Top Ten Things a New Homeschool Mom Needs to Know...With a Free Printable

If you’re a new homeschool mom or a homeschooling wanna be, this post is for you. (Veteran homeschoolers, don’t leave yet. I have a job for you at the end.) You see, when I was new to this whole homeschooling thing- over fourteen years ago- I had some things I needed to learn. Some of these I learned from the wise council of those who had gone before me. Others I learned from experience.

And so I’m passing these truths on to you. In top ten style, I’m here to share with you the ten most important things a new homeschool mom needs to know. Just in case you want to print these valuable tidbits out and hang them on your fridge, here’s a printable copy that you can download.

Drumroll please…

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Number 10- You need to join forces with other homeschool moms.

I get it. Some people are just introverts. I am too. But this homeschooling thing is so much easier if we don’t try to go it alone. And this is especially true if you’re a new homeschool mom.

I joined my first homeschool support group when my oldest two children were 3 and 4. No, we weren’t officially homeschooling yet, but I wanted to connect with other homeschool moms- especially those who had been around the block and could share tips and tricks with me.

If you can’t find a physical group where you can connect with other homeschoolers, there are tons of ways to connect online. As We Walk Along the Road has a Facebook group for chatting and homeschool encouragement. Join us there.

Number 9- Homeschool curricula is sometimes pricey.

One of the benefits of homeschooling for us is that it is cheaper than paying for private Christian school. And that can be a draw for a new homeschool mom. But it isn’t always super cheap. Homeschool curricula can get really pricey. And if you- like me- become a curricula junkie, it’s easy to find yourself spending too much every year.

There are some free/cheap resources out there if you search for a while. These are a few of my favorite. And if you create a curriculum budget and work on shopping around, comparing prices, and not impulsively buying every new thing that comes along, you can make it work for your family’s finances.

Number 8- Forget about keeping a perfect house.

No. I’m not giving you permission to never clean your house. Sorry. But I am telling you to face things with a realistic view here.

When you homeschool, your kids are home. Almost all of the time. And kids make messes- especially when they’re writing and coloring and cutting and gluing and crafting and creating as you homeschool. They’re also eating most of their meals at home, which means crumbs and spilled drinks and other food-related mess.

The reality is that your house is probably always going to maintain a level of comfortable clutter and a look of being well-used. That’s okay. Budget your time well and divvy up chores with the kids, and you’ll fit in some time to at least keep things mostly clean and semi picked up. But don’t expect a Good Housekeeping worthy home.

Number 7- Your homeschooled kids don’t need any special “socialization.”

It’s unavoidable. If you start talking about homeschooling to any non-homeschooling person, the topic of “socialization” is going to come up. It usually goes something like this.

“Oh. You homeschool. You must be a saint. I could never be around my kids all day.”

“No. I’m really not. Sometimes I just want to get away too. But it’s what we’ve thought was best for our family, and it’s working out well for us.”

“I’m sure it’s good for the kids to have more one-on-one teaching. But what about friends? What about socialization?”

Now the crazy thing is that this conversation often happens when I’m sitting around with other parents waiting at child’s gymnastics/dance/soccer/volleyball/drama class. When, in fact, my children are socializing away with the children of the person asking me the question!

The fact is that you don’t need to worry about the socialization question. At all. Unless you happen to be hermits living out in the woods and never associating with any other people at all, your children are going to have plenty of time to socialize. (And if you’re living like hermits but have a large family, your kids are socializing anyway!)

Don’t kill yourself trying to join every homeschool group and go on every field trip and plan five hundred playdates because you’re worried about your homeschooled child’s socialization. Go to church. Hang out with good friends. Your children will have plenty of opportunities to learn social skills in those settings- much more opportunity than they would have stuck in a classroom of peers with one adult to twenty or more children.

Number 6- Don’t compare your homeschool to anyone else’s.

This one’s important, ya’ll. It is so easy in the homeschooling world to get caught up comparing your family to every other homeschool family you meet. And I think you can fall into the trap even easier when you’re a new homeschool mom. When you do this, one of two things will happen and neither is good.

(1) You’ll compare yourself and decide that you are so much ahead of this other homeschooling mom. I mean, really. She’s not organized at all. Her kids sleep until ten every day and who knows how much homeschooling they even get done during the day. They are probably so behind.

This line of thinking is prideful and leads to you relying on yourself- and not on God- because you’re convinced that you’re obviously doing such a good job here.


(2) You’ll compare yourself and decide that you are hopeless as a homeschooling mom. That mom is teaching Latin and violin and prealgebra to her third grader! They get up at five in the morning and follow a strict regimen of chores before they begin their schoolwork. On top of it all, that mom cooks all their meals from scratch- three meals a day- and has a spotless house.

That line of thinking can lead to frustration and overwhelm and make you want to throw in the towel.

Don’t compare. “You do you,” is a quote I love. Follow the way that God is leading you to homeschool. Your family is special and unique, and your methods of homeschooling don’t need to look like anyone else’s.

Number 5- Homeschooling is hard work.

I’m not going to lie to you. This homeschooling thing isn’t always easy. It’s often very hard work. As a new homeschool mom, you’ll be with your children twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week most of the time. You’ll juggle being a wife, a mom, a teacher, a nurse, a cook, a housecleaner, a counselor, and who knows how many other jobs every day.

There will be days when you feel like giving up. Days when your child just can’t seem to get that math concept no matter what. Days when you have to deal with behavior issues in one child while you’re trying to homeschool the others. Days when the toddler makes a giant mess in the bathroom while you just turned your back for one minute to help your first grader with math. Days when you’re sick but the show must go on anyway. On those days, you’ll wish for the magic yellow bus to come to your door and take those kids to school.

But don’t give up, friend, because they aren’t all hard days. There are also days of fun and joy and accomplishment. Days when you see that concept click for the first time. Days when siblings love each other and play so well together. Days when you get lots of hugs and snuggles. Those are the days you’ll love and that will cause you to be so thankful that you homeschool.

Number 4- Your toddlers and preschoolers do not need to “do school.”

I’m know going to step on the toes of some new homeschool mom with this one. But here goes: When my oldest children were 3 and 2, we had “gather at the table time” a couple of times a week. We read stories. We practiced a “letter of the week” and a “number of the week.” We played games with the alphabet and numbers.

When my younger two were 3 and 2, things were very different. By that time I had two elementary school-aged kids as well. I had very little time to “do school” with the younger crew. Mostly I just tried to keep them from trashing the house while I taught the big kids.

Guess what? They all turned into successful learners. My oldest children didn’t come out light years ahead because we had been officially doing school lessons so early. And my younger set didn’t suffer because of the lack of formal learning in preschool.

If you have the time and interest and if your children have the patience and attention span, do some formal learning with your toddlers and preschoolers. But if you’re stretched thin or you have very young children who are resistant to “doing school” in a formal way, just don’t do it.

In my experience with my own children and children of other homeschoolers I’ve watched over the years, doing formal school with really young children just isn’t necessary. And, if it’s forced when very young children don’t have the desire and attention span, it can actually be detrimental.

Number 3- Don’t sweat the small stuff.

As a new homeschool mom, you’ve got lots of things on your plate. You wear many hats and juggle a variety of tasks all day every day. It’s impossible to do it all. So prioritize and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Write down all the tasks you do every single day. Then put them in priority order. Get input from your husband and know which things he considers the most important. Each day work on getting the “top of list” tasks done. And, when there’s time, go for the lesser priorities. But don’t sweat it if you don’t get them all done, every day.

I really hate to leave dirty dishes in the sink at night. But sometimes I’m so tired that I just need to get to bed. Or I haven’t seen my husband all day and want to go spend time with him. I’ve learned that those dishes are small stuff. A few dirty dishes that are collected in the sink don’t really matter in the big scheme of things. So, I leave them and don’t sweat it.

Number 2- Don’t forget that you have a husband.

This is a crucial one, homeschool mamas, and could almost be the number one thing I think you need to know. Please don’t inadvertently- or purposefully!- put your husband last.

I know from experience that this is so easy to do. You’re busy all day. You’re cooking and cleaning and writing lesson plans and teaching math and answering questions and reading books. By the time night rolls around and the kids are in bed- or close to it- all you want to do is sit in bed with no one talking to you or touching you or needing you. But…there he is- your husband, who does want to spend time with you, who does need you.

It can be a very difficult thing, but we homeschool mamas must make our marriages a priority. Whether that means making sure we have a nap or a just a rest in the afternoon so we’re not as wiped out at night or making bedtime a more strict ritual so that kids are in bed and not disturbing you or choosing not to do all the little things we like to do at night to get our ducks in a row- cleaning the kitchen, preparing the schoolroom for the morning, working on lesson planning, we must show our husbands that they are a priority to us. We must nurture those relationships.

Number 1- Homeschooling is worth it.

I’ve now graduated two kids from homeschooling. They were homeschooled all the way through. I’ve really been reflecting on our homeschooling journey lately. And if I can tell a new homeschool mom one thing with the voice of experience, it’s this- Homeschooling is worth it!

The time I’ve had to spend with my children, the opportunities that I have to talk to them and listen to them as they develop a worldview, the hours we’ve spent reading great books together, the fun of taking a family field trip in the middle of the day when everyone else is in school, is time I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The blessing that homeschooling is makes all the hard stuff worth it. And as my children are getting older and I’m looking back across our homeschooling years, I know I wouldn’t trade our homeschooling journey for anything.

So…there you are. If you’re a newbie homeschooler, I hope that these ten things will stick with as you head off on your homeschooling journey. If you’re a veteran homeschooler, I’d love it if you’d add to my list in the comments. What are some of the things you think are most important for new homeschoolers to know? Don’t forget that you can pick up your free printable copy of these here.

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