The question I get the most from people new to homeschooling is, “Where do I start?” Getting started can seem overwhelming and confusing. It’s not just you! There is a lot of information out there, and wading through it can be time-consuming and frustrating. In this article, I attempt to break it down in a few easy steps for those that already feel as if homeschooling is in their future.
The first step is to relax. You’re not going to wreck your children. Every new homeschooling parent worries that it may not be the right choice. Many of us rethink our decisions each year. Each month. And some…daily! If you find it doesn’t work for you, you can always enroll them in school at a later time. It won’t be the end of the world. No matter what you do, your children will be learning. If you’re researching this, you’ve already proven that you really want to do what’s best for them. You’ll be fine.
2. Find out your local homeschool laws.
Every state has different homeschooling laws. Some states have more regulations than others. It’s important to know the laws of your state and to make sure you have done what you need to do to comply.
3. Determine your child’s learning style.
Every child learns differently. Determining your child’s learning style can help you understand how your child learns best, so that you may implement this style (or styles) into their daily learning. You might learn something about yourself as well!
4. Decide on a homeschooling method.
Talk about overwhelming! When I first started homeschooling, I had no idea which homeschooling method to try. Matter of fact, I didn’t even know there were so many different approaches! I ended up purchasing a complete curriculum that included everything we needed to “school-at-home” and that is perfectly fine. But by our second year, I had more of an idea what would work better with my children. Every family is different. Some families decide to use one method and stick with it for years. Some use different methods with different children. Some change methods throughout the year. Whatever works for your family is fine! And remember, you can always change it (or add to it) if you find it doesn’t work for you. You are in control.
5. Choose a curriculum.
Choosing a curriculum is definitely time-consuming. There are so many options out there and if you’re anything like me, you want to research all of them. I’ve used up whole summers researching and deciding on a curriculum. Trying one and deciding it’s not for you can be expensive. One good thing to remember is that reselling curriculum is encouraged and you can recoup some of the money that you spent! There are many reviews of curricula online. Be sure to check them out and ask questions before diving in and selecting one.
6. Locate support groups.
Support groups can be found everywhere! Local groups can offer play-dates, field trips and educational encounters for children. You can check your town’s library to see if they have information on homeschool meetings. Homeschool co-ops are extremely popular. Online groups are convenient for parents or guardians to get information any time of day from the comfort of their homes.
7. Be patient.
Have patience! Things won’t fall into place overnight. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing for the first couple of years. It takes a bit of time to find a groove (for you and your children). Don’t be discouraged if you’re having trouble. Reach out to your support groups for encouragement.
Do you have any tips for new homeschoolers? Send them to us to be added to this list.