It can be totally overwhelming. Public school is mostly straight forward. You sign the kid up, they assign you a bus number, your gargantuan task is getting them out the door on time. But if you’ve ever wondered how to begin homeschooling your child you may be at a complete loss.
Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that you will need to make seemingly thousands of major decisions about your child’s life-long education by yourself. The good news is you can watch the bus pick up the neighborhood kids while yours are still in their pajamas.
So, if you’ve wondered, here are a 6 steps to begin your homeschool journey.
1.) Google your state’s laws regarding homeschooling. I can easily find mine by typing “Missouri Homeschool laws.” Look for a resource provided by your state– with a (dot)gov address probably. At some point I highly recommend paying for a membership to HSLDA, (Home School Legal Defense Association). They have a page for each state and all the laws and lots of other resources available to members.
2.) Find a friend. Seek out homeschoolers either in real life or here in the virtual world. I belong to a few Facebook groups and we love nothing more than to help with questions from those who are thinking about teaching at home. The local cooperative we attend on Fridays is my most valuable resource.
3.) Decide on a budget. Almost any homeschool materials are a fraction of the price of private school, but you can spend as little as the cost of a library card on up.
4.) Choose your curriculum.
I think your best bet is to purchase a curriculum set– meaning a box comes with pretty much everything you need to teach a certain grade level. EVERY homeschool mom will have her own opinion on what to use, but since this is my blog, I’m telling you Timberdoodle.com is the best. Its reasonably priced and gives you FANTASTIC resources; more than just a math workbook or a science text.
For the first-time homeschooler I’d unequivocally recommend just buying their “complete curriculum package”. As a former teacher I drove myself batty (no comments please) trying to choose from more than 50 math companies. Which one was perfect for my son? In the end everything I bought is offered by Timeberdoodle. Someone there must already be batty…
Also, if you need to bounce around a little (my son does 2nd grade science, 1st grade math, and K phonics) you can buy the pieces you want. Tailoring the learning to your child’s specific needs is the best part of homeschooling. I’d already started teaching Brett D’Nealian handwriting (pre-cursive), so we chose another book for that study.
5.) Organize. Create a binder. Figure out your weekly schedule. (Some core curriculum packages come with one.) Choose a space in your house and design a storage solution. Most importantly here, decide how you will be complying with your state laws regarding record keeping.
6.) Make it your own! Homeschooling doesn’t need to look like a classroom to be productive. Work outside. Read aloud after dinner. Arrange lessons so you can be gone all day on Thursdays. Make karate your PE class. Do what’s best for You. Your kids. Your family.
Veteran moms– any other advise?