Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10 Pieces of Advice for All Homeschoolers, New or Old

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.


  1. Great ideas, Sarah! Laughing together, maintaining that valuable sense of humor, has helped us navigate incidents that would have turned out to be even more challenging otherwise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I love your list. We live in the mountains as well. "Let the kids get dirty!" ~ That one has made for some of the best learning around here.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Sarah. This is one of my favorite Top 10 posts. What great advice, every one of them. LOVE this.

  3. So glad I found this today!! Beautiful words to encourage us all to enjoy this time with our kiddos...every moment:) Thanks!!

  4. Good list, Sarah. RE: not comparing kids, I think even within one family it is important to not compare - but take each person for who they are.

  5. I love your list and echo a huge "YES" to all your points! If we forget to engage with our kids hearts, we have missed it all!

  6. This is great! Thank you!! Funny thing....my sister is called Laurel Rose too, though Rose is just a middle name for her. :)

  7. As a home-schooled child, my parents used the places around us as we travelled as teaching points. Learned so much about our country because we travelled it!

  8. My fav is #7!!! Oh that I would keep growing in this. I live in Turkey and culturally I am always so (too) aware sometimes and I can stifle the joy and life in my kiddos...good post thanks.

  9. Thanks for the post! We are going to begin homeschooling our 12, 10 and 6-year-olds, for the first time, next fall and I have been overwhelmed with the curriculum choices. I needed this simple list to keep me going!

  10. I so needed to read this...


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