Homeschooling 101 – How to Start
Once you’ve made the decision to homeschool, it can be overwhelming thinking of all the things that need to be done. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you along the way.
Start by writing down your reasons and vision for your family’s homeschooling journey. This will help you stay on track when the going gets tough, and all homeschoolers have difficult days.
1. Find out the laws in your state.
Homeschooling laws vary from state to state, and you need to know what they are before making the decision to homeschool your children. Some states consider homeschools private schools and require that you submit a student profile at the end of each year, while others have no homeschool regulations at all.
As you research your options, think about why you want to homeschool your kids. This will help you create goals that will guide your homeschooling journey and allow you to identify the best curriculum for your child’s needs. It’s also important to consider how you will teach your children, such as using hands-on activities and manipulatives that translate book learning into physical experiences. For example, adding a sensory box to an English lesson or counting bears to a math class can give your children kinesthetic learning opportunities that will help them remember important information.
2. Create a plan for your first year.
Make a list of what you will need to do and when. Homeschoolers often have to balance the schedule with extra-curricular activities, such as playing outside or attending a co-op class. It also is a good idea to plan for breaks and holidays.
Once you have a general idea of your schedule, figure out how much time each subject will take per week. Some curriculum is already divided into lessons, which makes this easy to do. Just add up the number of lessons in each subject and divide by the average number of weeks in a year to get an estimate of how long each lesson will take to complete.
It is important to remember why you are homeschooling so that you can keep your goals in mind, especially on difficult days. You can even create a philosophy of education for your family that includes scriptures to help you stay focused and motivated.
3. Find a community of like-minded people.
Homeschooling is a journey that shouldn’t be taken alone. Connecting with a community of people who are on the same path as you is vital. This community can provide support, encouragement, and inspiration.
You can find many homeschooling groups on Facebook or at local events. These groups can help you get started by giving you advice on how to homeschool, and they can also connect you with other homeschoolers in your area.
When choosing a curriculum, consider your child’s learning style and interests. There are many options available, and you can mix-and-match to create the perfect education for your family. Make sure to take into account extracurricular activities as well. This is a great way for your kids to socialize with other children, and it can also help them build self-confidence.
4. Create a budget.
Homeschooling can be costly, especially if you aren’t able to find financial assistance from outside sources. As such, you’ll want to create a budget for yourself and your family so that you can stick to it.
One way to do this is to set aside money each week or month, and then put it toward homeschooling supplies when you need them. You can also shop around for discounted or free materials online. There are lots of great resources out there, like Super Teacher Worksheets, Starfall, and Dance Mat Typing, that will make learning fun without costing you a fortune.
Another way to save money is by combining subjects, instead of buying a separate history and science curriculum for each child. You can also take advantage of your local library, which is full of great resources for homeschoolers.
5. Attend homeschool conventions.
Homeschool conventions are filled with a wealth of resources and expertise. However, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the information.
To make the most of your convention experience, consider taking some time to reflect on the reasons you are homeschooling and the vision you have for your family. This will help you stay focused on your goals when the going gets tough.
Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. It’s not uncommon to walk miles during a homeschool convention and you don’t want to cut your convention experience short because of discomfort. In addition, bring a carry-on or regular size suitcase. This will allow you to purchase all the curriculum you want without having to lug it around.