You’ve made the decision. You are ready to get started homeschooling. But you don’t know where to get started or what to do. How to Homeschool: Getting Started on the Right Foot will provide you with the basics and get your family headed towards a successful end to your homeschooling journey. These are my tops tips on how to homeschool after homeschooling for nearly 14 years.
Find Homeschooling Support Right Away
If you are just starting out, chances are good your friends and family are not going to be supportive. Get off on the right foot by finding a support group to help encourage you, cheer you on, and talk you through issues from the very beginning. You can find a support group in real life to meet with, play with, and even learn with (called a Homeschool Coop).
When we move to a new area, I usually search Yahoo and Facebook to find a “local” homeschooling group in my area to participate in. We will start by attending the park days, or other no-pressure events, just to get to know other people in the area who homeschool in a non-threatening location. When we lived in New York, we found an awesome Chess club with a wonderful instructor through the Yahoo group.
Some are more organized than others. If you don’t see anybody organizing something – jump in and set up a park day to get things going and then poll the moms who show up to see what they are looking for and what they can help with. Be the change you wish to see. You can also do a general web search to find local groups, but chances are good if you find a Yahoo group in the area first, and then ask about local support groups, they can give you a list.
Also – if you live near a military base you will often find a support group on base. Librarians will also often know about local groups and can give you information about the groups that meet there or point you in the right direction.
If you don’t have local support, find online support. You can join an excellent Homeschooling Facebook group for support, and if you have chosen your homeschooling method, you can find a method-specific group. You can also start a group with just four or five people to keep it small and really mesh as a tight-knit group.
Set Goals for your Homeschool
When my husband and I were first starting the homeschooling journey, we decided our overarching goals for each child were 1)Learn to Love Jesus, 2) Learn To Love Reading and 3) Learn to Think. That’s pretty basic. We then set more specific learning goals for our child based on where she was academically. Having goals in mind for where you want your child to be academically and in character training three months, six months, and twelve months from now is a great way to bring focus to your search for methods and curriculum.
Research Homeschooling Methods and Pick Your Best Fit
When you begin searching out homeschooling methods, something is going to resonate with your family. Maybe even a combination of methods will resonate. You need to pick a place to start and recognize that your homeschooling style and method is going to evolve as you and your children grow into homeschooling. We started out with a more Classical bent, but have veered to a very eclectic style.
Here’s a list of common homeschooling methods with a representative curriculum to get you started in your research. For more comprehensive information visit Choosing a Homeschool Method.
Charlotte Mason Simply Charlotte Mason
Classical Education Veritas Press
Unit Studies Amanda Bennett
Hands-On Learning Timberdoodle
Traditional Education Abeka
Literature-Based Education Sonlight
Cover the Legal Requirements of Homeschooling
Each state and country has different laws regarding homeschooling. Make sure you know what they are and maintain compliance with these laws.
Pick a Day and Start Homeschooling
You don’t have to wait until you have everything lined out on gridded paper for the next six months before you put the pen to paper. Get started. Read a good book to your child, talk about the book, write about it or draw pictures. Create a work of art together inspired by the story. Work on math together at your child’s level. Congratulations, your first day is complete. Now each day, as you experience homeschooling and settle into a firm path, add a little more to your day.
Come up with a basic schedule or simply keep track of what you get done and when. Yes, it is good to be organized. But if you come to homeschooling in August and need to start in ten days – your time to plan and organize is limited. It is better to get started with something and keep it simple until you have a plan in place than to wait around until your ducks are all perfectly lined up.
Curious about where to start researching methods and curriculum or how to find encouragement? We’re listing a few of our all-time favorite books! Best Homeschool Books for Moms Getting Started is tomorrow’s post in our 31 Days Series: Everything You Need to Know About Homeschooling. Subscribe so you don’t forget to come back!