One of the most common questions when someone is considering homeschooling is the cost -…
Homeschool 101: How Do You Get Started Homeschooling?
The prospect of starting homeschooling can be a little scary and a lot daunting. Where do you start?
I first heard about homeschooling when I met a coworker who said she had been homeschooled her whole life and never attended a school. At that time the idea was completely foreign to me, and frankly, I thought it was weird.
Then as my oldest was getting ready to start Kindergarten my husband brought up the idea to me about homeschooling her. I was not for it and I thought she would miss out on a lot if she was not able to attend school. Ultimately, we explained both options to her fully, and left the decision up to her. She chose to go to school. So she attended Kindergarten, and then we moved to a different state just before she was going to start 1st grade.
When we moved it was August and the regular public school that she was supposed to attend was full, so our only option was to enroll her in a charter school. It worked great the first year (1st grade), but then the next couple years it just became more and more difficult. There was a lack of communication with the school and the teachers, she wasn’t learning at the pace that I felt she could have, and I felt like I was doing more work with her with her homework than she was getting done at school. She even began experiencing symptoms of IBS, which at the time did not occur to me was related to school stress. (After we started homeschooling she never had another issue.)
During her 3rd grade year, I began to read more and more about homeschooling. After hearing about it from my husband my curiosity was piqued, and so I just kept going back to it in my mind. It looked like so much fun! I read books and books about it, and I knew it was where God was leading us. By this time my son was also at her school, in the 1st grade. He was doing well, but he was struggling with keeping on task, as his teacher described. He wasn’t interested in sitting and reading, or sitting and doing math, or sitting and doing….. whatever. He was a very friendly, fun-loving boy who just wanted to play! And I could see how school was going to continue to be a struggle for him.
We ended up having to move to another part of town. At this point, we were left with the choice of moving the kids to a new school, or just stepping out in faith and begin homeschooling them. So that’s what we decided to do. We planned to let them finish out the year at their school so they could have closure and say goodbye to their friends and teachers.
In the meantime I was spent a lot of time checking into different homeschooling options – styles of homeschooling, curriculum options, etc. I had 2 other children at this time; my younger son, who was 4 at the end of the school year, and my baby girl. I was looking toward the future of what homeschooling would mean with all four kids, plus I had to keep our budget in mind. With all of these things in mind, I started to make choices of what we would use the following school year. I filed the affidavit with my state and I was ready to go.
We spent the summer getting used to a new schedule, which no longer included having to get lunches packed, homework in backpacks, and rushing out the door early in the morning. Our schedule now included eating breakfast together, getting chores done together, going to the park, going to the library, reading on the couch, and playing outside in the water. By following our new schedule, it was not too hard an adjustment to make that fall when we started doing schoolwork.
I hope this gives you some idea of how you can get started yourself, or hopefully you can relate somehow.
So how do YOU get started homeschooling? Here is a list to get you going:
- Check your state laws for what is required. You can find those here. File all of the necessary paperwork and keep records for yourself in a safe, reliable place.
- Decide what program you are going to follow, if any. Is it online? An all-in-one program at home? Or no program at all? Make your purchase or enroll your student so that you are ready to start when it’s time. My favorite resource for curriculum is Christian Book Distributors.
- What schedule are you going to follow for your school year? Are you going to go the traditional route? Year-round? Once you decide on your schedule then get it planned out in a calendar so you know when you can plan on days off, holidays, etc.
- Prepare your kids by explaining to them what you will be doing. Let them look at the books you will be using. Get familiar with the local library and let them pick out books.
- For more resources and information, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you read up on HSLDA.org. It lists everything you might want to know about homeschooling laws, homeschooling at every level, and they also provide legal support if you feel you need it.
I hope you find this helpful! Homeschooling can be hard, especially your first year. It’s a huge adjustment, especially if your kids are already in school. But it’s so worth it! You will all grow closer together (it might be hard to believe!), learn together, and gain a new understanding and respect for each other. You just have to commit and give it time. Good luck, and God bless!!