Rubbish Advice for New Home Schoolers Fresh from School

Rubbish advice for new homeschoolers

There is a lot of terrible advice for new home schoolers who find themselves unexpectedly homeschooling.

Many parents of tweens and teens are pulling their kids out of school because their children are having some sort of trouble. Their motivation for bringing them home is their kids hate school and the parents are worried there will be permanent damage to their child’s psyche. Some parents even see homeschooling as suicide prevention.

If that is you, then you’ve probably gone beyond caring about the academics and grades that your child is achieving, you just want your child out of a toxic environment.

So here you are with a child at home (who often has quite a bit of emotional baggage that’s been generated from the previous school experience) and then you think, “Oh no! What do I do now?”

Traditional school has for the most part been your only experience of education and changing to homeschooling is a culture shock.

You may have removed the primary stressor of school trauma but now you need to fill the gap.

An abundance of terrible advice for new home schoolers is out there. Unfortunately, it is hard to discern the good from the bad. Here are some common “good in theory” but “terrible in practice” advice that you’ll see.

Rubbish Tip: Leave Them Alone

You may have done an emergency evacuation from school for your child and you NEVER intended (or wanted) to homeschool. You may work full time, run a business or just have a routine that doesn’t involve being your child’s teacher. So you are told to try to set up a system where your child “takes responsibility” for their education, aka does it all on their own, so you can maintain your previous routine.

Whilst the “work on your own” is a hopeful goal, it seldom works because children get lonely or they lack motivation.  Your child has lost their teacher and peer group (as toxic as that may have been) and their social structure has fallen apart. Being home on their own or left to their own devices with no input can even make them think about going back to school just for the stimulation.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Find Social Structure

Children will still need company when they homeschool even if you aren’t directly helping them with their lessons.

Your child will still want a social outlet, and I don’t mean an online one. Help them start or rebuild friendships. Spend time with your child doing fun things. Get to know your child better. You often find that many of their friendship needs can be filled as they get closer to you again. Sibling relationships can grow stronger as well. Help your child find new places to meet people.

Local homeschool groups can be a rich outlet but it can take a while to get to know the other families. I know a socially traumatised child will find it hard but make an effort to find a good fit for them.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Do Get Counselling

“She’ll be right mate!”

I think Australian’s like the self-help method of working things out. However, counselling can bring a new perspective to your situation.  Seek experienced advice and help your child find their way back to emotional health.

Rubbish Tip: Replace School with Workbooks Alone

I must admit I do cringe when I see this piece of the online advice for new home schoolers. It goes something like this – all you need to do to educate your child is buy some Excel workbooks for your child’s grade and get a subscription to an online program like Skwirk and then you’ll be right. Just to repeat, I’m cringing even writing it.

So, the parent grabs a whole lot of quickly chosen workbooks and presents them to the child. However, they seem surprised that their child, whilst relieved not to be in the daily trauma of school, seems dissatisfied with the new schoolwork option (which is much more boring than school).

Education isn’t just ticking a box of curriculum outcomes or keeping the kid’s busy while the parent’s get on with their own agenda.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Learn About Homeschooling

If you never wanted to homeschool, the thought of having to work out what to do is not just overwhelming, it’s annoying. You’ve probably tried many avenues to solve your child’s issues and this was probably the last resort. You may feel totally unqualified to teach and worried you will fail. You may feel like you are missing out, however whilst there are disadvantages to homeschool there are many benefits. 

When you homeschool you are now your child’s main educator and mentor.  Learn about homeschool methods and learn what makes your child tick.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Open Opportunities For Your Child & Get Outside

“I went outside once, and the graphics were terrible.” Online gamer’s meme.

Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity and there are so many learning possibilities that can be found outside the home that were not available to them when they were at school.

Take advantage of them:

  • Visit museums and art gallery
  • Go to the theatre with a school discount
  • Take art classes
  • Go the beach or a bush walk
  • Take them out for a morning tea treat
  • Spend a day with grandparents
  • Have some friends over for a poetry recital.

Rubbish Tip : Forget About Education & Choose Entertainment

On Facebook I often read a newbie parent declaring they just can’t get their child to do school work.

Another homeschooler might recommend unschooling, which is a noble theory when properly implemented, but some apply this to mean just let them entertain themselves then you won’t be disappointed. They advise anything goes, abandon structured learning and leave kids to sort it out their own education. Suppress mother guilt.

Really! Does that sit right with you!

Note: If you are interested in unschooling there is a great deal of philosophy behind making this homeschool method work successfully.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Deschool

It can take a while to settle into homeschooling before your child starts to thrive. When they first come home they may be super keen to do their work and then a month later your child seems to lose all enthusiasm and you feel like all hope is lost and that homeschooling won’t work. This is often part of the deschooling process. Be patient and let them ‘wind down’ and recapture their will to learn.

Deschooling refers to the period of time it takes a child recently removed from school to get used to the unstructured environment of homeschooling. During this period the child learns to relax and recapture their love for learning. It is often suggested a child may take one month per school year to deschool (eg. 3 years in school = 3 months to deschool). It is a mindset shift for a child (and the new homeschooling parent). A helpful analogy may be the feeling that you have when you first begin a long holiday after a long period of work. It usually takes a while to wind down before you are refreshed.

A child who has been spoon fed their education up until now can find it difficult to know what to do without being organised by someone else and electronic entertainment is an easy option. Whilst this may be a part of their deschooling, I encourage you to help your child look for other natural learning opportunities. You want to start establishing new educational habits so try to set up a boundary with edutainment early. Reading books, getting out in nature, learning how to cook, doing some exercise, starting a project like making over their bedroom, are all productive activities.

Here is a helpful explanation video on deschooling.

Rubbish Tip Four: Expect A Quick Fix

“If it doesn’t work I’ll send them back to school,” says the newbie dad who has put a time frame on the whole homeschooling experiment.

Mistakenly, a newbie sees their struggles in the early days as confirmation that homeschooling is failing. And when the form of education that they have used as a substitute for school begins to falter they are left wondering what to do. Panic sets in.

Whilst “back to school” may be a solution, there are also some strategies that will help you reconstruct a new paradigm.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Build A New Routine

When you remove the structure of school you need to replace it with a new one.

Good Advice for New Home Schoolers: Make Your Home A Learning Centre

A child at home still needs to be educated. And when you homeschool you can unlock wonder and discover the beauty of education.  But it takes time to find your groove.

Respect your child’s need for an exciting and stimulating education.

Make home, a place where there is treasure within. Nourish your child’s mind, soul and body. Partner with your child to make learning an adventure. Enjoy the journey.

That’s good advice for new home schoolers.

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  1. Ashley Wright  May 25, 2018

    Hi, I am Ashley Wright, mother of two, I have been homeschooling my children for two years. When I started homeschooling my children, it was just disaster in the start. Then some of my friends have helped me in keeping my spirit up in fighting with the difficulties which I was going through. And some blogs have helped me in encouraging myself and getting new methods in homeschooling my children.
    Now I feel that it was the best option which I adopted that time as my children are doing best in their curriculum and the best thing is that they are enjoying it.
    Now my elder son has started homeschooling from an online homeschooling site and he is doing his best in it.

  2. Vanessa  May 19, 2018

    I really appreciate this article, Michelle. I am “getting ready to homeschool” and have given myself up to six months to research and consider a lifestyle for our whole family that will support the homeschooling of our youngest child, who is currently 14. I feel confident it will be a success for our daughter. Especially if I can grapple with philosophies and understanding how she learns BEFORE we leap into the “unknown” (less unknown, hopefully, due to pre-jump planning). Thanks for ALL your amazing articles and information – I look forward to my “homeschool” study time, because your writings are genuinely honest.

  3. Kiah  March 17, 2018

    Great post. This is our 1st year homeschooling our 3 children – our eldest is in year 8. If we were to deschool that would mean about 8 months. As we’re in NSW I can’t see how we could manage that and still meet the syllabus outcomes.
    I’m currently looking into the Charlotte Mason method of teaching and hoping we can implement that.

    • Michelle  March 19, 2018

      There are ways that you can deschool even though you are still registering. Charlotte Mason’s Methods are great for deschooling because you read lots of living books. You can also read them aloud as a family. Sometimes we spent 1.5 hours reading. Going on nature walks and art/museum gallery visits are all a part of this method.

      Deschooling is not doing nothing. I believe it’s really about adjusting the mindset from traditional schooling and helping you and your children learn to think out of the box. 8 months seems ages but you will find children do take quite a long time to readjust to a new way of learning after 8 years of traditional schooling. Moving from a regulated system to a freer method can seem scary but in the end it pays off.

      Your registration plan that you use one year is not connected to your next year. Use your first year to find your groove. Don’t worry so much about the rego plan that you submit. See it as a guideline not something that needs to be adhered to strictly. Your next registration will be quite different from your first and your APs expect that.

      You’re the one who is interacting with your children and you get to assess on a day to day basis. You’re attitude and mindset can help your children through this time and make it a wonderful time of renewing everyone’s passion for learning , including yours.

      Have a great year.

      • Kiah  April 4, 2018

        Thanks so much Michelle.
        Yes, you’re right – I really need to change my mindset when it comes to the way we learn. I’m just so used to text books and exams!

  4. Margaret Taylor  February 25, 2018

    Great advice Michelle! Convenient or convenience education has its place but not for a child experiencing a whole new educational paradigm and needing to establish a new family and personal culture. You have hit the nail on the head here.

    • MR Morrow  March 8, 2018

      Thanks Margaret.

  5. Heidi White  February 22, 2018

    The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias is a very helpful book about people’s different learning styles and preferred learning environment, methods, etc. I would highly recommend it to all parents, especially homeschoolers. It is terrific for supporting family relationships as it helps you to understand and accept the way your children are (and how they are different from you). I believe it is helpful even when (or maybe especially when) there are learning difficulties, perceived or otherwise.

  6. Melanie robinson  February 22, 2018

    I so wish I’d seen this when I pulled my traumatised 9yr old out of school.

    We didn’t deschool, I bought the books, I tried to mimic school at home and for 4 months it was hell. A complete disaster.

    I’ve since deschooled (for 6 months) during that time we found a homeschool group, he had made some awesome new friends, we went places and had a lot of family time, we did therapy, kinesiology, chiropractic care, naturopathy and anxiety therapy and only just now, nearly a year along we’re able to do mix of book study, online study, hands on concrete learning and life experiences.

    • Michelle  February 22, 2018

      Thanks for telling your story Melanie.

  7. Carol  February 22, 2018

    Good thoughts& advice, Michelle!


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