Preparing Your Homeschooler: Tips for the Next Educational Phase

By: Beverly Matoney | The Homeschoool Copywriter

We’ve talked about packing up your homeschool and moving to a new state. What if you’re just moving to a new city within your state, or even just a new home in a nearby community?

Of course, moving is stressful enough, no matter how far your belongings must be relocated. Staying within your current state takes some of the pressure off learning new regulations and laws for homeschooling, but moving any distance takes some preparation.

There are many reasons for moving house including financial, career related, family changes, or simply the desire to live a different lifestyle. When school-age children are included in the mix, sometimes challenges arise. Let’s talk more about making transitions smoother for homeschool families.

When you realize the need to relocate your home and your homeschool, take some time to discuss the major change with your children. Ease the anxiety of the transition by asking them to participate in some of the decisions, researching your intended new area, and choosing what belongings they’re willing to declutter as you pack.

Keep as many homeschool routines active as possible during the transition. It’s a good idea to pack your current educational materials last so you can easily access them as you wrap your other possessions in paper and boxes.

To help ensure their academic progress isn’t disrupted by a move, focus as much as you can on core academic subjects like math, language arts, science, and history. Even an abbreviated school day will aid in educational continuity.

Recognize overwhelm and burnout, and as your schedule allows, leave the house for a refreshing outing. If you’re involved in a very stressful move, just taking some time out to breathe and center can help you and your kids regroup for the next stage of your transition.

Once you’re in your new community, how can you help your children adjust?

One of the most important things is to help your kids make new friends as quickly as possible. Reach out to the local homeschool groups, co-ops, and meetups to set up playdates, field trips, and other social activities where your children can meet potential new friends.

Attend these events with your kids and introduce them to other children. Providing a supportive presence can make it easier for them to feel comfortable and more apt to open up.

Take a couple of weeks as you unpack and settle in to explore your new surroundings. You can turn these excursions into hands-on learning experiences which gives your children time to slowly adjust to your new hometown.

Need some ideas? How about field trips to local parks, museums, or other points of interest. Visit your new library and local bookstores to discover new resources. Ask your local homeschool group for a list of awesome places to go.

If your children are older during this move, now may be a good time to encourage more independence and self-advocacy skills. They can research community resources and take the initiative to introduce themselves to new peers, join clubs, and participate in homeschool activities.

To give them confidence, role-play conversation starters, give them some tips for making new friends, and offer coaching on how to find and get involved with other homeschool families and groups.

For shy kids and introverts, long silences or having to initiate conversations can be incredibly daunting. Teach them a few handy prompts and cues to help keep the dialog flowing.

  • Encourage them to ask open-ended questions that require more than a one-word answer.
  • Suggest talking about shared interests or activities.
  • Model active listening skills like nodding, making eye contact, and follow-up questions.

For some children on the spectrum, these skills may be difficult to master, but practice and managing their expectations will definitely help.

Throughout the adjustment process, make sure to have frequent conversations with your children about how they’re feeling. Listen attentively and validate any concerns or struggles they express.

You can also do periodic check-ins by asking specific questions like these:

  • What’s been the easiest part of making new friends so far?
  • What’s been the hardest?
  • What kinds of activities would you like to try so you can meet more homeschoolers?
  • Is there anything we can do as a family to help you feel more comfortable and confident?

This ongoing communication and support can go a long way in helping your children successfully transition to a new environment.

Even if you’re ready to dive into your new homeschool community, your children may not be. It’s best to begin with low-pressure situations to allow for gentle adjustment, especially for kids who are shy or introverted.

  • Choose smaller homeschool group activities for a while, then move into large co-op events.
  • Pick one-on-one playdates or hangouts before going to big group activities.
  • Talk to peers via online homeschool forums or messaging apps to ease the transition into in-person situations.

Remember, you’re not trying to meet everyone in your new community at once. Emphasize quality friendships over a quantity of superficial acquaintances.

Help your children identify similar interests or personality traits they share with potential friends. Guide them in cultivating these deeper bonds rather than feeling pressure to make as many friends as possible.

What happens when you are overwhelmed by the move? You certainly don’t want your children’s academic progress to suffer, but sometimes, you simply have to take a break.

Breaks are fine, and the flexibility of homeschooling definitely allows for unscheduled time off. But if you find yourself overcome by stress, rest assured there are options.

Here are a few ways you can supplement your children’s learning to give yourself a much-needed respite:

  • Enroll them in online classes or local tutoring sessions to fill in any gaps.
  • Utilize homeschool co-ops, enrichment programs, or extracurricular activities to support core academics.
  • Incorporate more hands-on projects and real-world learning experiences to keep their minds sharp.

Celebrate small victories as you relocate your homeschool life. Keep a list of things that go right, so on tough days, you can remember not everything was dreadful during your move.

Reward yourself and your family with a small treat, a surprise activity, or just an evening off from the stress of moving and reestablishing your home.

When you’ve found your center again, and your boxes are unpacked, and you all have settled into an agreeable routine, reactivate your homeschool adventure.

You’ve done the hard part. Now it’s time to enjoy your new home and your new community as you continue your journey as a home educator.

About the Author: Beverly Matoney

Beverly Matoney is a wife, mother to two wonderful adult children, and writer living in northeast Georgia. She began her career in sales and marketing, but eventually opted for the stay-at-home life. When her oldest child was three, she and her husband decided homeschool was the best path for their family. That was way back in the early 90s when homeschool was just beginning to gain steam as an education alternative. But what an adventure it was!

Fast forward 20+ years, and their children have grown, graduated from homeschool, gone to college, and started their own lives. What’s a former home educator to do? She follows another dream she had of being a writer.