Saturday, April 15, 2017

How To Begin Homeschooling In 5 Easy Steps

So, you want to homeschool your children?  But, the thought is completely overwhelming.  Where do I even start?   Is it legal in my state?  How do I know what they need to know in each grade?  Don't panic.  Here are 5 steps that will get you up and running!

1.  Figure out your states requirements.

Before you buy that shiny new curriculum, you need to learn and understand the laws specific to your state.  Every state has it's own educational requirements.  This website is a great place to start.  It gives a basic overview of homeschooling laws for each state.

It sounds simple, but calling your local school district superintendent can help clarify the information.  Many school systems have a specific person that handles homeschooling.  Even if they don't, they will be able to put you in contact with someone that can answer your questions.  Be respectful and courteous.  Those two things can go a long way to paving a good relationship, which you will need because you will be seeing them yearly.

Finally, if you know a homeschooling family near you ask them how they handle the laws in your area.  Sometimes just talking to someone you know (and trust) is enough to set you on the right path.

2.   Decide on an approach.

Are you structured or laid back?  Do you prefer using a traditional textbook curriculum, or does an online course sound more your speed?  Do the arts hold a special place in your heart or do you just want to focus on the fundamentals?  Whatever style interests you and your children, there is a teaching method just for you.  I will break this all down in my next post.

3.   Join A Homeschool Group.

Find your people!  Just knowing that you aren't in this alone can give you the confidence you need to keep going.  You are going to have times when you are going to question your decision.  Often it just takes a few moments with a sympathetic ear to put your mind at ease.  If you don't know of any groups locally, you can still find many online.

Facebook groups is a great place to look.  Just type in 'Homeschooling Group' and your location into the search bar.  Another great option is to join Meetup.Com.  This is also a great place to find fellow crafters, nature lovers or play groups.

Check out your local library or bookstore for homeschool events.  If you can't find what you're looking for then host an event yourself.

4.   Be patient and flexible.

Whatever age you are looking to homeschool, you will encounter ups and downs.  For example, if you will be homeschooling your little one there might be a time of transition as you go from 'mom' to 'teacher.'  If you are bringing your children home from school, the transition might be even greater.

Start slow the first few weeks and build slowly.  Remember you don't have to duplicate 'school,' which is why you kept them home in the first place.  Begin incorporating rhythms and schedules that work for you and child.

Be flexible.  Real life happens.  Many times your children will learn valuable life skills in the everyday tasks that have nothing to do with diagramming a sentence.

5.  Consider attending a homeschool conference.

Browsing the Internet for homeschool curriculum in the comfort of your own home, wearing your pajamas is pretty nice.  But, being able to hold and look through the curriculum can give you answers you can't always get from an online purchase.

You can talk to people face to face.  Often times you are speaking to the writers and creators of that particular book or resource.  They will be able to help you way more that the little description on a website.  Click here to find out what conferences are available in your area.

So, there you have it.  See... it's not so bad.  You can do this!  Don't become overwhelmed.  Just take it one step at a time.  Continue asking questions, and read, read, read.

Next time we will tackle Homeschool Teaching Methods.  See you soon.


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