If you’ve been wondering how to start homeschooling, then you’re in the right place. We’ve been homeschooling our kiddos going on 10 years and have navigated a lot of bumps in the road. Keep reading to learn just how easy it is to take your children’s education into your own hands.
Why You Should Start Homeschooling
One of your biggest reasons for homeschooling should be because you want to take your child’s education into your own hands. This involves knowing what they are learning, how they are learning it, and when.
You don’t have to look far to see what’s going on with the public (and some private) school system. The ever-changing curriculum, lack of teaching concepts that matter, and the push for agendas that have nothing to do with real education is off the charts.
Other reasons why people decide to homeschool involve being able to cater to their child’s special needs, protecting them from bullying, and/or to help relieve any stress caused by schools today.
Regardless, be crystal clear about your intent to homeschool and why. These will be the very things that will keep you grounded on the hard days or when doubt tries to kick in.
How to Start Homeschooling the Easy Way
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling is not that hard. The hardest part is navigating any preconceived notions of what it’s supposed to look like and reprogramming yourself (and your children) to understand what education really is.
Home education is not 8:00am to 3pm. It’s not doing 8 subjects every single day. It doesn’t involve the same milestones and goals set by the system. And it doesn’t involve being secluded without resources.
Homeschooling today looks much different than it did long ago. Nowadays, there are local homeschool groups, CO-OP groups, homeschool programs, work studies, in-person and online resources, and so on. There is help!
Make the choice to do it.
First and foremost, you need to make the choice to homeschool. It’s one thing to think about it, but once you’ve decided to turn that thought into action – it’s go time. Go through the following steps to get started.
Know what your state’s homeschool laws are.
Every state has their own set of homeschooling laws. Majority of them are pretty laid back and there isn’t much to do. Every state will require some written statement, form, or document of your intent to homeschool. Each state also has a set of standards that involves the age your children need to receive formal education, particular subjects to teach, and so on.
Connect with other homeschooling parents.
At first, you may feel like the only one, but that’s not true. Chances are, there are lots of homeschoolers all around you (me included). Reach out and connect with those that are already homeschooling their children. Ask them questions, get their feedback, and maybe even ask to see what a typical homeschooling day looks like for them. You can also find this out on social media.
Now, I will say be mindful of the social media influencers who are all about the fluff and stuff and only show the good. The truth is, some days are better than others. Some days are longer than others. And it’s not always formal. Here’s an example of a semi-laid back day with minimal structure.
Go through deschooling for yourself and your children.
The term deschool is fairly new but the concepts are not so much. Deschooling is basically the time between going from modern schooling to traditional schooling (AKA homeschooling). The rule of thumb is to take 1 month for every year your children was in public/private school. For example, if your child was in public school for 5 years, you’d initially take about 5 months off before starting your homeschooling journey.
You may feel like you’re wasting time or doing your child a disservice by not continuing their education at the pace of the public/private school, but that’s the point. You need to take time to relearn what education is really about. Keep in mind that it’s not long days, every subject every day, or your child only using one style to learn.
Use this time to:
- understand your child’s learning style.
- get ideas of what your child wants to learn about.
- explore different things they’d enjoy studying.
- research what your town has to offer for homeschoolers.
- connect with other homeschoolers.
- search learning styles, teaching styles, and curriculum options.
Brainstorm how you’d like your homeschool to be.
When first starting, you may feel like you have to pick just one homeschooling style, one type of curriculum, or one schedule. Please don’t box yourself in like that. You don’t have to pick any one style. And you definitely don’t need to choose just one type of curriculum. There’s soooooo much to choose from.
The best thing to do is start with one thing but be open minded to change whatever, whenever. If you find that a certain curriculum isn’t meshing well with your child, change it. Don’t wait until a “new school year.” Change it immediately. You have that liberty and that option. Be open to the possibility of using a variety of styles, structures, and systems. It’s okay to be flexible.
Enjoy the journey.
I’ll be the first to admit that you’ll go through a variety of stages. The first stage is the fear of the unknown. Not knowing what to do, how to do it, or how to start it. The second stage involves feeling like you’re failing your children. The third stage deals with not knowing if you have what it takes to keep going. And the last stage is finally finding your groove.
Each of these are normal to navigate and each one will last as long as necessary. Every homeschool is different because every family is different. The best advice I can give is go where your child’s needs lead and don’t hesitate to homeschool your way. Even when you feel like they’re not learning or that your kids hate it, keep your why in mind.
There’s really not much more to starting your homeschooling journey than what’s mentioned above. The finer details will roll out as your start and continue your journey. The schedules, when you start, when you take breaks, field trips, lesson plans, etc. all come. But first, you must take the steps to pull your children out of school or wait until they are of “school age.”
I’ll put out some more posts that break down the minutia of homeschooling, but for now, this will get you started.