If you are interested in homeschooling but it seems overwhelming, and a bit daunting, then this article is for you! In this article, you will gain confidence and know how to start setting up your homeschool this year!
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How We Started Homeschooling
Our family was living in South Korea when I decided we would be homeschooling my baby girl. It was 2017, and the school systems in America were changing. I knew I wouldn’t be able to send my sweet little girl into the school system when the time came.
In an effort to preserve her innocence and childhood, I announced to my husband that I would homeschool her!
I was not met with the most supportive response, and with good understanding. My background was working in the military and my bachelor’s degree was in nursing. Her loving dad was concerned how I was qualified to take on her education.
Thankfully I had time to prove to myself and him that I’d be a good fit. I explored how I wanted to approach her education and where to start.
The more I dug in, the more my husband and I learned about the treasure that homeschooling would be, and the blessing we would be gaining by doing this for our children!
To avoid the anxiety and doubt in your mind, let’s address where and how to start in this article.
1. What Is HSLDA?
HSLDA is an organization that equips homeschooling parents with resources, educational consultants, attorneys, representation in courts, and engagement in legislation.
This is the very first place to start your homeschool journey. Why? Well, each state requires different laws to be met. On their website you can search by state and learn what homeschool options your family is required to meet such as:
- What the required school ages are
- Notification to the school district – if applicable
- Mandated subjects by state
- Teacher qualifications – if applicable
- Testing requirements, if applicable
- Immunization requirements
- Homeschooling options
I highly recommend becoming a member of the organization. Membership grants your family access to personal legal support, one-on-one homeschool coaching, and more. I personally benefit from the teacher ID. Having a teacher ID gets you and your family discounts at some places like museums and even some clothing stores!
2. What Is Your Teaching Style And Your Kid’s Learning Style?
You may be wondering why this is important, but having an understanding of your preferred method of teaching and your child’s preferred method of learning will help enormously when you decide on a curriculum.
This step saves you time and money because you won’t be investing in something that may catch your eye, or maybe works for another homeschooling mama you know, but doesn’t fit your style of teaching.
I didn’t know that I should learn my teaching style when I began looking at curriculum options. Overwhelmed, I didn’t know where to start. However, by completing this step you will not only save money, but also skip agonizing time going through curricula you don’t enjoy.
I recommend taking a quiz about your teaching style. This one from homeschoolon.com is one I like, and it is free. She also has a free quiz to learn how your kids learn! Click here to go to that quiz.
3. Curriculum Styles
If you don’t enjoy teaching the curriculum, your kids won’t enjoy learning it from you! The quizzes above will help you determine which curriculum you might enjoy teaching.
- Charlotte Mason Curriculum – This is a popular style that uses only high-quality literature to teach all subjects.
- Traditional Curriculum – This common style involves textbooks, organized lessons, and tests to teach and evaluate all subjects.
- Classical Curriculum – This style teaches based on three stages. The stages involve learning facts through memorization and knowledge; using reasoning and logic; and applying skills of wisdom and judgment.
- Unit Study Curriculum – This style teaches a defined topic which covers multiple subjects in the study plan.
- Unschooling Curriculum – This style is child-led. It allows the child to choose based on their interests and curiosities.
How we Homeschool
I personally fall into the belief that all these styles are beneficial at one time or another in a child’s learning. Therefore, for our homeschool we lean toward different curriculum styles for different subjects.
For example: Reading, grammar, and math are more of a traditional style approach in our home. Bible and history fall more into a Charlotte Mason style of curriculum for us. Whereas, science and art are more of an unschooling approach.
We aren’t a one size fits all bunch, so we pick and choose what works best for us in the given subjects.
Another resource that I lean on to find great a curriculum is Christianbooks.com. They have an extensive selection of all the different homeschool curricula available.
4. Joining Homeschooling Groups
This is a wonderful way to be in the know around your local area. When starting out, it is important to get plugged in to groups within your local community.
Some benefits are:
- Hearing about curriculum
- Bouncing ideas off other veteran homeschooling moms
- Hearing about local events that may otherwise not be highly advertised
- Getting your kids involved in local programs
- Creating opportunities for your kids to interact with kids that are older, younger, and their own ages
I recommend getting involved!
1. Get a library card
This free resource will pay you back in so many ways. Many libraries we have been members of had wonderful resources. Events like: story time, arts and crafts, musical events, nature events, summer reading reward programs, computer access, printing, and more. We have treasured many of the libraries we have had the privilege of being a part of.
Currently where we live, our library is very small and doesn’t offer many of these programs mentioned above. However, we still love accessing many books and DVDs we would otherwise have to purchase. Being able to rotate your books for fresh new material is priceless in a homeschool.
2. Attend a Homeschool Conference
This is an event that will cost a fee to enter, but it is very much worth it. You will get to sift through a huge variety of different curricula, attend classes that will encourage and be uplifting to your homeschool, and meet so many wonderful other homeschooling families.
Homeschool conferences allow you to walk away with an enormous amount of information and knowledge. They will also prove that you are not alone on your homeschool journey.
In 2021, my family attended the CHEC homeschool conference in Denver, Colorado. I was blown away by how many people were there. Not only that they were there, but that we were all like-minded. We wanted the same for our children and were seeking information and knowledge to help in their journeys. It was so uplifting, knowing that outside of my small community were thousands of other families doing the same thing I was!
3. Join your Local Community
This is can look like joining an online community, like a local Facebook homeschool group, or a Co-op.
The benefit to being in an online group is that other homeschool families are sharing different events local to you. If you want to attend you can, if you’re busy, there is no pressure!
Each co-op is ran a little differently. However, most have a meeting time throughout the week and kids can attend different classes, while moms can teach a class that they have strengths in or volunteer in other ways.
Review for how to start homeschooling
Let’s review all the points we just covered:
- Learn your homeschooling state laws
- Highly recommended: Joining HSLDA
- Learn your teaching style
- Learn your kids’ learning style
- Pick curriculum that fit you and your kids’ needs
- Get a library card
- Highly recommended: Attend a homeschool conference
- Join a local homeschool group
There are many reasons to homeschool your kids. Personally, I enjoy the extra bonding and connection with my kids as we homeschool.
Another great aspect to homeschooling is that you are in control. You will get to approve who is influencing your kids. I feel this is so crucial and a huge perk to homeschooling, especially during the years when they are the most influenced by their own peers.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to look like public school, after all isn’t that what we are leaving behind? Enjoy blending in some of those teaching methods if you want, but ultimately, you run the show and that is a huge blessing!
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
If you’re just starting out homeschooling let me know if these tips help you! If you’ve been homeschooling for a while and have other tips to share with new homeschooling families, share them in the comments!
Are you feeling frustrated or burned out in your homeschool? Check out my article about how to have a Positive Homeschool experience!