“I want to homeschool, but where do I start?”
I’ve heard this question so many times since we started homeschooling a couple of years ago.
I’ve read this question in many of the homeschooling Facebook groups I belong to.
I’ve even answered this question in my DMs.
When I began homeschooling, I was completely overwhelmed by the plethora of information that exists.
Researching and making lists are basically my two favorite hobbies. I’m also a blast at parties in case you were wondering.
Looking back, I could’ve used a basic guide to steer my research and keep me from falling into various rabbit holes because a sister has NO time for any of that.
And neither do you.
If you’re thinking about homeschooling, there are a few things you’ll want to do first.
Do your research
The first thing on your to-do list should be to find out if your state or county has a homeschooling office. The homeschool office serves as a liaison between your family and your local public school system. They should offer resources, support, and accountability.
Learn your rights
You will also want to research and become familiar with your state’s homeschooling laws and regulations.
If you’re homeschooling in the US, check out the Home School Legal Defense Association. They offer a wealth of resources and support for homeschooling families.
Identify your child’s learning style(s)
There are several ways your child processes and retains information. Knowing your child’s learning style is key to a fruitful homeschool experience.
Select a homeschooling method
There are also several different homeschooling methods. You can go the traditional or classical route, if your child craves more structure and likes the smell of textbooks.
Book and nature lovers may enjoy the Charlotte Mason literature-based method.
Hands-on learners may function best using methods such as unit studies, interest-led homeschooling, or unschooling.
It’s easy to get caught up in labeling your homeschool method, but it’s most important that whatever you are doing is keeping you AND your kids engaged!
Choose your curriculum
There are a few different kinds of curriculum–boxed, online, and hodge podge.
Before you get anxious about selecting curriculum, know that there is no magic bullet when it comes to curriculum.
Homeschooling is more than school at home–it’s a lifestyle and a prime opportunity to connect and grow together as a family.
That said, there are also numerous curriculum reviews available on blogs and YouTube videos. If you are unsure about a resource, look no further than your Google search bar for help and advice.
People who don’t homeschool want to know–how will your child socialize???
There are endless social opportunities for families who homeschool. We have made friends at local parks, libraries, and classes.
There are many, many homeschooling groups on Facebook, Yahoo, and Meetup.
You can find support, solidarity, and opportunities for peer collaboration at local co-ops, tutorials, clubs, and other groups.
Once you have done your research and garnered support, it is time to make your plans.
Plan your homeschool year
This is the time to set goals, plan your weekly and daily schedules, plot out trips and projects, and gather resources.
A homeschool planner is a handy tool to keep everything organized. Your planner doesn’t need to be fancy or super expensive. I’ve seen people plan in something as basic as a spiral notebook.
If you are more of a digital person, many homeschool parents use EverNote, OneNote, and Trello to keep their plans in place.
Stock up on supplies
Once you have your plans in place, it’s time to set up shop!
Use your curriculum research notes to make selections, and don’t be afraid. Nothing is permanent. You can find curriculum at the library, at thrift stores, and online at deep discounts. You can also find curriculum by joining a swap through your local co-op, umbrella group, or support group.
Gather school supplies and storage solutions to keep things access and clutter-free. My children are more likely to explore resources that are organized and visible.
Set up your classroom space
You can “do school” anywhere. I’ve seen some beautiful homeschool rooms (mostly on Pinterest), but my children prefer to study at the dining room table.
When you homeschool, the world becomes your classroom.
Have fun decorating your home with globes, books, art supplies, and other resources. Supersize the fun by getting the kids involved in setting up your space.