Recently, a new acquaintance approached me hopefully. “Could I get your advice on how to get started home schooling?” she asked. Since putting together a plan of action for this lovely woman, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I were to share how to get started homeschooling with our readers?” If this is your first year homeschooling, here are my recommended 10 steps to homeschool success:
How to Get Started Home Schooling: 10 Steps to Success
Getting yourself ready for homeschooling
1. First, and foremost, pray about homeschooling, and be ready to listen to God’s answer (His answers always line up with His Word).
2. Is your spouse on board? If not, pray about that, too. Discuss the benefits to the whole family… being in charge of your children’s education, flexible scheduling, more family time. I would definitely only homeschool if both parents support it, but with a little time and understanding of what homeschooling actually entails, you may find yourselves in happy agreement.
3. Once you have made the decision together, check your local reporting laws, and write any deadlines on your calendar. HSLDA.org is a great resource for home school law. You can also become a member for a nominal fee, and have both practical and legal support at your fingertips.
Getting your children ready for homeschooling
4. Join a local homeschool group that fits your families needs. Do you want mainly fellowship and field trips? Or more of a co-op for academics? Just search for “homeschool groups in…” on the internet. Better yet, talk to homeschooling acquaintances.
5. Choose a homeschool curriculum. As you get started homeschooling, you will find there are several learning styles, many types of homeschooling, and hundreds of choices for curricula. It can be overwhelming! Again, talk to a homeschooling friend, and check out the great curriculum reviews at The Curriculum Choice. I also love the book A Field Guide to Home Schooling by Christine Field.
Getting the house ready for homeschooling
6. Establish some routines with your children before you begin. During the beginning of the year, it may be best to focus more on those routines rather than digging hard into subject matter. Start light, and get the children used to doing certain things each morning. Not sure what routines to establish? Check out these helpful homeschool habits. For instance, I especially love the “Before 8:45 checklist.” Whatever time you choose, this will help foster a smooth morning routine and teach responsibility.
7. Choose a place to “do school.” I’ve done it many ways. In one house, I homeschooled at the dining room table, with books and supplies in a nearby cupboard. At the end of the school day, we took five minutes to pick up and put away our things, turning the room back into a place to eat. In another house, I had a whole homeschool room, complete with a teacher’s desk and bulletin board.
These days, I’m somewhere in-between. We have a combination school room / guest room. The girls have lightweight desks (hand-crafted by Dad) that can be easily moved into the dining room or living room should Grandma come and stay for a few weeks. Each girl decorates her desktop as she wishes, with pictures, flowers, stuffed animals, etc. They each have a pen/pencil cup and a little basket for homeschool supplies such as a calculator or protractor, for instance.
Getting your calendar ready for homeschooling
8. Let friends and family know your home school schedule and that you will be busy during that time. This will let them know you take homeschooling seriously and minimize interruptions by outsiders.
9. Make a homeschool schedule… a flexible plan. I plan the girls’ lessons one or two weeks in advance, no more. Things always change and we get behind or ahead, and I have to adjust. Make the plans in pencil… and keep an eraser nearby.
Getting your heart ready for homeschooling
10. Most importantly, begin each homeschool day with prayer. Maybe together, maybe just you desperately praying for grace and wisdom in your closet before you start the day! You’ll never make it successfully without putting God before your day. I know this from experience in my years of homeschool.
Seasoned home schoolers, what would you add to this list?
~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse