Much more important to me than choosing curriculum or having well-organized shelves or even deciding whether to keep homeschooling is the tremendous task of being a good parent. My pieces of advice really apply to any parents, not just homeschooling ones.
1. Read aloud every single day.Start when they are babies, and do it as long as you possibly can. [Here's my list of Top 25 Read-Alouds (for ages 5-12).]
2. Don't get distracted by what someone else is doing.
3. Don't compare yourself to others. Don't compare your kids to others.These two go hand-in-hand. Hike your own hike. Stay true to your own family. Trust your gut, and know your kids. (More on this in my Guide to Navigating the Homeschooling Community.)
4. Get outside.Take a walk or a bike ride. Play badminton, hop scotch, and jump rope. Look at insects, plant flowers, pull weeds. It doesn't matter what you are doing: just get fresh air every day.
5. Be nice.Most children reflect their parents' moods. If you are distracted, grumpy, and/or irritable, they will be, too.
6. Take trips.Don't wait until all the kids are just the right age or you have money for nice hotels and plane fare. Go now and do what you can. Be creative and adventurous! (See My Biggest Homeschool Mistake: Not Traveling More.)
7. Don't try to control your environment by controlling your kids.Stand back. Provide a safe place, but don't hover. Let them make mistakes. Let them wear clothes that don't match and dip their asparagus in applesauce if they really want to.
8. Let your kids get dirty.Let them drag their feet in the dirt, roll in the mud, dig big holes, smear paint on their stomachs, run through the sprinkler, climb trees, and get mosquito bites.
9. Remember that children are, indeed, wonderfully and fearfully made.They come with their own unique personalities and needs, which will determine how they learn best. Be constantly aware that what works for one child will not necessarily work for another.
10. It’s much more important to show love to my child than to finish the math book.We have choices to make every day. We can scream at our kids to finish their work, or we can calmly and lovingly guide them and encourage them.
What advice would you give to new (or longtime) homeschoolers? You can link up at Angie's Top Ten Tuesday!
This post is part of iHomeschool Network's Top 10 in 10 series and also linked up with Top Ten Tuesday.