How to Homeschool for Newbies

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Getting Started with Homeschooling

How to Homeschool

When first getting started in learning how to homeschool, you might find that there is so much information available that it can feel overwhelming, but it certainly doesn't have to be.
First, begin with your why. Why do you want to begin homeschooling your kids?
The obvious reasons post 2020 has to do with the state of the world we live in. But there are many other reasons you might find necessary to keep your children at home.

Take some time to really dig into the reasons you want to embark on this journey. Taking a look at some of the advantages of homeschooling (read this post for more information), you can begin to discover why millions of families have chosen to home educate in the past two decades.

Once you’ve decided homeschooling is for you and your family, you’ll want to start homeschooling when the time is right and you understand the basic steps to getting started. Essentially, you’ll want to  make sure to follow your local state homeschooling laws  where you live, choose your curriculum, and then decide on a homeschool schedule our routine that fits your family’s needs.

Just as we would plan out our goals for getting a job, making money, cleaning our home, or any other of the myriad tasks we have as moms, choosing to homeschool our kids comes with a set of obligations and responsibilities- one of which is that we need to plan out goals for each of our kids. Knowing exactly where we’re going, will help us to clear a path to success.

One of the first steps in homeschooling is planning out your goals (read here for more information how to plan your homeschool goals). 

I also offer a homeschool goal planning course to show you how to set goals for your family for your homeschool year.

Once you have your goals in place, you’ll want to begin thinking about your curriculum. Which will you use? How will you approach teaching your children?

There are so many different types of curriculum based on styles and philosophies of home education. If you are just starting off I always recommend that you begin as an “eclectic” family. This means that you are essentially pulling from a variety of styles and methods until you find one that suits your family the best. Some mainstream methods you’ll find in the homeschooling community are:

  • Charlotte Mason
  • Classical
  • Montessori
  • Unschooling/Free-schooling/Travel-schooling
  • Traditional School-at-Home
  • Unit Studies
  • Eclectic
  • University Model

Once you have an idea of the styles of homeschooling you might like to try, you can open up your mind to trying new things a bit later down the road. For now, begin by choosing the basics for your curriculum.

Choose your basics.

The basics include:

  • math
  • language arts/english
  • science
  • social studies/history/geography
  • physical education
  • electives: art, music, languages

Add anything on to this list that fits your family: religious studies and family faith, world cultures, family culture and heritage studies, culinary arts, anything that makes your family special.

Choose your curriculum.

For younger children, and when you’re first starting out, pick a few Summer Bridge type workbooks from Walmart or Costco, or load up on Spectrum and Evan Moore. With time, you can switch over to other curriculum packages based on your homeschool philosophy.

Try online learning platforms, activities and games. Time4Learning was helpful for us for a few years. We also really loved ABC Mouse. You can try free curriculum such as Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool just to get started.

If your kids are older, you may want to either purchase boxed curriculum that comes in a set and ready to teach (such as Abeka or Timberdoodle), or you can  develop your own curriculum from scratch, using online resources and printables (such as on TeachersPayTeachers) or creating a library filled with books on topics you and your children can love and explore together.

Teenagers in middle and high school often benefit from outside instruction such as online classes. I like to sign up my daughter for Outschool classes during summer breaks, and I find that she really enjoys virtual schooling. Read-alouds are also important to us in the teen years, so I like to keep my shelves stocked with books my girls and I can enjoy for years to come.

Set up your homeschool space

Want to know a secret? (*pssst…you really don’t need a “homeschool space”*)

That said, if you have the extra room in your home and just really want to dedicate a room for homeschooling, I say go for it. It’s a lot of fun to decorate and have a dedicated space where you spend time learning with your kids. I have some homeschool room ideas for your here.  And here are some more budget room ideas.

However, if you either don’t have the extra space, or you don’t wish to have a “homeschool room” per se (because maybe you’re method of choice for homeschooling is traveling with your family in an RV), then forget about the notion of a homeschool room and just have your student develop habits of studying in a comfortable area.

Here are some examples of how I’ve put together my homeschool spaces and storage over the years.

Keep homeschool records

Each state has different requirements about record-keeping, so be sure to check on your own. However, I always suggest that you keep records of sorts- whether super meticulous or not is up to you.

I like to keep samples of my children’s work in a portfolio binder. I also keep their important documents such as legal homeschooling forms and affidavits, report cards and progress reports in a separate binder.

Hold on to your documents for as long as you homeschool and keep them organized. Find out more about  homeschool records keeping on this post.

Stay encouraged in your homeschool

Whatever you do, please stay encouraged.

You may want to find a support group- both for yourself and your children. If finding a local group isn’t working out for you, jump online and find the support you need on social media. Facebook groups, Instagram, YouTube channels, blogs and podcasts can all help you to keep going and stay motivated when you see others just like yourself are doing the same.

Blog post recap on how to homeschool:

Has this been helpful to you? I sure hope so!

Please consider subscribing to my podcast for more tips and interviews and my homeschool YouTube channel for weekly encouragement.

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