So, you think you wanna home school? If you’ve begun to research how to get started with homeschooling you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Curriculum, co-ops and cover schools, oh my!I remember when we first began homeschooling. (Find out why we homeschool.) My husband wasn’t immediately convinced and by the time he came around to the idea, there was less than two weeks until the school year started and I had to move quickly.
Although there is a lot to consider when you begin homeschooling your child, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Before you become beleaguered by all of the information, check out my three important steps to getting started with homeschooling.
How to Get Started With Homeschooling in Three Easy Steps
Often times homeschooling is a learn-as-you-go process for parents. Whether you’re waiting until the next school year starts or you’re attempting to start homeschooling just weeks before a new semester begins, it’s important not to let perfectionism over the process make you freeze or feel overwhelmed.
Cover the basics that must be in place before you begin and don’t sweat the long range goals right now. There’s plenty of time once you get started to plan your long term goals. My three easy steps to get started with homeschooling will help you cover the basics so that you can get started right away without worrying about legal issues and without wasting the first few weeks of homeschooling.
Step 1: Know the Laws in Your State
You need to know the homeschooling laws in your state. You can find those laws here.
Some states will require that you have a cover, or umbrella school. Some states require yearly testing. Some states are quite hands-off when it comes to homeschooling and have few requirements. Regardless, you need to know what you will be legally required to do when you take on the responsibility of home schooling your child.
To see a list of cover schools in your state, check out this list from I Am Homeschooling.
Step 2: Decide Which Homeschooling Style Appeals to You And Your Family
Decide if you will be using a virtual academy or doing structured school-at-home, relaxed home schooling, eclectic home schooling, or unschooling. Read more about the different styles of homeschooling.
When I began homeschooling, I assumed we would use the structured school-at-home style of homeschooling. I’m planner and I wanted to spend regular school hours doing school with my children. I loved teaching them, but I quickly found out that we simply didn’t need to replicate a school-at-home environment. In fact, we border on unschooling with some subjects and are fairly structured on other subjects.
Our family’s homeschooling style is best described as eclectic. Other homeschool families I know take a complete unschooling approach. Still others are very structured. We are all homeschooling in a way that works for our family.
If you’re unsure of which style of homeschooling is right for your family, here are a few quizzes that will help you decide.
What Kind of Homeschooler Are You? from Eclectic Homeschooling
What’s Your Homeschool Style? from GoToQuiz
This one isn’t really a quiz, but still contains valuable information based on your responses to the questions asked – Choosing a Homeschool Approach from Homeschool Diner.
Choose a Homeschool Curriculum and Purchase Supplies
If you will be using a virtual academy your curriculum will be planned and provided for you.
For structured school-at-home and relaxed home schooling, you’ll need to decide on a curriculum. I recommend 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style.
For eclectic home schoolers, read my post, How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum, about the resources I use to plan my own curriculum each year.
Unschoolers, the world is your oyster! Any of the links I’ve posted already will be helpful to you as you set your children on the path to a life-long love of learning.
For supplemental resources, I suggest checking out my posts about free online home schooling resources.
Now that you have the beginning steps to home schooling to focus on, relax. It will all come together before it’s time to begin a new school year. Home schooling is only as complicated as you make it.
Keep in mind that you may likely change your mind over the years about what works for your family and what doesn’t. This may mean changing homeschool styles or curriculum. That’s fine and homeschool families do it all the time. The world is now your classroom. Have fun watching your children learn and enjoy the journey.