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Navigating Homeschooling: Expert Advice for Success

Navigating Homeschooling: Expert Advice for Success

In recent years, homeschooling has gained significant traction as a viable alternative to traditional schooling. With the flexibility it offers, coupled with growing concerns about the effectiveness and safety of conventional education, an increasing number of parents are opting to educate their children at home. However, embarking on this educational journey can be both exhilarating and daunting, especially for first-time parents. In this article, we’ll explore the world of homeschooling, offer tips from experts for beginners, and delve into the importance of incorporating online coding classes to enhance STEM learning in children.


Understanding Homeschooling

Homeschooling allows parents to tailor curriculum and teaching methods to suit their child’s individual learning style and pace. This personalized approach to education often leads to deeper understanding and fosters a lifelong love for learning.


Tips for First-Time Homeschooling Parents

Research and plan: Take the time to research homeschooling laws and regulations in your area. Familiarize yourself with different educational philosophies and curriculum options to find what aligns best with your child’s needs and your teaching style.

Set realistic expectations: Understand that homeschooling is a journey with ups and downs. Set realistic goals and be prepared to adapt your approach as you learn what works best for your child.

Create a flexible schedule: Unlike traditional schooling, homeschooling allows for flexibility in scheduling. Design a schedule that accommodates your child’s natural rhythm and allows for breaks and extracurricular activities.

Stay organized: Establish a designated learning space and keep materials organized. Set up a system for tracking progress and documenting achievements.

Seek support: Connect with other homeschooling families in your community or online. Joining support groups or co-ops can provide valuable resources, encouragement, and social opportunities for both you and your child.

Here are some expert tips to help you thrive in the homeschooling journey.


What advice do you have for parents considering transitioning from traditional schooling to homeschooling?

For many parents, moving from traditional schooling to home education can seem like navigating uncharted territories. At Homeschool Mastery Academy, we understand the myriad of emotions and questions this transition may invoke. Our core advice to parents is anchored in three pivotal steps: planning, patience, and personalization.

Firstly, planning and researching are your compass. Start by understanding your state or country’s legal homeschooling requirements to ensure compliance. Next, delve into setting clear educational goals for your homeschool. What do you hope to achieve through homeschooling? Is it academic excellence, personal development, or fostering a love for learning? Establishing these goals will help guide your curriculum choices, teaching methods, and daily routines.

Secondly, practice patience. Transitioning from public schooling to homeschooling is a significant change for both parents and children. There may be days filled with progress and joy and others where challenges seem to cloud the way. Remember, acclimation takes time. Be patient with yourself and your child, knowing each day is a step towards finding your homeschooling rhythm.

Lastly, personalization is the foundational freedom of homeschooling. It allows you to tailor the learning experience to your child’s strengths, interests, and pace. Explore different teaching methods and resources until you find what works best for your child. Be bold in incorporating life skills, outdoor activities, and hands-on learning opportunities to enrich the educational journey.

At Homeschool Mastery Academy, we are committed to supporting parents through this transition. By embracing planning, researching, patience, and personalization, you can confidently navigate the homeschooling journey, making it a rewarding experience for your family and fostering a lifelong love of learning in your child.

-Courtney from Homeschool Mastery Academy


How can parents help their children develop self-awareness and self-confidence in the context of homeschooling?

Everyone has a unique motivational map — the inner drives that propel them to act and to enjoy certain activities. While this is obvious, we don’t always talk about motivation using terms that help our children develop self-awareness and self-confidence. As parents, we tend to revert to simplistic phrases like “You’re good at that!” or “You really like that.” Factual, yes, but not super helpful.

Giving kids more specific labels about their motivations fosters self-awareness and gives them powerful tools for self-advocacy. Instead of simply complaining, “I hate doing that,” a teen has the vocabulary to say, “I’m not motivated by exploring new things. I prefer to orchestrate a project from start to finish. Can I take a larger leadership role in this?”

Core motivations emerge as early as childhood and can be clearly identified in adolescence through analyzing a child’s achievement stories. Asking a tween or teen exactly what about a certain situation gave them a feeling of satisfaction and delight, and it’s easy to zero in on that child’s specific motivational map. This process can be done through the TruSpark app, especially designed for tweens and teens.

Kids aren’t lazy; they are simply motivated by different things. It can be eye-opening for a parent to read TruSpark results and finally understand the roots underlying recurring conflicts in the family. Here are four examples from the entire list of 19 motivations:

  • Arrangers like to be given the reins instead of simply being assigned a list of tasks.
  • Experts want to fully master something, so working at a surface level is frustrating.
  • Impactors need to know that what they’re working on is making a difference. When they ask “Why are we doing this? What does it matter?” they are revealing their inner drive to be an agent of change.
  • Overcomers get excited when they face a challenge, a deadline, or pressure. Without those elements, they simply aren’t as motivated.


Listen to your kids. Observe them and ask them questions. Find out their core motivations and then tap into those motivations whenever you can: extracurricular activities, hobbies, a personalized four-year high school plan, internships, volunteering, higher education choices, and career paths.

-Jimmie Quick Product Lead for TruSpark

What guidance would you offer beginning parents on homeschooling?

When you transition to homeschooling, you will DIY your child’s education. You pick and choose the learning materials and activities. You set the pace and schedule of the assignments. And you keep track of the progress.

Some states are specific about the record-keeping that you need to do, in order to keep track of the progress. They may want someone to verify that you’re doing that. Check with your state’s process for withdrawing from the local school and comply with the legal requirements.

Remember that you’re personalizing your student’s education. No curriculum or program knows your child like you do or has your child’s best interests at heart like you do. You want the doors of opportunity to open for your child’s future. Assess your homeschool progress with your goals in mind.

Don’t get caught up in comparing your child’s progress to others. Keep your family’s educational goals in mind as you assess your success and progress.

When you take your child’s education into your own hands, that weight of responsibility feels heavy. When things don’t go smoothly, and you encounter problems, you might doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself from time to time, then you’re actually doing it right.

Trust yourself and trust your child. You’re learning as you go along, too. You’ll figure it out!

We aren’t trying to replicate what schools are doing. Homeschooling is an alternate educational path that is individualized to meet the student. It’s okay to veer off the curriculum and let children pursue their own interests. You’ll burn yourself out trying to replicate school at home.

Every day is a learning day. It’s actually really hard to go a whole day without learning anything. All learning counts, so enjoy the journey!

-Kim Andrysczyk from The SC Homeschooling Connection


How can parents know if they are ready to homeschool?

Homeschooling is a sacred choice for each family to make on their own. There are so many questions and concerns that many parents face when deciding to homeschool. These are the main questions I had before starting my homeschooling journey:


What would others think?

I know many parents are worried about what close friends and family would think, and I was also worried about that.

After countless hours of research and talking to friends, homeschooling could be the best route, or homeschooling would not be the best choice for my children and would hinder their future.

Ultimately, the decision lies within you, not based on other peoples’ thoughts or opinions. The future of your children depended on you, not on others.


What if I don’t feel qualified?

I learned from so many valuable resources that homeschooling is different from a classroom setting. It would be very hard to be successful if you forced it to become one. One of my favorite resources is an amazing book I highly recommend – The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment.

She covers both of these fears and lists and so many more in beautiful detail in this book. She equipped me with the courage and the tools necessary to become the best homeschool teacher I could be.


Will I lose all of my freedom?

This is one of the most common questions I get when I encourage other mamas to consider homeschooling. They can’t imagine being with their kids all day.

Before homeschooling, we lived a stressful life. Always on the run to get things ready and done, I was not spending quality time with my boys. That wasn’t the life that I wanted for my kids. I wanted freedom to talk to them, go on a walk with them, or take a bike ride.

Since choosing to homeschool, I don’t feel like I’ve lost my freedom. In fact, I feel like I’ve gained more freedom than ever before. If I wanted to, I could load all my kids in the car tomorrow and take them to the library, a local museum, or a new hiking trail.


I promise homeschooling is not an 8-3 type thing. We have been so conditioned to believe that learning only takes place at a desk in a classroom, and it’s just not true.

In Ainsley Arment’s book, which I referenced above, she has a chapter titled “Discovering Your Homeschool Style.” She begins the chapter with:

“When it comes to homeschooling, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Homeschoolers come in all different shapes and styles, influences and interests, preferences and peculiarities.”

I could not agree more.

-Andrea from Pine & Prospect Home


What are some effective methods for creating a homeschooling curriculum tailored to a child’s needs and interests?

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Focus on what your child doesn’t know, not what they already know. Take advantage of their natural curiosity by asking questions first, and don’t provide all the answers immediately. Make it a mystery or game they need to solve!

Add multi-sensory techniques to your subject. For example, written answers could be spoken aloud or moved by hand to a specific place in a puzzle or paper cut-out sentence. Consider cooking an ethnic snack or hand-mapping a timeline or land route for history and geography.

Incorporate real-life experiences and skillsets to the lessons. Field trips to historic sites and public services can further enhance the relevance of your subject matter. Later your child could consider internships, apprenticeships, or volunteering.

Make space in your curriculum for the child to narrate or demonstrate mastery of the subject matter to you or another student. This can be as simple as asking them their favorite part of the lesson, or one thing they learned.

Homeschooling also gives you the freedom to customize learning examples to your child. For example, perhaps your child prefers hearing information rather than reading books or flash cards. In such a situation, consider avenues such as hearing audiobooks, chanting educational rhymes and mnemonics, or reading information aloud and asking for a summary afterward.

Emphasize in the curriculum how mistakes aren’t failures but learning opportunities. Create openings for the child to try figuring out solutions first, before supplying the “right” or popular answer. The faster they can fail in low-stakes environments, the faster they can learn and master concepts before moving to the next.

Finally, remember to keep the right perspective on homeschooling curriculum. Creating one tailored to each child may seem daunting at first. However, any seasoned homeschool veteran will tell you curriculum is just one more tool you can adapt as needed. You don’t have to get it “right” the first time – rather, your goal should be to create a love of learning that benefits your child for the rest of their life!

-Shanxi from Midwest Parent Educators


What strategies can parents use to keep homeschooling engaging and enjoyable for themselves and their children?

Homeschooling is more than just a choice for your child. It’s a lifestyle for the whole family, so it must be engaging and worthwhile for parents and children.

When you first start out, it’s so exciting to test and try all the different styles of learning whilst finding your own rhythm. Over time, it can become more difficult to maintain excitement in your home educating journey. Children grow up, parents get tired, life throws you curve balls.

I’ve been homeschooling for a while and have learned strategies to keep it joyful and engaging, allowing us to continue living and loving this lifestyle.

  • Find places of mutual enjoyment. Homeschooling isn’t just in the home. A big part of what we do is out in the community. A place of mutual enjoyment should be somewhere that you can both enjoy with minimal stress. We love a local forest. There’s water, dens to build and places to explore for the children, and a quiet spot for reading a book whilst I watch them play.
  • Keep your learning style fresh. When you find a learning style that suits your children, enjoy it and bask in it. When it fades, as it probably will, be willing to experiment with a fresh approach and release what no longer serves you. You’re a homeschooler; you don’t need to follow a rigid curriculum or routine. Embrace that freedom.
  • Take lots of breaks. Some weeks homeschooling just flows. It’s a beautiful thing. Other weeks it feels like ice skating up a mountain. Don’t be afraid to take breaks and let go of the pressure to always be educating when you all need a breather. Education is happening all the time. It doesn’t have to always be on a schedule. Baking, gardening, playing Lego and lots of everyday activities are all education too.
  • Take inspiration without overwhelm. Pinterest boards and social media are a great place to find inspiration for your homeschool. Enjoy finding new ways to add magic to your home education, but don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed with all the perfect-looking homeschoolers on the internet. None of us like to show the messy, hard, downright exhausting days online. Be inspired but not overwhelmed.

-Amanda from Mumtastic Life


What strategies do you suggest for incorporating nature-based learning into homeschooling routines?

At Wildlings Forest School, we believe in making curiosity the curriculum. We believe that learning happens naturally when children are given the space to be self-directed, and intrinsically motivated to engage with the living world through play. We run a weekly nature-play session for homeschoolers, where we take a democratic approach to exploring seasonal topics and activities. Here are some ways we incorporate nature-based learning into these sessions, drawing from the activities we do at forest school:

  1. Outdoor Classroom Setup: Step one is always just get outside! Once you start interacting with nature the learning flows easily from there. Encourage homeschooling families to create outdoor learning spaces by setting up a designated area in the backyard or local park, equipped with nature-inspired learning materials and seating arrangements. This could be as simple as a mat on the ground, a “basecamp”, a space to come back to after explorations and reflect on what children observed and discovered.
  2. Nature Walks and Field Trips: Organise regular nature walks and field trips for homeschooling groups to explore local ecosystems and natural landmarks. During these outings, children can engage in hands-on activities such as identifying local flora and fauna, collecting specimens for observation, and conducting nature-based experiments.
  3. Hands-On Activities: Incorporate hands-on nature-based activities into homeschooling curricula, mirroring the experiences offered at forest school. This could include using real hand tools to build shelters and wooden structures, starting fires with flint and steel under supervised conditions, and constructing cubbies using natural materials found in the environment.
  4. Exploration and Play: Encourage free play and exploration in natural settings, such as playing in creeks, exploring rock pools, and climbing trees. These activities promote sensory exploration, spatial awareness, and physical development while fostering a deep connection with the natural world.
  5. Nature-Crafting and Cooking: Foster creativity and practical skills through nature-crafting activities, such as making natural dyes, weaving with plant fibers, and creating artworks using foraged materials. Additionally, cooking over a campfire provides opportunities for learning about fire safety, outdoor cooking techniques, and the nutritional value of wild foods.
  6. Seasonal Awareness: Teach children about the changing seasons and the cycles of nature through observation and exploration. Activities could include tracking seasonal changes in the environment, learning about the life cycles of plants and animals, and participating in seasonal celebrations and traditions.
  7. Community Engagement: Facilitate opportunities for homeschooling families to connect with nature and each other through community-based events and workshops. This could include nature-based storytelling sessions, outdoor skill-building workshops, and collaborative projects focused on environmental stewardship.

By incorporating these forest school-inspired activities into homeschooling routines, families can provide children with rich, hands-on learning experiences that foster a deep appreciation for the natural world. Together, we can nurture the next generation of nature lovers and environmental stewards.

-Lindsey from Wildlings Forest School


Incorporating Online Courses into Homeschooling Curriculum

Online courses can be valuable supplements to your homeschooling curriculum, offering a wide range of subjects and levels of instruction. Consider incorporating online courses to enhance learning in specific areas, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), foreign languages, arts, or specialized electives. Online platforms provide flexibility and accessibility, allowing students to learn at their own pace and explore topics of interest in-depth.


Importance of Online Coding Classes in Homeschooling

In today’s increasingly digital world, proficiency in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills is more important than ever. Introducing coding at an early age cultivates essential technical skills and fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

Online coding classes offer a convenient and accessible way to incorporate STEM education into your homeschooling curriculum. Here’s why they are invaluable:

Accessible learning: Online coding classes provide access to high-quality instruction regardless of geographical location. Children can learn at their own pace from the comfort of home, eliminating barriers to participation.

Engaging content: Many online coding platforms offer interactive lessons, games, and projects that make learning to code fun and engaging for children. This hands-on approach encourages experimentation and fosters a love for technology.

Adaptability: Online coding classes cater to learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced students. Parents can choose courses that align with their child’s interests and abilities, allowing personalized learning experiences.

Real-world applications: Coding skills are highly transferable and can be applied to various fields and industries. By introducing coding early on, homeschooling parents equip their children with valuable skills that will serve them well in the future job market.

Collaborative learning: Many online coding platforms offer collaboration and peer feedback opportunities, fostering a sense of community among young learners. Working on coding projects with peers enhances teamwork and communication skills.

Here’s what the experts have to say about online learning:


What are the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating online learning platforms into a homeschooling curriculum?

Incorporating online learning platforms into your homeschooling curriculum is like opening up a treasure chest of endless possibilities. It’s thrilling, a bit daunting, but oh so rewarding. As a mom who’s been there, let me share the nitty-gritty of mixing in digital learning with the day-to-day of teaching your kids at home.

The Bright Side:

A World of Knowledge at Your Fingertips: Imagine being able to introduce your kiddos to a science expert living across the globe or a math wizard who makes algebra fun—all from the comfort of your kitchen table. Online learning platforms are like a secret portal to educational riches, making learning vibrant, diverse, and incredibly engaging.

Custom Fit Learning: One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the ability to tailor the learning experience to each of my children’s unique needs and pace. Online platforms are a game changer here. If one of my daughters needs a bit more time to wrap her head around fractions, we can take it slow. And if my other daughter is zooming through her reading lessons, she can advance at her own pace.

Fun, Interactive Learning: Say goodbye to boring lectures and hello to learning that’s actually fun. With interactive quizzes, educational games, and captivating videos, my kids are learning without even realizing it. It’s like sneaking veggies into their spaghetti sauce—educational and enjoyable.

The Flip Side:

Distraction Central: The internet is a double-edged sword. While it’s filled with amazing educational resources, it’s also packed with distractions. Keeping my kids focused on their lessons instead of spiraling down a YouTube rabbit hole is a constant battle. It takes a mix of oversight, trust, and setting clear boundaries to keep them on track.

The Screen Time Balancing Act: Finding the right balance between screen time and real-life activities is something I’m always juggling. Yes, online platforms are fantastic for learning, but I also want my kids to play outside, engage in hands-on projects, and simply enjoy being kids. Striking that balance is key to a healthy, well-rounded education.

Hands-On Mom to the Rescue: Using online platforms means I need to be even more involved in my children’s education. It’s not just about making sure they log in to their lessons, it’s about engaging with them, discussing what they’ve learned, and sometimes, figuring out those tricky algebra problems together.

In the end, integrating online learning into our homeschooling journey has been a bit like adding spices to a meal—it needs to be done with care and in just the right amounts. The benefits are immense, from personalized learning paths to engaging content that keeps my kids curious and motivated. But it’s also taught me the importance of being vigilant about screen time and making sure we balance digital learning with plenty of real-world adventures. It’s a learning curve for us all, but one that’s making our homeschooling experience richer and more exciting.

– Forest Rose from Kingdom First Motherhood


What strategies do you suggest for parents to monitor their child’s progress and participation in online learning activities?

As a mom of 16 years and a homeschool mom for the last 8 years, monitoring my children’s online time responsibly has been a large part of my work parenting older kids. My children are all in the double digits. It is amazing how much exposure they get to topics we would prefer they not be exposed to just from interactions online and with friends. I look at those challenges as opportunities. Although it would be perfect to keep our children protected from every harmful idea and exposure, I think being proactive to teach about being responsible and living by values is very important. We teach what being responsible is and model it ourselves. After that, there are ways to monitor children’s online time.

We use a timer that the kids can start when they are playing video games or watching television. This counts their screen time. They learn to monitor themselves as we are setting time limits and keeping track. I also cannot emphasize enough how being present at home with our children for large portions of the day helps so much. That quantity of time together helps me stay aware of what my children are doing and who they are interacting with. I know I cannot limit all exposures to things I wish my children would never find out about, but being present, asking questions, and staying vigilant as a parent to set boundaries and teach through consequences has helped. We set expectations for our children to be responsible with their time online so they learn to do that.

-Jaimi Erickson from The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide


How can parents ensure a balance between screen time for online learning and other activities to promote overall well-being?

The amount of time kids spend on screens is a real concern for many parents. And that concern increases if your children use online learning resources. Screen time recommendations based upon ages are to be considered, as well as your family’s rules and expectations.

I think that it’s essential to sit down with your kids and talk about your concerns. A genuine, heart-felt conversation can go a long way in helping your children understand why limiting screen time is important to you, as well as their health. Invite your kids to share their thoughts and feelings about screen time, too.

As part of your chat, brainstorm ideas and ways to enjoy screen-free time. Provide suggestions, like going outside for a walk or bike ride, doing DIY crafts, reading a book for pleasure, and playing a musical instrument. These screen-free activities can help your kids explore interests and boost creativity. Also, consider fun family activities as part of your screen-time planning. These types of activities can be fantastic motivators and enjoyable for all!

Determine how much screen time is allowed for online learning and for “fun”. Then, figure out how those limits will be reinforced. For example, setting a timer can be helpful for tracking time spent on video games. If ignored, provide a 5-minute warning (or whatever you agree upon) and follow through with a relevant and realistic consequence. A consequence may be something like your child may not be allowed to play a video game the next day.

-Amy from Rock Your Homeschool


What strategies do you suggest for homeschooling parents to cultivate a curiosity-driven approach to STEM learning in their children?

Little learners are naturally curious. If we as parents had a nickel for every why or what our children asked us, we’d be rich! As homeschooling parents, we can continue the wonder, even as our children get older. STEM activities offer an environment that fosters problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and real-world applications.

Here are a few ways we can cultivate a curiosity-driven approach to STEM learning in our children:

  1. READ, READ, READ! When we have babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, keep engaging books around for them to explore and for you to read with them. Books feed their curiosity, opening doors to so many topics kids don’t necessarily see in their daily lives.
  2. PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! With toddlers and preschoolers keep open ended toys for children to play with like blocks, Legos, mini kitchens, and tool benches. With open-ended toys children are free to follow their curiosity, exploring how things work together in their own time, with their own thoughts and ideas leading them.
  3. EXPLORE, EXPLORE, EXPLORE! With preschoolers and early elementary age children offer up opportunities to explore with “sciency” things. Kitchen Science books are a great resource for fun and easy experiments you can do with your children at home. Having simple STEM activities always at the ready allows you to easily offer younger children a chance to explore how things in the world around them work.

If you aren’t confident in your own STEM skills, I highly recommend looking for fun kits for your children as they get older. (weather, robots, magnets, star gazing, rocks, etc.) This will allow them to continue independently exploring more in-depth concepts.

-Heidi from Starts at Eight


Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for parents to take an active role in their child’s education and tailor learning experiences to meet individual needs. By following these tips and integrating online coding classes into your curriculum, you can provide a well-rounded education that prepares your child for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.


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