If you are beginning your homeschooling journey, or thinking about it and want to know How to Start Homeschooling Your Child, this post will be a guide for you.
1. Know Your Reason for Homeschooling
It’s important to have a reason for homeschooling before you get started. What is your why? When our first child was a baby, I wanted to be her teacher. Both my husband and I discussed it. Having a teaching degree must have also played into that decision. In fact, I think it was my husband who had brought up the question first. However, as she got closer to entering school, that desire seemed to have changed for my husband. Her first year of school, she went to Kindergarten at the local public school. But year two, we decided to homeschool. My hands were full with 3 kids under 5 and I just couldn’t keep up with outdoor school life. For real. My husband was either travelling much for his job or gone to work early, and I just couldn’t keep up. So homeschooling it was! Yes ma’am.
2. Know Your State’s Homeschooling Requirements
Before you begin homeschool, take some time to find out your State’s requirements. Not all States are equal when it comes to homeschooling. We’ve homeschooled in three different states and all three of them have different requirements.
Illinois in 2017 – When our first child was in 1st Grade, required nothing. And I mean, nothing. ZERO!
Pennsylvania in 2019 – 2021 – Prior to the school year:
- Turn in objectives to School’s district and wait for approval before starting homeschool
- Evaluate student’s work at the end of the school year by a certified homeschool evaluator
- Turn in evaluation to School’s District at the end of the school year.
- Repeat next year
South Carolina in 2021- Present:
- Join a homeschool association group
- Join a homeschool accountability group
- (both different groups)
- Turn in grades to association at the end of the school year
3. Decide on Your Method of Teaching (The homeschool Mom) & BJU Press
Knowing how your child learn best will be a big help to your homeschooling? But how can you know that if your child has never been in school before? Well, think about it. What are your child’s interests?
- Do they like to be outdoors (nature walks, fishing ponds, animal farms)?
- Are they hands-on (love to do crafts and make things at home)?
- Are they reserved and love to sit and play in corners by themselves?
- Do they love to do experiments with kitchen products such as baking soda and Vinegar, food coloring, flour, etc.)
- Are they very fascinated by all things Artsy – Paintings, drawing, colorful pens and markers?
Those interests would be what you can use to know how your child learns best. When one of our daughters was much smaller she loved making crafts, playing with tiny toys, painting and all kinds of hands-on activities. Based upon that observation, I hoped to enroll her in a Montessori school system when it was time for school. We didn’t end up in the Montessori because we did homeschool. But I’ve always included lots of hands-on activities in our children’s days.
4. Do Search for the correct curriculum, school materials, books, manipulatives
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Abeka Homeschool – Here is why I loved Abeka. They offer full curriculum plans as well as individual books and curriculum. Everything is done in a way that you don’t even have to plan. It’s well laid out and have books to match every curriculum. Our kids thrived using Abeka in Grades K5, then 1st through 4th.
- Master Books – I had never heard about Master Books until about 2 years ago. You can coordinate your won curriculum with Master Books. Our first books we bought from them were a History and Geography. That Geography book was so much fun for the kids.
- The Good and the Beautiful – They offer a Full Curriculum and also individual materials. You can coordinate a full curriculum with the Good and the Beautiful too. However, I personally didn’t quite like the layout of some of the materials. We ended up sending them back and ordering from Master Books. we loved their handwriting. But I didn’t do much with the other books. There a lots of rave on this curriculum though.
- Sonlight – We’ve heard about this one but have never tried it.
- BJU Homeschool – I have not used BJU for homeschooling but I have used their curriculum in a Christian school and also, I’ve worked in their Testing and Evaluation Center. They do offer a full curriculum for homeschoolers.
5. Organize a Space for Your Little Learners
I feel like kids need a space to concentrate and one that is not messy. I see a lot of homeschooling families on Instagram take this way too far and make it look like the kids can learn anywhere. Maybe so. However, I do feel it’s necessary to have reserved areas for concentration and “distraction-free” purposes. Don’t do that to your child. That never worked for us. Think about it, if you give a small child a Math problems to solve in a room full of toys, do you think they will concentrate on Math? Also, if your kids is doing homeschool on the couch and the TV is on in the same room, your kid will most likely watch TV instead of the work.
6. Create a Homeschooling Plan (BJU Press)
Don’t wing homeschooling mom. You will need a plan for how you are going to balance school, housework, making meals, extra-curricular activities and everything else. Your kids will need your attention and help especially if you are starting in their younger grades. “Your first-year plan can be very fluid, but you’ll need to consider what your teaching schedule will look like, what kind of records you’ll be keeping, and where day-to-day learning will take place“.
7. Find Community for Homeschooling
One of the biggest tips I can offer to you as you decide on homeschooling is to make sure you’ll have some form of support. I cannot stress this enough. I’m writing to you from experience. There is a reason community is stressed among others. When we moved from PA to SC, we had the most difficult homeschool year we’ve ever had. We were lonely. We tried community but things didn’t work out. Community meets were too far away and few and far in-between. We tried enrolling in Co-op but even that was a fail. Without going into much details, just know that if you don’t have community you will feel lonely, your kids will be lonely, you won’t have a support and you will most-likely feel like quitting.
Cons of not Having Homeschooling Support
If you don’t have homeschooling support, here’s what will happen:
- You will feel stretched thin
- You will question whether you have made the right choice for your kids and for you
- Both you and your kids will feel lonely at home
- You WILL end up wanting to quit!
8. Don’t be Intimated by Seasoned Homeschooling Moms
Ask for help and advice if you need to as you start out your journey. But try not to be swayed or intimated by seasoned homechooling moms. Here is why I say that. There are lot of people out there, especially on Instagram telling us why we are doing homeschooling wrong. I see it all the time. Reels are all the rage these days.
I think those influencers don’t mean to come across as if they are criticizing those who don’t homeschool like them but it does end up this way. I sit there and feel like, boy I must be doing something wrong. But I’m not; every homeschooling family will have a different way of doing things. Pick what you feel is most beneficial to your child and go with that. Period.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27).