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What to Do When You Need Homeschool Help
(Help!) I need somebody
(Help!) Not just anybody
(Help!) You know I need someone
— The Beatles
The Beatles had something figured out: We all need help. Whether you are a new homeschooler or have been at it for years, there are times you’ll realize you don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay! You’ll discover that like a toddler, maybe you can do something all by yourself, but a little help will make it so much easier. What do you do when you need homeschool help? We have a few tips.
Homeschool Help Tip #1: Get Coaching
Coaches inspire, encourage, and give you the tools you need to be successful. They don’t do the work for you, but help lay out a plan so you can achieve success.
A homeschool coach will do the same for you! When you are looking for a coach, consider the following questions:
Is the coach a positive, encouraging person (who’s also not afraid to tell you the truth)? Look at their online presence to get a feel for how they interact with others. Many coaches also have blogs. Does their message resonate with you?
Does the coach help you lay out a plan or simply tell you what to do? A good coach knows that you have to be involved in the process. Simply telling people what to do without their buy-in means they will inevitably not follow through. A good coach wants you to be successful, because that’s how they are successful too! Look for someone who knows how to ask you questions, so they will understand what you need.
Does the coach have experience? If a coach only has kids the same age as yours, or younger, carefully consider whether or not that’s a good fit. Sometimes former public school teachers offer coaching right when they start homeschooling, and though they probably have some great teaching tips, it doesn’t mean they really understand homeschooling—not yet anyway. It’s so different.
Homeschool Help Tip #2: Follow Experienced Bloggers
Yes, there’s that experience thing again! Pay attention to the bloggers you are following. Go to their about page and learn about their family, how many years they have homeschooled, and why they can write about the things they do.
If you find a mom who creates crafts and science experiments while doing them with her own kids, great! You’ve found a place full of ideas to use. But if you find a mom who wants to tell you how to homeschool your kids because she just started too, be careful. You may learn something, but know she’s not any farther along the road then you.
Homeschool Help Tip #3: Find a Mentor.
Like-minded peers are great for support and encouragement, and will even help in many ways as you bounce ideas off one another and share your struggles. But when you simply don’t know what to do, when you’re frustrated with one of your children’s behavior patterns, when you feel stuck or burnt out—having someone who has “been there done that” will be invaluable. That’s what a mentor is: a mom further down the road. One who understands it’s a winding path, often uphill, and totally worth it all.
You’ll want to ask the same basic questions listed under the coaching section when considering who would make a good mentor. The main difference is that a coach is generally someone you pay who has specific experience in coaching—helping you lay out a doable plan for your specific situation. Mentoring is about developing a relationship with someone who can help you down the path as a wise friend.
Homeschool Help Tip #4: Read Books
Think of books as mentors you may never meet, but can still have a huge impact on you and your homeschool. You’ll find everything from how-to’s to encouragement. You’ll find books on specific methods of homeschooling, and ones that are more about a general philosophy for a homeschooling lifestyle.
Just remember, it’s easy to think that each author has THE way to homeschool. (People wouldn’t write books if they weren’t passionate about how they did it!)
But there isn’t one right way to homeschool. Let homeschooling books inspire you, but forge your own path. That’s exactly what we are all about here at HMA—providing resources for the eclectic homeschool mom.
Don’t stop at just homeschooling books either. Homeschooling is life-schooling. Marriage, parenting, managing you home, cooking…the list goes on and on. So whether the library is your best friend or you have a personal relationship with the guy who delivers your books from Amazon at this point, make sure to give yourself time to read!
Homeschool Help Tip #5: Take a Break to Reorganize
Public school teachers have teacher workdays, so why shouldn’t you? Be sure to have a plan for your kids so you can concentrate on catching up and organizing your homeschool.
Your kids can still do education activities like:
- Watching educational DVDs & TV shows
- Playing board games together (well if they play nicely together. You don’t want to spend your day playing referee!)
- Reading books
- Organizing their own things
- Practicing skills with education computer games and apps
- Drawing, coloring, putting puzzles together, doing crafts you don’t need to supervise
This is also the perfect day for them to visit their grandparents if that’s an option for you. If it’s not, consider swapping days with another homeschool mom so you can each have a day to get organized.
Homeschool Help Tip #6: Join Your Virtual Homeschool Group
At Homeschool Mastery Academy, we are huge fans of developing a homeschool community. We believe that local co-ops and homeschool groups can enhance your home education experience.
But sometimes, joining a local group simply isn’t possible or a good fit for your family. That’s why we’ve created Your Virtual Homeschool Group—an online community to encourage and support you on your homeschool journey.