You’ve decided to homeschool and you have questions. How does it work? Is it even legal? What do I use? How do I know what to teach? The list goes on, right?
Out of all the questions potential homeschoolers have, there is one that can calm all anxiety and fears when answered – How do I get started?
We’re going to tackle that question below so you can get a jumpstart on your journey to homeschooling.
What is homeschooling anyways?
Before tackling the few key things to help you get started, let’s address what homeschooling is. In a nutshell, homeschooling is educating your children in a home-style environment.
Within homeschooling lies a variety of methods and styles that can help make your journey more pleasant. We will talk about those methods and styles in another post.
For now, it’s enough to understand that once you choose to homeschool, you are also choosing to take full control over what your child learns, when they learn it, and how. And that, my friend, is a great feeling.
5 Things Every New Homeschooler Should Know About Getting Started
Every state has their own set of homeschooling laws and requirements, so it is best to start by finding out what your state says about it. Although laws vary per state, I will tell you that almost every state requires a certain amount of educational hours and has some type of age requirement.
For states that require notification and assessments, you can find out the specifics by contacting your local Board of Education.
Goal setting will become your new best friend as a homeschooling parent. It is a good idea to get into the habit of doing this with each child you plan to teach at home.
Begin by taking into consideration your child’s age and current abilities. From there, create a map of milestones based around particular concepts you’d like them to learn and know. Keep in mind that this can and will change as you begin your journey.
You will find that your child progresses in one subject area effortlessly, while in another they may seem to take a bit longer to comprehend. Both of these ranges are to be embraced and used to create an individualized learning plan that caters specifically to your child’s development.
The idea behind goal setting is to keep track of your child’s educational progress and to use it as a guide as they move through each grade.
Curriculum is an area of homeschooling that often stresses parents out, and rightfully so. There are a lot of options out there and it can become overwhelming when trying to navigate and choose one that works for your family.
The most common misconceptions are that you have to pick a curriculum and you can only pick one.
The truth of the matter is you can actually pick and choose many different resources to accommodate your child’s learning needs.
Some parents find comfort in choosing what is called a boxed curriculum, which comes with everything you’ll need for a particular subject and/or grade. However, other parents feel better about picking and choosing different resources and piecing them together.
Regardless of what you choose, become familiar with the many different companies, brands, and options and don’t make yourself (or your family) conform to any one thing. Instead, keep in mind that you are in control of what you choose to use.
Connecting with Others
Thanks to modern technology, connecting with other homeschooling parents is much easier than before. Between the various social media platforms, there are countless numbers of groups you can join to get extra support.
Most communities also offer local homeschooling groups and CO-OPs that you can join.
Taking the Leap
Once you’ve checked your legalities, gotten an idea of some educational goals, and purchased resources… it’s now time to take the leap and do it.
Plan when you’d like to start, take breaks, and stop. Then, create a schedule that compliments your unique family dynamic. With this in tow, all there is left to do is get started.
To keep from getting stressed out, keep the following tips in mind:
- Ease into it.
- Don’t be afraid to make changes.
- If something isn’t working, it’s okay to stop doing it.
- When something works, keep using it.
- Your homeschool will be just as unique as your family.
Overall, starting your homeschool journey may seem intimidating. Just note that there is no silly question when it comes to taking your child’s education into your own hands. Never be afraid to ask for help!
Before beginning your homeschooling journey, it is often recommended to take some time to deschool.