You’ve made the big decisions and the kids have been pulled from school. The curriculum has been purchased and you’re weeks away from your first go at homeschooling.
This is where things get real.
Now feels like the perfect time for a freak-out, right?
Believe me, it doesn’t have to be.
I did the freaking out a few weeks before we started kindergarten and even again before we started first grade (we were having a baby in a matter of DAYS!), but I’m walking into second grade in a much more settled place, confident we’ve got this as a family.
And even if we don’t, I know we will soon.
I’d love to extend a bit of that confidence to you.
What follows is my best advice for first-time homeschoolers to help take a bit of the edge off in those final days before your first school year at home.
Practical Advice for First-Time Homeschoolers
 Stop looking at the curriculum.
If you’ve already selected the curriculum, trust that you’ve done your homework well. Outside of a final cursory glance for the purposes of plotting out your working school calendar, focus on your first week of lessons and then put the books away to enjoy your summer.
An entire year of schooling is not learned in one day. The same is true of the teaching. If you look too far ahead you will become overwhelmed. Believe me when I say this is the last thing you need right now.
 Hold your plans loosely.
I have often said the only thing certain about life is change, and the same is true of home education. Your perfect world scenario may include a beautiful well-kept homeschool room in which learning occurs in a linear fashion from subject A, to subject B, to subject C. Your real world scenario is likely going to look a lot more chaotic with a lot more learning happening in the stolen moments of your day.
But this is the beauty of homeschool. It’s flexible. It’s adaptable and fully customizable to your family’s needs. So go with the flow. Hold your plans loosely – your schedule, curriculum, and methodology – and understand that while change is inevitable, it can also be a really good thing.
 Take time to focus on you.
Homeschool should not become your only thing, absorbing your identity into its sometimes overbearing demands. Yes, homeschooling is about your child – their educational needs, goals, and abilities – and it does take time (sometimes a lot of time) to discover what those are and how you can best meet them. But it is equally as important as their teacher, that your life exists beyond the demands of the homeschool classroom.
Continue to develop the talents, interests, and friendships you had before you became a homeschool parent. Invest in yourself as a person and a parent, and then as a teacher. The best you to be brought to the homeschool classroom is a version of you that is aware of your own needs, operating in your gifts, and emotionally and spiritually recharged.
No one gets far on an empty tank of gas. True for life. True for homeschool.
 You CAN do this.
Homeschooling is a personal choice, and yet there will be a cacophony of voices telling you this won’t work. Especially in those weeks before you actually start. Do everything to tune those voices out – even if one happens to sound a lot like your own.
You are capable. You are qualified. You are equipped and called and able to do this thing God’s given you to do. You will not ruin your children.
Yes, it will be difficult – but you can do hard things.
Yes, you will make mistakes – but you can learn from them and grow.
Yes, you will feel overwhelmed – but it’s okay to ask for help.
Don’t for a minute think you can’t do this, because friend –
You absolutely can.
You may even do it really well.
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