If you’re thinking about homeschooling, chances are you have a lot of questions; I know I did when I started! 15+ years ago, there really wasn’t much of a “blueprint” to follow, and most homeschool moms either tried to go it alone or received their mentoring from support groups (many of which are awesome). Today, though, there’s a huge online homeschooling community to answer your questions when you’re getting started with homeschooling
Affiliate links may appear on this page. Please see our disclosure for details.
If you’re new to homeschooling (or still thinking about diving in), here are some steps to get you started!
Steps to Get Started with Homeschooling
The decision to start homeschooling is usually centered on your kids. In our house, my son begged me to homeschool him, much to my surprise!
You may have found that the traditional school setting doesn’t work well for your kids and you have decided that homeschooling is the best fit option. Your child may have needs that just can’t be met well in a group of 25 kids, or they may be involved in sports and require a more flexible schedule.
You may want more control over what your child learns, when they learn it, and how. You’re not alone!
Getting started with homeschool may seem intimidating at first, but it’s rather easy as long as you have a step by step guide to help you get started. Today I’m sharing some steps to get started with homeschooling so that you can enter into this new lifestyle option without losing your mind.
Know the Laws
Your first step to getting started with homeschool is to research your state laws surrounding homeschooling. You can find yours at HSLDA, as well as a lot of other helpful information. You can also contact your state homeschooling organization, as many offer a lot of great resources for new families.
All states allow homeschooling, but there are some various regulations on hand that vary from state to state. For example, some states have the option to register as a private school while others require that you register with an umbrella school. Some require standardized testing and/or an evaluation while others have no requirements at all – they leave homeschooling completely up to the parents. Some states require families to register by a certain date while others have no registration requirement.
Be sure to know all of the homeschooling laws that pertain to your region. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but it is important to follow those laws. Having your ducks in a row up front can save you a lot of headaches and help you plan!
Pick a Curriculum
If you love literature and nature study, Charlotte Mason may be the right method for you. If your child loves hands-on projects or following rabbit trails, you might find that unit studies are the perfect fit!
You have so many options available to you, and you have the freedom to pick the best method for your family. If textbooks and worksheets work well for your kids, awesome! There are plenty available, and most are fairly easy to work with.
If a literature-based curriculum or projects are a better fit, they’re also available! (I actually have written some you may like, they’re available in my shop!)
There are also many online programs available for homeschool students. One thing to be aware of…some online programs are actually public school online. While this works well for some families, it does mean that legally your child is a public school student. This may result in required testing, inability to participate in some homeschool activities, and a lack of control over your child’s schedule or curriculum. Each family has different needs and is free to make their own choice, but it’s important to have all of the information up front.
Locate your Support Groups
When you homeschool, you’ll find that community is very important. You will find that your region has both state level and town or county level homeschooling groups. Try to find these groups as you’ll be able to plan field trips and other gatherings with other homeschooling kids.
This is not only beneficial for your kids, but it allows you to get some adult time in while homeschooling your kids all day long. The homeschool groups in each region and town offer varying levels of support during your process of getting started as well as continuing on with your homeschooling days.
You can also find a thriving homeschool community online. You’re more than welcome to join my Facebook group, Homeschool Well on a Budget, as well as our forum at Homeschool Speak. We’d love to have you!
It’s important to realize that the first year of homeschooling is one of transition; it will most likely take you about a year to really master your homeschooling efforts.
You’ll need this first year to test out curriculum options, pay attention to how each of your kids learns best and switch around homeschooling hours to suit your scheduling needs as an adult. It’s best to be prepared that patience will be necessary during this transition to homeschooling.
Be patient with yourself, the process of homeschooling and with your kids. Within a year, you’ll have a better handle on this wild ride we call homeschooling.
There you have it – your easy-to-follow guide for steps to get started with homeschooling. This is a huge change in lifestyle and parenthood for everyone, so it’s best to take one step at a time and remain patient during the transition process from traditional schooling to homeschooling.