First Day of Homeschooling: What to Expect
Does the thought of your approaching first day of homeschooling make you feel physically ill?
When I decided to pull my oldest kid out of public school after kindergarten over three years ago, I was so surprised what a positive response I received from friends and family.
I was constantly told what a brave, devoted, and loving mother I was to choose homeschooling for my children.
And yet I hadn’t done anything yet.
It felt like I had announced that I was going to run a marathon and everyone thought it was awesome…even though I had not taken a single step yet.
The thought of the ever-approaching first day of homeschool made me want to slow down time and hide in my closet.
What if it was awful?
What if my kid hated it?
My background is in ER nursing – not teaching. What if I don’t know what to do?
What if I fell right on my face and had to tell everyone I failed?
I was so nervous and unsure of myself that I decided to start in July so that I would have time to admit failure and enroll my daughter in school without her being behind.
It was intense.
So What Happened on The First Day of Our Homeschool?
July 17th, 2016 finally arrived.
I set my alarm to wake up super early – just in case – and I remember feeling nauseous with nerves when my feet hit the floor.
I just didn’t know what to expect and I was imagining the worst.
How long was this going to take?
What would my kid think about all of this school at home stuff after being in public school?
How would my 1 and 3 year old react to this change?
Blessedly, it was not even close to as bad as I was expecting. But it definitely wasn’t perfect.
If you are teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown while you wait for your first day of homeschooling to start – let me hand you a brown paper bag to breathe into and pull back the curtain a little bit.
I can’t promise you that this will be your exact experience, but I can tell you that there are three possibilities of how your day will go.
It will likely be a mix of all three actually – and you will survive it!
What to Expect Your Very First Day of Homeschooling
1. Total Underwhelm
Yep, this is a (very likely) scenario.
And this is how I mostly felt on my first day.
I actually went through my curriculum twice to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
How could we already be done after only a couple hours??
These are a few reasons I think most homeschool moms experience underwhelm:
- The large majority of curriculum starts out very gently with review items. The first day is not likely going to be brand new material that the student has never seen before.
- Each day of school, only tiny steps are taken to teach new material. I had no teaching experience, so I didn’t understand how incremental every day was going to be.
- Homeschooling is similar to one on one tutoring and it takes much less time to accomplish than traditional school (especially with no busy work or homework).
So if you are in the ceiling about the first day of homeschooling, there is a huge chance that you are going to be underwhelmed. Homeschooling will likely not be as challenging as you are imagining in your mind.
The intensity will build as the year progresses, but you and your children will adjust to the slow changes.
2. Educational Honeymoon
My child was learning and begging for more.
I was reading aloud more than I ever had and my kids loved it.
There were fun science experiments outside.
I felt so much closer to my little 1st grader and our whole family dynamic was changing.
I kept thinking, “Why didn’t we start homeschooling sooner?!?”
I have talked to several moms with similar experiences.
Your first day of homeschooling may just sweep you right into the honeymoon phase too!
If this sounds too good to hope for, let me tell you why this phenomenon occurs:
- Your family has a daily shared experience. There is so much more to talk about now that you are all learning together.
- Homeschool, by design, is so much more interactive and engaging than traditional school. Your child will not be seated in a desk, having to raise his hand to be heard. He will be having a conversation with you as he learns new concepts.
- Breaks can be taken as needed to decrease overwhelm and grumpiness (for you and your kids).
- If your child expresses interest in an area – you can spend more time on that and really see your child’s love of learning blossom.
- School being shorter leaves much more time for playing – something my children loved!
I am sure there are many more reasons, but those are the ones I found in our homeschool.
My daughter even asked if we could bring her schoolwork to Grandma’s house over Christmas break because she enjoyed it so much.
This is the same kid who came home from public school the year before saying reading was “boring” and refused to do her kindergarten homework.
Homeschooling was a complete change.
3. Total Overwhelm
I know this is your worst case scenario, and what keeps you up at night.
It is possible, that you will feel frazzled on your first day of homeschooling.
Your children may not cooperate.
Your house might be messier than usual.
You may find yourself running for school supplies your forgot to pull out.
Your toddler may be extra clingy for attention.
It is important to remember that all of those things are normal as your family adjusts to a new routine and finds balance.
Nobody – and I mean exactly zero people – started out with perfect homeschools, so you’re in great company!
With time, things will fall into a rhythm. Your will find your groove, but it will take time.
4. All of the Above
Yes, it is possible to experience a swirl of all three.
In fact, I think most homeschool parents would admit to feeling a little of everything on their first day.
I was underwhelmed with the actual school part. I was overwhelmed with dealing with my toddlers. And I was falling in love with learning with my kids.
It turned out to be everything.
And nothing like the nightmare I had been envisioning.
What About Your First Day of Homeschooling?
Are you starting to put down the brown paper bag?
Feeling a little more relaxed?
I hope so!
The truth is, you are never going to know until you take the leap and just do it.
Once you’re in the thick of it, you’ll see why homeschooling rates are exploding!
It is possible to homeschool your kids well.
You can do it, Mama!
Do not let your fear hold you back from homeschooling.
If someone like me can still be going strong after 3 years – the sky is the limit for you!
Still Want a Boost for that First Day?
I stumbled around in the dark while I was trying to prepare for that elusive first day. I was just hoping and praying that I had all my ducks in a row and everything would work out okay.
You don’t have to!
I created a free checklist with everything I wish someone would have told me.
It is guaranteed to help you feel prepared and confident on day one of your homeschool!
Click the link below to read more and get your free printable checklist!