New to Homeschooling? The Basics in 5 Steps
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As a homeschool consultant and homeschool group leader, the question I get asked most about homeschooling is where to start.
New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It
Where to start is a common question among moms who have decided to homeschool. The feeling of panic that sets in once you feel called to homeschool can be overwhelming, I know! Not only have I heard hundreds of other mom’s stories that are all quite similar, but I was also there years ago. I remember knowing I wanted to homeschool but past that, I wasn’t quite sure HOW, what do you do next, right?
Then you announce to your extended family the plan to homeschool, and as you are trying to navigate through how to start this journey, you also have to manage what everyone else thinks. Or answer all the questions they might be bombarding you with; and quite possibly you don’t know the answer either! It can be pretty scary, and you can lose confidence in your choices quickly when people start to question you.
Well, I am here to tell you after a decade of homeschooling…Don’t Get Discouraged!
It can all come together beautifully.
5 Basic Steps
Step 1: PRAYER. Let the Lord guide you, He CAN and WILL equip you! Far better than you can imagine, that I can promise you. Pray for anyone that may not be encouraging to you about your new plan to homeschool; God can manage that situation for you. Your confidence is found in Christ, not what others think you can accomplish.
Step 2: Remember once you begin this journey, it is precisely that; a journey! So don’t try to overdo it, and over accomplish anything in your 1st year. I tell people that it took me a few years before I became confident in what I was doing. That is the truth, I learned so much over the 1st few years, and we have a fantastic rhythm going now, I would do it all over again – even all my mistakes if it got me right here still. Give yourself grace as you learn what works for you.
Step 3: DO NOT do it alone. Find your tribe. Yep, you NEED other homeschooling moms for support. You need a mentor mom; find a friend, family member, a woman from your church, someone who has slightly older kids or graduated a child so that you get some much-needed support and advice from someone who has done it. Many times I see moms friend the other mom who maybe just began homeschooling herself, that is wonderful of course but don’t forget she may not have a lot of experience yet either. So it is useful to friend moms in all stages of homeschooling.
Step 4: You need to find the answers to a few questions before you begin.
- How does your child learn? Is he/she visual, auditory, kinesthetic? Determining learning styles will help when choosing curriculum, you want them to be engaged so if you know exactly how they learn best and process information, you can select books, curricula, and make a homeschool plan perfectly curtailed to them. Isn’t that cool? No better education than one perfectly planned by the momma that knows them best. Homeschooling can also be a wise choice if you have a dyslexic child or a child with special needs. A customized homeschool plan might be a perfect fit.
- What is your budget? Narrow down your homeschool budget and make a list of all the things you will need to get started. Notice I said NEED. Over the years I have made a lot of purchases that once I looked back on, we didn’t need that or sometimes never even used it. So don’t go overboard, you can always start and see what you need as you go along. Don’t forget supplies for science experiments or hands-on projects, books/readers, manipulatives, whatever you need through the year or semester depending on how far you choose to plan.
- What style of schooling most interests you and your child? Classic approach, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Unit Studies, Themed Studies, etc.? Don’t just choose what works for you, think about you meshing with the style of teaching it as well as your child meshing with the learning side. I have made this mistake a few times on some curricula, and you need to remember that if it doesn’t work after a while, it’s ok to switch to what will work mid-year, or anytime. That is another perk of homeschooling. If it isn’t working, change it. It may take a few tries before you find the perfect fit for you both. You may also be choosing a few different things for different children based on age and learning style.
- Are you going to buy curriculum, “school in a box”, or pull from various sources to school? This one can take some research. Read up on as much as you can, talk to your veteran homeschool moms, read reviews, and make a choice you feel most comfortable with. I began one way and had ended up years later doing it another way; it’s natural to evolve and grow into new styles and ways of thinking.
- What type of schedule or routine do you want to try? Kids thrive on routines and knowing what to expect. You don’t need to set up “school at home” 8am-3pm, another perk of homeschooling is schooling when it works best for YOUR family. You can have a routine, and it helps with the flow of the day, plan maybe what days of the week you will school and BE FLEXIBLE. Things will change, someone will get sick, and it’s OK. Move things around, or take the needed time off.
Step 5: Relax & Enjoy. Have fun with your kids; homeschooling is a blessing. I made the mistake of worrying so much about checking off the boxes and getting our “work” done that I forgot to have fun! Make memories, make mistakes & use them as teachable lessons and opportunities for character building. We homeschool for all the reasons we quickly forget, always keep in mind why you are homeschooling. Whatever your reason, keeping God at the center of your school is essential. So enjoy the blessings in front of you every morning. He’s got you friend!
Isaiah 55:9 NIV
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I know it can be scary, overwhelming, and you might feel a little lost; please don’t. Know that myself, and almost every mom I ever met through homeschooling at some point felt the same way. You CAN do this, and there is a beautiful journey ahead of you; God already has planned out for you and your precious kiddos. Enjoy the beautiful ride, and there are no better faces to see looking back at you every minute of it.
Here are a few books with fantastic encouragement, tips, and Christian homeschool philosophies that I think are worthwhile reads.
I created a workbook to help get you started with ease and set a strong foundation for your homeschool from the start. The Home Education Road Map
I also offer one on one coaching to help get you on the path to homeschooling success. Don’t waste time struggling when you can start enjoying home educating now, let’s chat.