10 Things Every New Homeschooler Needs to Know

10 Things Every New Homescholer Needs to Know | The Homeschool Classroom

The following is from contributing writer Jen @ Forever, For Always, No Matter What

Here are 10 things that every new homeschooler needs to know –  some been there, done that tips!  Starting on this journey is scary but oh so rewarding.  Have joy in your journey and know that you are not alone.

1.   There is no perfect curriculum – Don’t spend your every waking moment searching for the perfect curriculum, it’s not out there. You will find methods that work better than others, but nothing is absolutely perfect and will probably take a bit of tweaking here and there.

2.  Relationships are more important than books – Sometimes it’s necessary to put aside the books and work on relationships.  Homeschooling is a family lifestyle, not just another form of school.

3.  Do what works for your family – Keep your eyes on your own work and don’t fall into the comparison trap.

4.  Be willing to let some things go – It’s challenging to have a perfectly decorated home, a spotlessly clean home, laundry caught up and a gourmet meal on the table every single day.  It’s okay to let one (or more!) of those things go.  You haven’t failed as a wife, mom, or teacher.

5.  Be flexible – Be willing to put the books away if a friend calls and invites you on a picnic.  Be willing to be spontaneous and flexible; it can be some of the best learning days.

6.  Set goals – How do you know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started?

7.  Write a mission statement – Write down your “why” so you can refer to it on those crazy “why am I doing this?” days

8.  Expect criticism – Not everyone is going to agree with your decision to homeschool.  Be confident you are making the right choice for your family.

9.  Everyone feels like quitting at some point – It’s true.  Everyone feels like throwing in the towel at some point.  Really.

10.  Have fun learning together as a family, but every lesson doesn’t need to be fun! – Some things in life just have to be done whether we find them fun or not.  Same is true of school.  Sometimes we have to buckle down and do hard things.

Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling!

Jen blogs at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.  She has one amazing husband and six eclectic kids.  Stop in for a visit as she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption, all while trying to fit in exercise and healthy eating.  Jen can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.



  1. Barnabas A says

    I’m a recent homeschool graduate, and I’m so thankful that my parents educated me as they did. Not everything works, however. It’s not a perfect system, and in my angst-ridden young-teen years, I hated how isolated I was. I didn’t have a group of peers, and I was sick of the endlessness of doing school by myself at home, with only my siblings for company. I actually begged my parents to enroll me in the local public school.

    Instead, at the start of my high-school years, my parents got involved in a program called Classical Conversations. I was still working at home, but now I had one day a week to learn with other students. We studied Latin and mathematics, strengthening our brains. We dissected logic and debate, learning to articulate. We immersed ourselves in classic literature and art, developing our points of view and learning to communicate them through the written and spoken word. My peers kept me focused and sharp, and I no longer minded my weekly homework, since I had the co-op day to look forward to. The program has communities all over the nation, and whenever two communities met, delicious discussions exploded between the students. In a surprising turn of events, I graduated well.

    Homeschooling in general has so many advantages, but joining Classical Conversations was the best choice my parents could have made. I’m envious of my younger siblings who are currently enrolled in the “Foundations” level of the program; I wish I had been in it all along.

  2. says

    First time visitor, and goodness what a pretty site! This was a terrific list. It’s funny how those comparisons sneak up on you. I’m a 2nd gen’er, and I didn’t remember the early days. So I was thinking my Mom had always just rocked it, and I was devastated that it wasn’t super easy for me from the start. :)

  3. says

    This a great advise for newbies! I think it also it is a great reminder to the ones who have been around the block for awhile too. Thanks!

  4. Dana D says

    Great List! I would add to the list “Know that you have choices and don’t have to do what someone is doing.” I wish I had known that when we started! My guys were in 8th and 9th grades our first year. I just did what the “umbrella school” folks told me to do! Those first 2 years were needlessly hard and frustrating for all of us. Thankfully my oldest is now a college freshman and the next is a high school senior dual enrolled at the local college.

  5. says

    Relationships are more important than books. I love that and it’s so true! Sometimes you have to just take a step back, breathe, and realize that today is a day to just.cuddle up and spend time together.

  6. Candy Van Norman says

    Thank you so much for the list. Honestly it’s something I needed. We home school our 2 yr old. Even at this age, I have questioned myself. Am I doing what’s right.
    I am going to print this out. Put it on my frig. For those days That are overwhelming.
    Thank you

  7. Stephanie says

    This is a great list. I am a homeschool graduate. There are many times when I’ve wished my parents had made different choices, but never about homeschooling in general. I am very grateful that my parents made the choice to homeschool me. It provided me a strong academic foundation that prepared me well for entering and graduating from college and starting my career. There are some things I wish my parents had offered me during middle and high school that I feel I missed compared to public/private school graduates.

    A couple things that make my personal “10 things every new homeschooler needs to know”: 1. Don’t forget about extracurriculars. (Your kids need more than just academics. They need music, art, drama, etc. – all the extras that public/private school kids experience.) 2. Give your kids plenty of chances to socialize with their peers. (Homeschooling can be a very isolating experience. Your kids need a chance to form relationships outside their family/church – to learn how to interact with people who don’t necessarily fit their normal social group.)

  8. Chris Barnes says

    I do an annual “Homeschooling 101″ seminar at our local convention / bookfair. This “top 10″ list is one of the best I’ve ever seen!

    • Chris Barnes says

      The only thing I would add (modify really) is to change #3 to “what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for yours; what works for one child in your family won’t necessarily work for the next child; and what works this year won’t necessarily work next year”.

  9. Cheryn says

    I’m a second generation homeschooler, and even though I know these things well, I still struggle. Today has been hard, and I really needed this list. It was one of those days where I was thinking, ‘My children are never going to learn anything, I should just give up and send them to school!!’ I never really do that, but sometimes the pressure to perform from outside sources is almost overwhelming. Thank you and thank you again!

  10. says

    This list really is consoling. I think 7 and 8 really go together because when the criticism comes, as surely it will, the mission statement will help you regain your focus. Plus, I think to insure success, writing goals is important. Even if you don’t hit them on the designated due date, it gives you something to shoot for. Here is my mission statement: http://www.createmyhomeschool.com/mission-statement.html
    Thank you.