Ready for an adventure?
Step 1: Breath
If you are new to homeschooling, or have just started to explore the idea, you are likely feeling overwhelmed. There is a mountain of information available on the subject, sifting through it all may leave you feeling discouraged. Remember, you do not have to have it all figured out on day one of your homeschooling adventure. In fact, you are going to need to give yourself a trial period. Be patient with yourself and your kids as you enter this new world.
Keep in mind:
"We're not trying to do "School at Home." We're trying to do Homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We're not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we're trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The "formal" portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg."
~ Steve and Jane Lambert ( Five In A Row )
Step 2: Find a support group:
You can try to go this alone, but you will save yourself a lot of time and energy by finding people that you can rely on to answer questions and lend support. Both you and your children need a network of people that you can depend on. Check out our SUPPORT GROUP page to find local groups in your area. If you do not see a group in your area, consider starting one. One of the best ways to find other homeschool families is to get out and support homeschool programs in your community. Homeschoolers are an extremely friendly and accepting group of people.
Caution: You may be tempted to find a successful Homeschool parent, who seems to have it all together, and implement exactly what she is doing in your home. This will be your first mistake. No two people are alike and no two families will function the same way. Each family has their own set of personality traits and special needs. Successful homeschooling can take on many forms. For some this may mean waking up at 5:00 am every morning and following a strict schedule of predetermined lesson plans. For others, this may mean waking up naturally and following a more flexible schedule of child lead learning. The beauty of homeschooling is that there is no wrong way. The best homeschool Mom is the one who feels right to you.
Step 3: Create a Learning Environment:
Creating an environment for learning is a very important step. It is easier to think and learn in a clean space. Do some clearing and organizing. Get some supplies; paper, pencils, arts and crafts, books, etc. Establish a routine that is dependable. When do you get up? When do you do house chores? When do you study? When do you play? Rid your home of distractions and set up structure to regulate things like television, video games, or use of the computer. Start learning with your child. Read books, do projects, take nature walks, go to the library, or take a field trip. Soon, your whole family will view your home as a place to ask questions and seek learning opportunities together.
Step 4: Find out the Laws in your state regarding homeschooling.
Before you decide how to approach things like curriculum or philosophy of education, it is a good idea to find out what the state is going to require you to do. Find information on State laws HERE.
Step 5: Identify your homeschooling philosophy.
Most of you have probably never thought much about the subject. Identifying your individual philosophy on education will help you to decide how to approach homeschooling. It can also help you to cultivate a teaching style that fits your personality. You will find as you begin to search for curriculum that each stems from a different philosophy of education. You will avoid wasting time, money, and energy that you do not have, by having even the most basic understanding of where you stand on philosophy of education. You can read a brief overview on a few of the many philosophies HERE or you can take our quiz HERE to discover the philosophy that best fits your views. Remember, there is no “right way” to homeschool.
Step 6: Decide on which curriculum you will use:
This can be a very overwhelming step. Do not let this step paralyze you. A wise woman once said, “Curricula are the tools that you use to build your house, they are not the house itself.” Do some experimenting with your child before you spend hundreds of dollars. In the beginning, it does not have to be complicated. You know that it is important for your child to do math. Visit your local Homeschool or Teacher Supply Store and purchase some inexpensive workbooks on their grade level. They need to read too right? Go to the Library together. Spelling? There are inexpensive workbooks for that too. Hate workbooks? Good news! We live in the information age. Search pinterest for creative ideas to teach spelling or visit online websites that offer free educational games listed HERE. Working with your child one on one will help you to discover their learning styles and what kinds of materials you will need to help them succeed.
Some families will purchase one curriculum to cover all subjects. Others will piece together a variety of curricula to fit specific needs of their children. When asking others for advice, keep in mind that what one person loves the other may despise. This is not a “one size fits all.” Take your time and be patient. It may take you a year or two to find what works for your family. The important thing is just to get started.
Step 7: Dive in!
You can't dip your toe into homeschooling. The faster you dive in the sooner you can work out all of the kinks. Try not to take everything too seriously. Have fun with your children! One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is time to explore, learn, grow, and HAVE FUN with your children. Ready . . . Set . . . Go!