As a mom who has been homeschooling for several years, one of the questions that I frequently hear is, “How do I start homeschooling?” My own children are 12 and 16 and I know how intimidating it can be to get started. Those of us who have been homeschooling for a while realize that it’s actually pretty easy. As a newbie, it all seems super overwhelming. I get that.
If you wanted to get started homeschooling tomorrow, it’s likely that you could. How crazy is that?!? It might seem kind of kooky but in most states, it would be legal. Let’s jump in and discuss a few considerations and recommendations:
- Research the laws in your state. Laws very from state to state. Some states are super lenient (yeah, Texas!) and other states have more stringent requirements. You may have to submit annual evaluations, attendance, curriculum, etc. Don’t be intimidated by this. Simply check out your state’s laws and see what’s required. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a nifty little map and is a helpful resource.
- For the first few weeks (or months, or lifetime), consider natural learning or delight-led learning. If you need to pull your child out of school quickly, don’t stress over curriculum. Your child will be perfectly fine taking a break for a few weeks or even longer. Allow them to explore their own natural interests and see what happens.
- Join homeschooling support groups. Mama, you will need all of the support you can get. Trust me on this. Here in the south, we have access to a TON of local homeschooling communities. We have coordinated play dates, field trips, co-ops, homeschool days at local businesses, and a wide variety of educational enrichment activities. If you are in a rural area or a place where homeschooling is an oddity, join online support groups. You can find niche homeschooling communities on Facebook or private forums. Ask your local friends or start googling.
- Develop a vision. What do you want to accomplish? What is your goal for your children? How do you envision your days? How hands-on do you want to be in your child’s education? What end result do you want to accomplish? You must know where you are going before you can decide how to get there. Otherwise, you are wandering aimlessly. It might take a while to come up with your family vision. That’s 100% o.k. Once you learn what’s important, it’s easier to say NO to the unimportant.
- Start researching homeschooling styles and curriculum choices. It’s not necessary to recreate school in your home with worksheets, tests, and a schedule. Is your child an avid reader? Look for a literature based curriculum. Does your child need to be active and engage in hands-on learning. Some curricula are activity based and use crafts and manipulatives. Does your child need to be self-guided? There are all-inclusive online options. Are you comfortable with your children learning at their own pace and exploring their interests? You might want to look into unschooling.
- Ask for God to show you His will. Ask Him to bless your efforts. Invite Him into your days. This might be last on the list but it should be the FIRST thing you do.
There you have it. Now you have the basics and know how to start homeschooling. If you’ve been looking into homeschooling, I want you to feel empowered. I hope you can see that it’s much more simple that people anticipate. The most important thing is to not allow yourself to be overcome with fear and hesitation. It’s truly a lot easier than you think.