10 Steps to Help You Begin Homeschooling
Homeschooling is a growing trend in education that provides families with the flexibility and control to tailor their children’s education to their individual needs and interests. With homeschooling, parents have the ability to create a customized curriculum, set their own schedule, and provide a learning environment that suits their child’s unique learning style.
If you are considering homeschooling, its important to understand the basics of how to get started and what you can expect. This article provides an overview of the steps you can take to begin homeschooling.
It’s not as complicated as it seems but it can absolutely feel that way along with overwhealm. All of us veterans have experienced those feelings before figuring out what works for us.
10 Steps to Help you Begin Homeschooling
1. Research homeschooling laws in your state.
It’s important to research laws because there is no federal regulation and each state is regulated differently. While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, some states have strict laws regarding homeschool, while others have more relaxed policies. By researching the laws in your state, you will know what is required of you as a homeschooling parent, such as reporting to the state, testing and record-keeping, if anything.
This information is crucial in ensuring that you are homeschooling legally and that your child’s education is recognized by the state. Additionally, understanding the homeschool laws in your state can help you make informed decisions about your homeschooling plan, and ensure that you are in compliance with the law.
2. Determine your educational philosophy
This is otherwise known as a homeschool method, which isn’t necessary to start but is worth investigating to help you figure out what style clicks with you.
Educational philosophy is a set of beliefs and values about teaching and learning that guide a homeschooling parent in making decisions about curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Some common philosophical approaches in homeschooling include:
- Charlotte Mason / Literary-based
Each approach has its own unique goals, methods, materials and books, and homeschooling families may blend elements of different philosophies to create a personalized approach that works best for their child.
Personally, I began with Montessori and gave that up rather quickly. Then for years followed a Charlotte Mason like schedule before finally transitioning to a literature-based, relaxed, eclectic style where I rely on read-alouds, group work and individual study. I don’t use a schedule, instead my kids know what is expected each day and that works really well for us. We also homeschool year-round, which allows us to take long breaks when we want and travel!
3. Evaluate your child’s educational needs and learning style
Children can have different learning styles, which refers to the ways in which they process, retain, and recall information beds. Some common learning styles in children include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
Visual learners tend to learn best through seeing and observing, while auditory learners excel through listening and speaking. Kinesthetic learners are those who learn best through hands-on activities and movement. Reading/writing learners tend to prefer learning through written materials, and interpersonal learners thrive through interaction with others. Finally, intrapersonal learners prefer self-reflection and introspection.
Understanding a child’s learning style can help parents and teachers tailor their instruction to support their child’s strengths and provide opportunities for growth in areas of challenge. However, it is also important to remember that learning styles can change and that children can benefit from exposure to a variety of learning experiences.
4. Create a homeschooling plan, including a schedule, curriculum and assessment method (Maybe!)
Creating a schedule, finding appropriate curriculum and determining effective assessment methods are all critical components of a successful homeschooling experience.
A well structured schedule or routine helps to ensure that students have the time and resources they need to meet their educational goals, while providing a sense of stability.
Selecting appropriate curriculum is important because it provides the foundation for learning, and helps students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
Assessment methods provide a means of measuring a students progress and understanding, and help to identify areas of strength and weakness.
5. Set up a suitable learning environment at home.
A suitable home learning environment does not necessarily mean you need a dedicated learning room. Do you have a table for school work? Books? A couch for snuggly reading time and group work. Access to outside play? A kitchen to experiment in? You get the gist. What I truly mean by setting up a suitable learning space is providing a cozy, safe place where learning can happen easily and together.
A few items that help set up a nice space is:
- Easy access to books, learning materials, educational tools, technology, musical instruments, card and board games and art supplies.
- Organization: It’s really hard for kids to learn in a dirty, disorderly space. You do not have to kill yourself over the clutter and cleaning, but having a space for everything really helps to minimize distractions for both you and your children.
- Flexibility: A home environments that allows for flexibility and adaptability and can accommodate changes in a students needs and interests.
- Safety: A home that is physically and emotionally safe for students, free from bullying, abuse or neglect.
- Support: Adults who are responsive to student needs and can provide encouragement, guidance and feedback.
6. Find and join a homeschooling community for support and resources
Joining a homeschooling community can provide many benefits, including access to resources, support and encouragement from other families and opportunities to connect and collaborate with other homeschoolers. Examples include:
- Online forums
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Homeschooling organizations
- Local Homeschooling Groups
7. Consider using a combination of books, educational software, apps and hands-on activities like math manipulatives and board games.
Using lots of different resources can provide a well-rounded and engaging learning experience for homeschoolers. Books provide a foundation of knowledge and information, while educational software, apps and outside activities provide interactive and practical ways to reinforce learning and apply concepts.
Hands on activities can be especially effective for subjects like math, science, and social studies, as they provide a tangible way to understand and retain information.
Additionally, tech can offer personalized and interactive learning experience and can be used to supplement traditional textbook learning.
8. Regularly evaluate and track your child’s progress
Regularly evaluating and tracking your homeschool child’s progress is important in ensuring that they are making gains and staying on track. Evaluation and tracking can take many forms, including formal assessments, informal check-ins and portfolio reviews.
Regular assessments, like standardized tests, can help you determine if your child is mastering the material, and if any adjustments need to be made to the curriculum or teaching approach.
Informal check ins, such as discussions or observations, can provide a more in-depth understanding of your child’s understanding and progress.
Portfolio reviews can showcase your child’s work and demonstrate their growth overtime. Tracking progress also helps you set realistic goals and learning objectives.
9. Begin homeschooling, and make necessary adjustments to your plan a needed.
Don’t be afraid to just start and tweak as you go. It really is the only way to figure it all out. It is important to be flexible and open to making adjustments. Start slow, set goals, find a routine or schedule that works and get support when needed.
10. Who said you had to stay home to homeschool?!
With the increased interest in homeschooling, there is never a dull moment. In fact, you may find yourself overwheled with activity choices and never find yourself actually home!
Stay informed about homeschooling resources, events, homeschool specific days at learning centers, as well as, extracurricular activities in your area. These outside activities can help you outsource areas that are challenging to your student, are passions of your student or just plain fun and new.
Utilizing your community can enhance the homeschooling experience, give you a break and provide valuable opportunities for growth and discovery.
It’s a lot to take in, but the most important take away is to just start (even if it’s just one subject for now)
Homeschooling can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both parents and children. By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition into homeschooling and set the foundation for a successful educational journey. Remember to take your time, do your research and stay organized and you’ll be well on your way to creating a customized and effective homeschool program.
With patience, determination, and a passion for learning, homeschooling can provide your child with a unique, quality and personalized education that will help them reach their full potential.