So you decided that you want to begin homeschooling. Congratulations!
Homeschooling is a big decision to make for your family. The successful homeschooler will be sure to do research first and cover all your basics before embarking on your terrific journey!
First of all, you might want to check out this video on what homeschooling is all about before you start homeschooling. This may answer some of your questions about what homeschooling is, who homeschools, and why they choose to homeschool.
Also, here are a few initial steps to consider when getting organized for a successful year and how to start homeschooling.
Before you start homeschooling, make sure everyone is on board.
It’s a great idea to have a family meeting and make sure everyone is on the same page before you begin homeschooling your children. This includes your kids. If you are pulling them out of public school, be sure they understand the kinds of changes they will be experiencing, and also include them in decisions regarding their curriculum. Once everyone is on board, knows what to expect, and is excited about the changes ahead, you are more likely to have a much better experience as a family.
To start homeschooling successfully, please first check with your local state homeschool laws.
This is a crucial step for getting started with home education on the right path. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org) has information about each state’s laws concerning homeschooling. You can also get a head start over at the National Home Education Network.
Though homeschooling is definitely legal in every state, it is still imperative that you do your research first and find out what the requirements are for homeschooling in your state. Remember, don’t neglect this step! Homeschooling laws are different in each state, so it’s important to find out firsthand, and not after the fact, what your state requires.
Visit this page for my research and information about homeschool-friendly states and countries around the world, as well as additional homeschool laws.
Watch this video to find out more about the legalities of homeschooling in general.
Be sure to follow through on your state’s recommendations for compliance to start homeschooling. Whether that is to fill out a letter of intent for the public school board or list your planned curriculum, find out what your state of residence requires. Again, each state has different laws that determine what you should do to begin homeschooling. Visit the HSLDA website, and make the first steps toward solidifying your family as official homeschoolers.
Start homeschooling by choosing your curriculum.
In most states, you can use whichever curriculum you choose. The choice is yours! Decide which types of curriculum would fit your children best- based on their learning styles and your lifestyle choice. Consider grade level, age level, and the foundational subjects first (the three R‘s- reading, writing, and arithmetic for the younger years, and required courses for credit in higher grades such as biology, math, etc.). Then add any additional courses that your children might enjoy or have a passion or interest in (such as art, music, or dance, for example).
You can find plenty of homeschool curricula online and review them first hand at curriculum fairs or used book sales from other homeschoolers. Here are some ideas about where to find used curriculum.
Decide on a homeschool schedule.
Whether it’s a year-round school, or nine months out of the year like in traditional school settings, you need to decide how your school schedule will look for the upcoming academic year. Also, decide on which classes you will offer and when. If your fifth grader will be taking algebra, science, American history, and geography, for example, you will want to decide on a daily schedule to keep him on task. Some families enjoy an 8-12 noon schedule. Others prefer to do school in the evenings or on weekends. Select the type of schedule that will fit your family’s needs, and begin. Listen in on my podcast on managing your time in your homeschool.
Homeschooling is a very rewarding journey of watching your children learn and grow. If you follow your initial steps into homeschooling properly, you will have a successful homeschool journey to look forward to. Check out this article for an overview of more homeschool startup help.