It’s time for our final installment of our Back-to-School series! Back in June we asked our Facebook VIPs what questions they had for our experts. We used those questions in our interviews.
Today, we’re connecting with Leah Norris, a home educator and content creator. She shared her background and experience with home schooling, challenges, and favorite resources. Read on to learn more about Leah and her advice:
Tell us about yourself. What led you to the decision to put your kids in home education?
I’m a stay at home mom to four beautiful girls, ages ranging from two months to six years. I had always wanted two things in life: to be a mom, and to be a teacher. When it came time to consider putting our oldest in preschool, I decided to combine both of my dreams and be her teacher myself. We ultimately decided we would continue with homeschooling when we saw how much she was thriving at home with her mom and siblings, and saw the same trend with my second daughter when she started preschool at home too. For us, being able to tailor education to our daughters’ needs and abilities is extremely important, and we felt that was easiest to do at home!
What are some of the challenges you faced when you started home education?
The biggest challenge was, and still is, time management! Our first year was a bit easier as my two oldest were doing the same preschool curriculum, but last year when my oldest started kindergarten, I had to find a way to effectively split the day up to do two different curriculums, while also taking care of my toddler! Another challenge is definitely that internal “am I doing enough?” battle we all face as parents or caregivers. I like to remind myself I was my child’s first teacher and I am their best teacher, and learning is constantly happening regardless of following a curriculum.
Can you offer some tips on transitioning from summer to home education for the first time?
A lot of homeschooling families choose to do year round schooling which can help avoid that potential tricky transition. However, we currently follow a traditional school schedule. We don’t use formal curriculum over the summer, but to avoid a tough transition, I let my kids pick out a summer “bridge” workbook and we complete two pages a day. It keeps their skills sharp, and there’s no shock factor when it’s time to begin our formal curriculum again! I also include them in purchasing curriculum, looking through our books for the
upcoming year, and setting up our planners.
What are ways you set your kids up for success for the new school year?
I like to give them a short but thorough overview of their year and then we discuss what their own personal goals are. I also remind them to be open with Mommy, and if there’s a day they aren’t feeling well or if they just need to take a break, that’s okay! I think it helps alleviate any nerves they may have over new
What traditions do you have to celebrate the end of summer before the school year starts?
It’s more of an all summer thing for us, but we do “ABC’s of Summer” and try to complete them before the school year begins. We pick a summer activity for each letter of the alphabet and then choose a letter at random each week/weekend! The night before our first day, we enjoy ice cream sundaes and we go to sleep in our Little Sleepies Alphabet Friends print…and then spend the first day in our jammies too. That’s part of the joy of homeschooling!
What are some of your favorite resources that we can share with our community about home education?
Facebook groups are amazing for all things homeschool. You can search your specific curriculum and join those groups, or you can choose to join a broader concept group based on grade level or secular vs. non-secular, or both! I also always suggest reading some homeschool books, such as The Call Of The Wild And Free by Ainsley Arment, especially if you’re on the fence and need that extra push! Your local library will likely be a great resource as well, as many have meet ups during the week for homeschoolers, or at the very least they can point you in the direction of co-ops you can join and meet other homeschooling families.
Big thanks to Leah for taking the time to chat with us! We loved learning about how she’s teaching her littles. Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram at @leeaahhhh. We hope you enjoyed our Back-to-School series and can’t wait to see your littles get back into their routines this Fall!