The Newbie Homeschoolers’ Starter Kit

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Oh heyyyyyy! Where my newbie homeschoolers at? Can I get a “Heck yea!” for Covid homeschooling?

Now I know I’m not homeschooling alone, based on a VTDigger article that stated that Vermont home study enrollments were at 1634 on July 15 as compared to 932 on the same date the previous year. That’s a lot of new homeschool families for our little state. So, where are you all hanging out (virtually, of course)? What are you all reading? Listening to? Let’s help each other out here.

mother with two young boys, homeschooling in front of a computer in the kitchen.

As newbie homeschoolers, I know that all of the info can be overwhelming, intimidating, time-consuming, mind-numbing… should I keep going, or nah? There’s a lot of homeschooling-specific info to comb through and it’s exhausting.

Instead of giving you a giant list of 50+ resources I’ve found and used, I decided to break things down into three categories and then give you the top two resources I’ve come across in each category. This should be a pretty easy read for you – nothing too heavy, nothing too long. Here we go…

2 Books to Read:

These two books were the first ones I grabbed when we decided to homeschool. All I can say is LIFE CHANGING. Seriously.

newbie homeschooler mom reading a book on a blue chair

5 Hour School Week by Aaron and Kaleena Amuchastegui

If you are practical-minded, go on and give this a read. It’s simple, conversational, and actionable. Not kidding, even the type is fairly large which was great for those dog days of quarantine when I felt like my brain was going to fall out of my head.

I’d read an article years ago that had made me question whether or not modern public schools were really preparing our kids for the future they’re likely to have. This book reinforced everything I’d taken away from that article and more. I now more clearly see how much my kids can get from me and shorter, structured interactions that I can provide doing homeschooling, versus spending 8 AM-3 PM in school five days a week.

This book also gave me permission (which I very much needed in the beginning) not to feel like I had to recreate a public school day in my home. Free play alllllll the way! I’m loving seeing what my kids come up with on their own without adult intervention.

The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment

This book is simply gorgeous. If you read only one book about homeschooling – I’d suggest this one. It is all-encompassing and literally has everything you need to know as a first time homeschooler. The author eases you in with personal stories and relatable accounts, lays out the most popular styles of homeschooling, goes over arguments against homeschooling with rebuttals, and winds things down with the Wild + Free philosophy.

I cannot praise this book enough. I don’t usually buy hardback books, because, well I’m cheap, but I’m so glad I have this in hardback! I feel like it’s a resource I’ll come back to for years.

2 Podcasts to Listen To:

I would not survive without podcasts. These two are in regular rotation on my earbuds.

The Homeschool CEO Podcast

As a homeschooling mom who also runs her own business from home, this podcast hits on everything I’m looking for most days for support and inspiration (well, it doesn’t touch on celeb gossip and true crime, so not everything – but most things.)

The interviews are extremely helpful and I always find at least one nugget of wisdom, some inspiration, and usually a book to add to that list of books I’ll probably never get to reading.

newbie homeschooler mom folds laundry while she listens to a podcast

Homeschool Your Way

This podcast is put out by the big box curriculum we bought into this year, but it is not at all just a long advert for their products (which TBH is what I expected). They put out weekly episodes that are just right in length and feature a hosting duo that is fun and friendly.

I like that the topics are common and simple – perfect for a first time homeschooler. I don’t feel like anything is over my head or like I’m not there yet.

Bonus: not to be redundant, but…
I’m also loving the Wild + Free podcast.

2 Communities for Support:

If you’re looking for me on Facebook, you’ll find me chatting in these groups.

Not Your Typical Homeschool Hangout

This group is run by a pair of Vermont homeschooling moms and is chock full of resources and support. They are great at community-building and super consistent with engaging posts and useful content.

Lonely Mom’s Club

This group is not specifically for homeschooling moms, but I think we all know that homeschooling can be quite lonely for moms – especially in these Covid times. No small talk with other moms at pick up and drop off, no co-op meetups, etc.

The purpose of the group is to connect to one another through humor, support, and resources. If you’re a lonely homeschooling mom or just a lonely mom in general – go on and join.

Bonus: again, not to be redundant, but…
I am in LOVE with the Homeschool CEO Community, too

Now, if you’re not newbie homeschoolers and you’ve been at this for a while, I’m guessing you’ve noticed the glaring omission in this post – where is Brave Writer, by Julie Bogart? All I can say is, I’m sorry, I tried and I can’t get on board with the book or the podcast. Bye, Karen. Now, please don’t cancel me. I’m a lonely homeschooling mom and I need friends!

Are you newbie homeschoolers this year or are you a homeschooling veteran? I’d love to know your favorite books, podcasts, and communities where you find inspiration and support. Pop your suggestions down in the comments!

The Newbie Homeschoolers Starter Kit

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Julie McNulty
Julie and her husband, Mike, were both born and raised in Southern New Jersey, but recently relocated to Vermont. Though new to the Green Mountain State, it already feels like home and they love the swimming, hiking, and skiing. Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Theology. She spent the past ten years working with kids and teens but, these days, she's a part-time work from home/full-time homeschooling mom to her crazy boys, Luke- 7 and Liam- 6. Julie enjoys reading big books, writing witty blog posts, cooking new recipes, indulging in celebrity gossip, watching trashy reality TV, and doing anything outdoors with her kids and husband. You can follow her adventures on Instagram, @ur_basic_mom instead, and you can check out her content strategy and marketing business, Writes Well with Others.

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