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Transitioning From Home Life to Home School

Affiliate Disclosure | in Motherhood | by | with 17 Comments

Today’s guest post comes from Debi of Life Above & Beyond. Debi and her husband Tim have home schooled since the late 1980’s. They have 11 children and 3 grandchildren. The experiences of educating at home have brought their family benefits beyond what they envisioned. Debi’s background is in Child Development,and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

From Preschool to Homeschool

Deciding to home educate your young child can be quite an emotional experience. As a couple, once you have committed to the job – there’s some groundwork to be laid. Some parts are easy and some . . . not so much.

The easy part!

  • Allowing endless educational ideas to swirl around in your mind
  • Strolling down memory lane to visit your own teachers (good and bad)
  • Chatting over the details with your girlfriends
  • Attending book fairs and pouring over school catalogs to find the best curriculum

The HARD part

  • Telling the grandparents (this is a big one)
  • Giving up part of your home for a … school
  • Realizing hours in your day will be siphoned out of your small pool of precious T-I-M-E and poured into … school.
  • Telling your 4 yr old that he will NOT be going to school with his friends, because he gets to stay HOME with momma! (This idea may have to ‘grow on him’)
  • Budgeting money for the supplies you want need.
  • Deciding IF you’ll homeschool until High School, because people will actually ask you this question when your child is 5!
  • Wondering if this decision will emotionally harm your precious daughter, who may never go to a Prom.
  • Wondering if this decision will emotionally harm YOU – for all the reasons listed above.

These are a few of the panic-stricken thoughts you may have as you take on this job for the first time. Once you clear your mind of the clutter and get a hold of your fears, it will be time to ask the obvious question.

How does a mom prepare to transform home-life with a preschooler into home school?

Here are some suggestions to prepare your lives for this wonderful opportunity.

#1 – Work on discipline with your preschooler. He/she will soon be required to follow your lead . . . as their teacher. If he has significant challenges in this area the classroom you envision will have problems. You need to maintain order to optimize learning.

#2 – Read aloud. By doing this on a regular basis, you will help lengthen the attention span of your child. This also provides a great opportunity to help your little-one practice sitting still and responding to your voice. Plus, they’re learning!

#3 – Set up a specific area to teach. This will help the experience seem like real school and send a message to your little one that you value their education, and ultimately – them.

#4 – Set order in your home. If your mornings are spent in your pj’s and cartoons get first ranking, you’ll be wise to curb the casual atmosphere in prep for real learning. Be forewarned: your child may think they’re ‘going somewhere’ when they see you dressed and focused.

#5 – Stock-up on supplies. From art supplies to sharpened pencils – make sure you have them organized and ready. This simple act will give your young student energy to learn. Stewardship is also taught as they take good care of their school supplies.

#6 – Decide on school hours. This can be a big factor in the success of your home-classroom. 9:00 – 11:00 may be sufficient to accomplish the bulk of learning. You’ll be surprised at how little time it actually takes to learn the basics! You may break this up into 45-minute sessions with a snack/recess break between subjects.

#7 – Plan a big start! Children respond well to a big kick-off. Put it on the calendar, talk it up to grandparents (if they’re up to it), and don’t let anything distract. You’ll find that a solid start will help their attitude and give energy to the process. Put their art pictures up on the ‘fridge, celebrate with special lunches, plan a park visit once the work is done. Get Dad in on the talk – he can be their biggest fan even if he’s traveling – all they need is to hear his voice saying, ‘good job’!

#8 – Prepare to enjoy the process. Agree with your husband that you will both embrace this role. Decide in advance to bless your child, keep your heart focused on home and guard your words – even on the toughest days.

There’s so much to be said on this subject and I’ve just touched on the basics. Planning ahead will ease the transition for you and your little one, but the bottom line is this: To teach a young child at home with ease and excellence is doable  . . . and rewarding!

If you’re planning to homeschool, how are you preparing. If you’re already a homeschooler, please share your tips below!


Educating The Whole Hearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson

*Credit for mom reading with girl: Sugarpond






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17 Responses to Transitioning From Home Life to Home School

  1. Heather says:

    Thank you for this post, Debi! #’s 3,6 & 7 were especially helpful to me. :)

  2. Lauren says:

    I am just finishing up my first year homeschooling my kindergartner. My biggest challenge, and one that I still have trouble with, is what to do with my other kids during school! And #4 will be arriving in October and I am so anxious about adding another one in the mix! Any suggestions???

  3. Brenna Aschbacher via FB says:

    our family is very much enjoying Unschooling!

  4. Preparing to Homeschool? says:

    […] me to Heather’s blog – Mommypotamus where I’m a guest writer on this subject. Print, email or […]

  5. Southern Gal says:

    Well, my post today is about my homeschooled daughter who is graduating from college in a few weeks. I also have a 19-year-old son in college and a third grader. There is such a difference in homeschooling high school and primary grades that it was a shock to my system to begin over again. I needed reminders of the basics since this year has been pretty trying. #3 and #4 need a little work on my part. Thanks.

  6. Tarrah Zimmerman says:

    Very helpful tips Debi! I like Lauren am also curious if you have any tips for occupying littles while working with my kindergartener. This has been a real challenge for me this year. We started kindergarten with a 2 year old, 1 year old and 2 month old…. needless to say it was a very relaxed year! :)

  7. Hannah Tallo says:

    Great thoughts for those of us who are looking ahead at homeschooling!

    Heather, thanks for having a guest blogger who in my opinion is a pro on the subject! 😉

  8. Kelly F. says:

    We are doing kindergarten with our 5 & 3 year old, and also have a 20 month old and newborn. Figuring out what to do with the 20 month old is the hardest! She’s prone to house destruction if not occupied, and her attention span isn’t as long as our school day! LOL! I agree, though, it is so fun to plan and go to homeschool conferences and see that we aren’t the only “crazy” ones living this life. :)

  9. kate saab says:

    I just started “homeschooling” my 2.5 year old this week using a variation of this – I’ve found the hardest thing is keeping my daughter still! She loves “school” so far though. I’ve had so much fun planning and setting up our school room/area. There is so much good information and so many resources online which is nice when you live out of the country and can’t order things as easily. I also just bought this – and hope to make our homeschool more Montessori.

  10. rawkinmom says:

    I have been homeschooling for 4 years now….it has proven to be the best decision!! Although, at times I feel like I am going to go crazy, or question if I am doing enough…..
    My daughter is 8 and my son will be 5 in June….they both LOVE homeschool and ask to homeschool even when its technically not school hours!!! They request “homeschool nights” where we turn it into a semi party…we pop popcorn, watch a science video like Kratt Brothers or Magic Schoolbus and then read a book, play a game, or do an experiment!! Oh we also pull out blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows all over our living room floor to cuddle!! :)

  11. Whittney says:

    Thanks Debi! Love your specific ideas… I have to figure out where this school might happen in our very tiny “cottage.” :)

  12. Michelle says:

    Would like an update on how the first year has been for you. Plan on starting pre-k with Dylan this year as he is 4 now. Nothing to fancy just trying to get an hour of “school” in here and there to get him use to a schedule of doing “school” learning per say.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Michelle! It went okay. I actually found that the course work was a little too easy for Katie but didn’t really step things up because we moved out of state and were busy getting to know our new area. I’m excited about the coming year, though!

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