It’s that time of year again! Fall is just around the corner, the days are getting a little shorter, and our darling children are headed back to school! But for some of us back to school means back to homeschool. It’s a growing form of education and every year there are more and more families making the decision to home educate their child(ren).
Have you ever entertained the idea of homeschooling? Usually the big question is how do I homeschool! And the good news is the answer is not as complicated as one might think.
Here are 8 steps to get your started on how to homeschool:
- Decide to homeschool! Sounds simple, right? Talk it over with your spouse or partner and decide if homeschooling is right for your family. Find a good book (website, magazine, forum, etc.) on how to homeschool and homeschooling and do some research before you dive in.
- Connect with other homeschoolers. When trying to figure out how to homeschool, those who are already homeschooling are a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. If you don’t already have friends or family that are homeschooling (and even if you do) seek out a local support group. You may be able to find homeschoolers through your public school board. Also, Homeschooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) can help you find support and they are located in both Canada and the United States.
- Determine homeschool requirements. Find out the requirements on how o homeschool in your district/province/state. It is legal to homeschool but some areas have other requirements. Contact HSLDA (Canada or US) to find out the specific law in your area.
- Choose a homeschool curriculum. This one’s a biggie and it is usually the most challeging part for any family trying to determine how to homeschool. Curriculum options and homeschooling techniques are so varied that it can be overwhelming. You can do full curriculum packages, online courses/programs, mix and match subjects from different curriculum providers, or even put together your own curriculum. And there’s no right or wrong choice here! What’s right for one family or child is not necessarily right for the other. Talk to other homeschoolers to get suggestions and ideas but don’t feel just because one mom likes a certain curriculum it will be right for you. The best advice is to not buy too much at once (I’m guilty of this) and don’t be afraid to switch a curriculum if it’s not working for your family/children. As you journey along the path of how to homeschool, you will discover what works for your children and the curriculum choices that suit your family best.
- Get the house ready for homeschooling! No, you don’t need to go out and get little tables and chairs, hang a blackboard on the wall, or place an apple on your desk when figuring out how to homeschool (but if that works for you, go for it). Getting your home ready to homeschool can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. Most homeschoolers end up around a kitchen or dining room table. All you will probably need is a bookcase or two and maybe some storage containers. Some families have a dedicated homeschooling room, some have a corner of the dining room, and for some homeschooling has taken over the whole house!
- Set up a homeschool schedule. Again, determining a schedule when figuring out how to homeschool is a varied and personal thing; what works for one family might not work for another. It’s going to depend on the ages of the kids and how many kids you have, whether the parent still holds a job or has other responsibilities, and even the curriculum choices. Some homeschoolers do use planners (and there are homeschool specific ones out there) to keep themselves on track. However, homeschooling doesn’t need to be a full day affair. Homeschooling parents can accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time because of the one-on-one nature of homeschooling. Parents can choose to homeschool just in the mornings (afternoons, evenings, etc.) or take a day off a week for extra curricular activities (field trips, family days, etc.). The choice is yours! And just like curriculum, the best advice when determining homeschool schedule is to be flexible and don’t be afraid to make adjustments if something is not working for you.
- Explain homeschooling to the kids. If your kids have already been in public/private school, homeschool can be an adjustment. Tell your children why they’re going to be homeschooled, focus on the positive, and answer their questions. Give the kids some choice during the day (it’s one of the perks of homeschooling) and even get their imput where appropriate.
- Relax and have fun! Homeschooling is more than just ABCs and 123s. You’re building character and teaching them to be the best they can be. Enjoy the time you spend together whether it’s around the kitchen table or curled up on the sofa reading books. And don’t forget to give yourself a break every now and then. Let your spouse or partner, the grandparents, another homeschooling parent, etc. take over for the day. The kids will enjoy some “fresh” material and you’ll get your battery recharged! 🙂
Welcome back to HOMEschool!