SummaryPatricia Purcell has moved twice – while homeschooling. Her 6 tips cover all the basics – and the little important things you’d probably forget!
For some families, moving hits out of the blue; for others it is the culmination of a long-held dream. No matter how it happens, when children are involved it’s much more complicated.
As if moving with children wasn’t difficult enough, moving while homeschooling can cause even the calmest parents to tear their hair and wonder how possibly to get everything done.
My family has moved twice with children, and while it was stressful at the time, now we all feel that relocating was a good thing for our family. For those who have relocation in their future, here are a few tips to help you make the transition to your new home easier.
1. Prepare to Move While Homeschooling
Help your children to get excited about the new house. Even before moving, let them begin planning what color to paint their new rooms, or research homeschooling activities in the new area. Other things to consider:
- Homeschooling Regulations. Though homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, state laws on reporting and testing can vary greatly. Be sure to investigate the laws in your new state before you move.
- Homeschool Groups. Also try to locate and join online homeschooling groups in your new area before the move. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice about homeschool-friendly school districts, and hotspots for homeschooling activities. Be sure to fully consider both when house-hunting in your new area. Doing this helped my family to find a home central to local homeschooling activities.
2. Say Goodbye to Your Old Home
For children, the move may not seem real until it is time to say goodbye to your old house. Understand that they may have mixed feelings about the move.
Try to ease the pain of loss by preparing them ahead of time. Homeschooling can offer an advantage here in giving you time to say goodbye.
- Pack Up. Trying to keep a house ready for show with children underfoot is almost impossible. Make the job easier by packing away what you can. Box up toys, schoolbooks that you’re not currently using, art projects, and anything else that the kids can live without short term. Leave just enough out to get you through until the move is complete.
- Schedule Play Dates. Give your children time to say goodbye to special friends. Make sure to update your contact information so that the kids can keep in touch.
- Visit Special Places. Make a final tour of any favorite playgrounds, libraries, churches, or other special places about town. Remember to take plenty of pictures.
- Take a Break. Once the movers come, your attention is not going to be on teaching lessons. Allow the kids to have a break from school. They can get outside while you deal with the movers.
3. Settle In to Your New Home
Obviously, it’s important to unpack the kitchen and bedrooms first, but also set up the schoolroom or study area without delay. Extend your school break a few more days while you unpack boxes, but set a clear date for back-to-school. The sooner the kids get back to their normal routine, the more quickly they’ll feel at home.
My family chose to end our break on the same day that my husband reported to his new office.
Try not to neglect family traditions while you’re in the midst of your move. Children depend on these to feel settled. I once dug my cake pans out of a moving box in order to bake a birthday cake (which we had to eat standing up).
As crazy as it seemed at the time, it’s a warm family memory now.
4. Find New Social Groups
These days, thanks to social media, it’s easy to connect with other homeschoolers wherever you live. However, it may take a bit of trial and error to find the right group.
- Homeschooling Activities and Clubs. Many clubs will allow prospective members to attend a meeting without cost to check it out. Be discerning; if it doesn’t feel like a fit for your family, look elsewhere.
- Co-ops. Depending on the timing of your move it may be too late in the year for your family to join a co-op. You may still want to visit one to see if you are interested in joining for the next school-year.
5. Meet Your New Neighbors
If you’re lucky, the neighbors will arrive at your door with a home baked treat to welcome your family to the neighborhood. If not, make the effort to go over and make the introductions.
- Homeschoolers? It’s very possible that your family will be the first homeschoolers that the neighbors have met. Explaining your educational method up front can go a long way toward reducing raised eyebrows at your children playing outside during school hours.
- Neighbor Children. There may be other children in the neighborhood for your own kids to play with. Just be sure to set limits right away. Sometimes days off from public school do not coincide with days off from your homeschool (especially if you’re trying to make up time lost to the move). Let the neighbor kids know not to ring your doorbell during school hours. If necessary hang a discreet sign next to your door indicating whether or not your children are available to play.
6. Remember the Big Picture
As stressful as a move can be, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it. It is probably going to benefit your family in some way. It may seem endless, but someday the last box will be unpacked, the curtains hung, and the furniture put in place.
Try to imagine the not too distant future, when you know your way around town and you and the kids have new friends that you’re getting to know. Moving while homeschooling is not easy, but rest assured, someday you will wake up in your new house and finally feel at home.
Have you ever moved while homeschooling?
Header photo © archideaphoto / Dollar Photo Club