How to Start Homeschooling
So you have decided to home educate your kids. Now what?! This is how to start homeschooling.
This is when you start to figure out how you are going to home educate. How do you want to do it? What is this going to look like in your home and in your life? What are the methods of homeschooling? How do they work? How do you know which one is right for you? What are the laws you must follow in your state?
Make a Mission Statement
Refer to notes from the Thinking About Homeschooling page. Consider using these thoughts to make a mission statement. It is important to keep in mind the reasons you decided to homeschool, why it is important to you, and your long-term goals. You will have hard days and question your decision to homeschool. Your mission statement will act as a compass to help you stay the course when life as a homeschooling family gets stormy.
Familiarize yourself with how homeschooling works in your area. You need to understand your state laws and which groups there are so you can get connected with other homeschoolers near you. Find out what groups are available to plug into in our local resources pages.Some states dictate mandatory portfolio reviews, graduation requirements, testing, record keeping, instruction hours, and more. Some states require less, and some states don’t require anything. Each state’s homeschool laws are different so be sure you review and understand the laws that apply to you. Learn about homeschooling laws in your state on HSLDA’s (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) website Regardless of your political/religious affiliation, HSLDA is an organization you will want to utilize. Consider getting a membership with them. The value is priceless.
What Suits You?
Learn about the different homeschool styles and methods. Think about which one (or more) will fit your family best. Some people like to use one specific method, while others like to combine aspects of the different methods (eclectic).
This is a learning process for everyone, and it is very likely that you will try different things, so have a lot grace for yourself. Understand this is a fluid process that you and your kids will figure out together as you go and grow. Check out the links to style quizzes on this page and then for detailed information on different methods, head over to our styles and methods page to learn about what these are like in real life.
Consider these things when you are making your decisions:
What do you think/how do you feel about the following:
- reading aloud?
- child led learning?
- hands on projects?
- family learning the same subjects at the same time, all together?
- Do you want to make your own lesson plans or purchase them ready made?
- What do you envision your role as the primary educator to be? Is it to teach and instruct, or facilitate learning and manage the learning environment?
Break the Mold
Each family has unique interests, goals, strengths, weaknesses, circumstances, values, and needs. It is important to find something that works for you, your child, and your family. This will be different than what works for other homeschool families. Do NOT buy a curriculum or go with a certain method just because it has worked for another family that you admire. Trying to fit yourself and your kids into some else’s box will put undue stress and fatigue on you. It could shake your confidence and lead you to doubt your decision to home educate.
Here are a few links to quizzes that may help you find out what homeschooling styles might work for your family. Consider the results of the quizzes along with your goals, worldview, and other factors like time, money, and values when choosing a homeschooling method and curriculum.
Once you find out what method(s) best suit you and your family, head over to the styles and methods. page to learn more about curriculum choices that correspond with them.
After that, be sure to start shopping in our Marketplace for the curriculum you want to buy.