1. Have a deschooling period. The most valueable thing you can do to start off on the 'right foot' to to allow your child a period of time to decompress. Trying to jump right into a full schedule right away can backfire into burn-out and frustration.
2. Learn your teaching style. Pick up this book from your bookstore or local library:
Cathy Duffy gives numerous check lists to help you evaluate what your teaching style is and what knowledge and skills.you want your student to walk away with.
3. Learn your student's learning style. Believe me, nothing is worse than investing in curriculum that is pure torture for your child to comprehend or one they simply do not enjoy. It's a proven fact that kids retain more of what they learn if they are engaged in what they are studying.
4. DO NOT think you have to subscribe to every club, method, curriculum, field trip, group, activity! Again...take it slowly. Maybe pick one extra-curricular activity and allow plenty of breathing room. Nothing is more defeating than taking on too much and realizing you can't (or don't want to) keep it up. Believe me, even in the homeschooling world there are pressures abound...to join this group or that class. Learn to say 'no' to the good stuff so you can save time for the BEST stuff!
5. Find a homeschool group or co-op. I know, I just contradicted #4. But a homeschool group, even if it is just a group of homeschooling moms that casually meet once a month at the park, is a great resource. They are a wonderful place to air out your doubts, fears, concerns, successes.
6. This is something I do all the time...ASK your child what they enjoy about school and what they hate about school. Now, if they hate math, well, there's nothing you can do about that. We all have to learn math! BUT if you can find a program or teaching method they prefer...why not?
7. If something isn't working...dump it. That goes for curriculum, activities, etc.
8. Allow time for your child to pursue their interests. One big mistake I have made is packing our schedule too much and not allowing for 'down time' for my children to explore new things.
9. A bad day doesn't make a bad homeschool! We all have days that are less than perfect. Don't let that stop you. There are days that will knock your socks off. Just have faith!
10. Don't worry about what the kids in public school are doing. As long as they have what they need at the end of 12 years, who cares when they learn it? It's the end result that matters!
Don't forget to enjoy this very special time with your children. It will pass by too soon.