When people decide that they want to homeschool one of their biggest questions is “Where do I even start?” It can be overwhelming to figure out what you need to know legally, what you’re going to teach your child, how you’re going to balance homeschool with everything else and so much more!
But getting started is actually pretty simple! It may seem intimidating or overwhelming but really there are just a few steps to take to get you on the right path to starting your homeschool journey!
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#1- Know the homeschool laws in your state-
Each state has different homeschool laws, record keeping, and reporting procedures.Some states have more regulation and some require almost nothing! So it is important to know what the laws are for the state you live in. Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a great resource where you can find information for your state. Once you click on your state they have step by step instructions as well as links to various forms you might need!
It is also a great idea to find an online community from your state where you can ask questions. A simple search on Facebook with your state and “homeschoolers” should result in a group you can join. Often the legal aspects can be confusing so it is great to have people to ask for real life examples of what is expected!
It is important to pay attention to important dates, and record keeping details so that you can start strong and have everything in order as you go through the year.
#2- Figure out the logistics of your homeschool-
Maybe you already have this figured out but if you don’t you’ll need to! Who is going to be doing the teaching, do you have a space in your house, what days and times are you going to work on schoolwork?
If both parents work, if you have multiple children or a small house, you may need to sit down and come up with a plan of action to make it all work.
Remember homeschooling doesn’t have to happen at a certain time of day, you can do school work in the evenings or on weekends, it can be done in the car or sitting outside a siblings dance class, homeschooling is flexible so you can come up with what works best for your family! Homeschooling can usually be done in a much shorter time than a day of traditional school so that makes it easy to fit into your schedule!
You also don’t need a designated spot or school room. Figure out where you can be comfortable and focus, that might mean at the dining room table, in the kitchen or laying on the living room floor! Schooling can happen anywhere!
#3- Choose a Homeschool Curriculum-
This might be the most overwhelming of the initial steps. There are so many curriculums to choose from and so many things to consider. What is your child’s learning style? How much money do you have to invest? How much time is needed? The list goes on and on.
Making the investment in a curriculum can feel like a huge commitment! If you need guidance on what to consider and how to pick the right one you can check out this excellent article on choosing a curriculum. It covers a ton of aspects of curriculum and will hopefully be a great resource. If you are tight on cash check out my list of free homeschool curriculums!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Join homeschooling groups and ask for input, consult friends who homeschool, Google the program you’re thinking of and look for reviews and blog posts about it. Some companies even offer sample lessons so that you can give it a try and see if it works for your child!
And remember, you can always pivot! If you choose a curriculum and it just doesn’t fit it is ok to switch!
If you’re just not sure what is going to work consider deschooling for a few weeks or even months to learn your family’s rhythm, your children’s learning style, get a better sense of what will work for you, and give yourself time to decide in a relaxed manner instead of under stress.
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Once you’ve got these first 3 steps covered you are ready to dive into your homeschooling journey! There is a lot to learn about homeschooling, and many other aspects that we’ll be helping you with along the way. But once you’ve done everything you need to do legally, worked out the logistics, and decided on a curriculum you have taken the first important steps!!