old saying in homeschooling.  “If you can’t teach with a smile on your face, take a break until you can.”  With that in mind, take a break when you need to, and start again when everyone has had a chance to de-stress.

This is your family and you are creating memories, so make them positive ones! We are here to help so reach out to your local IDEA office and we will be glad to connect you with one of the experienced homeschoolers on our staff to give you some encouraging advice and, if needed, a virtual friendly hug!

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Click below to fill out our online enrollment form. You may also give us a call at 1-877-582-4332 and we would be happy to walk you through signing up over the phone.

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