So, you’re starting homeschooling elementary this year. Good for you, friend! Welcome to the homeschool family. You’re going to love it — eventually. During the first few weeks, you may feel more overwhelmed than overjoyed. And that’s normal! The best way to ensure you get to the joy is to have a plan and know your path.
In Part 1 of our Getting Started Homeschooling Elementary series, we talked about creating a plan, finding tools and support, and getting organized. Now, we’ll talk about the path, which is finding the right homeschooling style, your child’s learning style, and curriculum choices. Because getting started homeschooling elementary is challenging, but you can do it with a little help from your friends.
Elementary homeschooling can be overwhelming, which is why you need to first understand how you want to homeschool! The biggest trap in homeschooling is to do what everyone else does, or thinks you should do, rather than doing what will work for you! Get yourself on the right path by asking yourself a few critical questions before you buy or sign up for anything. Your answers will give you a vision of what will work for you and help inform your decision-making.
What should my homeschool look like?
- What’s your teaching style? Do you want to do most of the teaching, have your students be self-paced, or have outside help teaching your children? This will steer you towards curriculum choices.
- How do you want to organize your day? Do you want to be flexible or scheduled? Do you want to get most of your schooling done in the morning or start later?
- Do you want to be involved in out-of-the-house activities? If so, which ones?
Understand your learning styles.
Now that you have a vision for the path you want to take, it’s time to find the right gear, which is curriculum. But, in order to make the best choices and know you’re not wasting your money, you need to understand how your child learns best. Knowledge is power, and knowing your child’s learning style will enable you to choose the right curriculum to unlock their full academic potential with less frustration and struggle.
Studies show that when we teach children using their primary learning style, or “speak their learning language,” they are better able to understand ideas, make memories, and master concepts. And this translates to engaged learners who are less likely to get frustrated and shut down. Take this quick, comprehensive Learning Style Assessment and receive an ebook with over 90 pages of tips, tools, and insights to help you better understand how your homeschooler learns. From there, you will be ready to evaluate and purchase the curriculum that you know will work for your teaching and their learning styles!
Find your support group.
No homeschooler is an island — at least you shouldn’t be if you want to homeschool well and meet your children’s needs! Finding a support network is critical for getting started with homeschooling. From formal co-op groups to an informal group of homeschooling friends, homeschool groups may look very different, but serve the same purpose: homeschool support and socialization. This may mean joining your local YMCA or YWCA, finding a co-op and signing up for classes, or finding support through an accredited homeschool partner. The sky is the limit when it comes to interacting with other homeschoolers because you have the time and the flexibility in your day to make it work for you.
Once you’ve established a network and are on the right path, it’s time to start walking and letting your child’s interests lead! This is often the hard part for parents because we’re used to being in charge. But to homeschool well and enjoy it, you’ll need to go with your child’s interests and share power. This may look like asking your kiddo what they want to start with each day or allowing them to choose their books from the library. Let your students drive some of the planned events like creating a book club around their favorite books, choosing art and theater outings, and visiting local museums based on their mutual interests and what you’re studying.
Elementary homeschooling is an amazing journey filled with peaks, valleys, and challenges along the path. But with the right start, you’ll find yourself enjoying the experience as you journey along together. Take it from me, your homeschool friend: getting a good start in elementary homeschooling can make all the difference for you and your child.
Want more support in choosing curriculum or getting started elementary homeschooling? Contact Bridgeway Academy today at 800-864-1474!