Do you want to get started homeschooling but you don’t know where to start? I think many of us new homeschooling moms all face the same apprehension with all that accompanies getting started. It doesn’t have to be intimidating, I promise! Especially if you are starting from the beginning with preschool and kindergarten.
Know your state laws!
This is the first thing that you need to research. Every state is different in their laws. Some states make it very easy for homeschooling while others make it much harder. Be sure to follow all the rules! The last thing you need is for the state to come knocking on your door.
You’ll want to look up at what age you have to report your little one. I live in NYS so we do not have to send in our letter of intent to homeschool, grade reports, curriculum choices or attendance to the state until the child is 6, which typically is the 1st grade.
You’ll also want to look up how much of your child’s work that you need to save and file away as proof that they did, in fact, do school if anyone was to come knocking on your door. It’s better to be safe than sorry with this!
You’ll want to know when and where to turn in your quarterly grades.
Research the different styles of homeschooling.
This can get overwhelming at first so don’t go overboard. I think you’ll learn fairly quickly which style you and your child fall into.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to accomplish by homeschooling?
- How do I want to teach? Through independent seat work? Online? Hands-on?
Homeschooling isn’t a one size fits all. Every family is going to do school a tad differently. That’s okay. You want to be sure to pick the style that works for your family.
There are a few different styles you can take on.
Traditional – this style reflects the modern day classroom setting that you are used to seeing. Every subject has a textbook, there is a lot seatwork, and students typically work independently.
Classical – with this style you are teaching your child in three different stages – grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.
Charlotte Mason – is a style that is heavily based on rich literature and learning through hands-on approach within nature. It’s a slower, gentler approach that appeals to younger students.
Eclectic – a mixture of them any of the styles!
To get a deeper understanding of the different styles listed and others, check out Simply Charlotte Mason which delves further into each.
This is the fun part! Once you decide on your teaching style and your children’s learning style you can start looking into all the different curriculum sets on the market. Now this can get overwhelming too but who doesn’t love shopping! Once you narrow down what type of homeschooling you want to be you can narrow down your search and ignore the styles that don’t appeal to you. If you go with the eclectic style then things may get overwhelming.
There are so many great choices now adays. You can pick and choose individual subjects from different companies or you can order a complete set instead with everything included. I tend to like the complete sets. Most have a teacher’s manual which has each week’s and day’s lesson plans already preplanned for you! I love that!
Here’s a brief list of sources I’d start with:
My Father’s World (Charlotte Mason)
Sonlight (Charlotte Mason)
Tapestry of Grace (Classical)
Math U See (they also have spelling u see as well!)
Rod and Staff (Traditional)
The longer you homeschool the more you will learn what curriculums do and don’t work for not only you but also your children. If you hate teaching it you are going to dread school time. And you can switch at any time if you find something is just not working for your family.
Organize and plan your year.
If you buy a complete set most of your planning will be done for you. If you only have one child in school at the moment you won’t need to do much else. But if you are homeschooling different grades, then at some point, before the start of your school year, you need to start planning out the school year. You can do this weekly, monthly or even yearly if you are brave. Which I’m not, but Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler is and she has some great tips on how to make your lesson plans. She also has free printable schedules if you’re interested. I tried using one for preschool but it didn’t fit our family.
This year with a first grader and a kindergartener, I plan on planning out weekly lesson plans using quick notes indicating what day from each boys’ unit we are on. We are pretty relaxed around here so doing it weekly will keep that flexibility in place. It will also help with the mommy brain as I juggle two students.
Once your curriculum arrives, you’ll want to organize it well. Decide on where you’ll be doing school and where you’ll be storing everything. Having all the curriculum organized ahead of time makes for a much better school year. Laminate needed pieces, put math stuff with math stuff, science with science and be sure to keep craft supplies nearby. It will only frustrate you while trying to teach a lesson to have to run around your house looking for scissors or glue.
If you do lesson plans weekly, be sure to pull out each week’s papers, books, and supplies to have on hand.
You can’t forget to pray! Ask the Lord for guidance and direction with each one of these steps. If God called you to homeschool then be confident knowing that He will equip you to do so!
I created a free printable for you to print off to keep you on track and hopefully feeling less overwhelmed.
Still overwhelmed with getting started homeschooling? Check out the book Homeschooling 101 by Erica Arndt. This guide helped me tremendously when I first got started. And I’ve gone back to it many times. She also includes so many free printables with the purchase! My favorite is the lesson planner. Check out my full review my clicking on the image below.
Looking for a homeschool planner? Check out this great organizational tool, available as a printable PDF.
Your turn! Are you ready to start your homeschooling journey? Are there any other questions I can answer for you? Or what would you add? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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