You may be wondering how you got to this place... how did you decide to homeschool? That was me 11 years ago... and I never looked back! It may not be what you expected or hoped for, or perhaps this is the moment that you've been waiting for! Either way, starting up a homeschool life can feel overwhelming. While each family's homeschooling life is as unique as they are, there are a few things you can do to get started!
1. Take a deep breath-- no schooling option is perfect!
There will be benefits and drawbacks to each schooling option, and it's our goal to make this school year the best it can be for our children. While you may find that you miss certain aspects of public or private school life, you may also notice new things about homeschooling life that can't be beat (for example...no packing lunches. No pickup lines. You decide what time school starts!). Make the most of this choice for this year! It doesn't mean this is forever, but you can make intentional choices that will make this year great!
2. Look at state requirements for homeschooling.
Early on take a look at what your state requires for homeschoolers, so you are sure to report in a timely manner. If you choose to do virtual school, that will look differently than reporting as a homeschooling family.
3. Think about what you would like to have your school day look like.
You don't have to recreate the school day at home or make your kitchen table like a classroom. This is a chance to teach your children to be lifelong learners-- to learn in a context that is comfortable and part of their everyday lives. It doesn't just take place in a classroom-- learning can happen anywhere! Take a look at what you'd like your approach to homeschooling look like-- what would you like to see your days looking like? Books and workbooks? Nature walks? Longs days of class time, or a shorter school day? These kinds of choices determine what kinds of curriculum you will choose and how you will structure your day.
4. Choose curriculum that approach you'd like to see in your day.
There are a variety of curriculum choices that will help you create a schedule and routine that looks right for you! Be sure to choose curriculum that helps you accomplish just that-- deciding what your day looks like!
5. Considering your children's ages and stages-- create a schedule or routine that will allow you to work with them together, one-on-one as well as independently.
It will be an opportunity to create fun, special memories together to look back on the time you spent all together, and in one-on-one learning with your children. To be able to do that, you will want to set up opportunities for each of your children to also have some independent activities that will continue to engage them in fun ways. Creating games, learning centers, worksheets, independent practice, projects or sensory toys--there's something they can do on their own at every age!
6. If you work from home-- it's still possible to homeschool!
Take into consideration how you might fit your work schedule into the homeschool routine. Making sure you have the time scheduled and set during times when you can have few interruptions will provide you with an opportunity for success. Remember-- you get to decide what your homeschool schedule looks like! If what works best for your work schedule is to work in the morning, and do school in the afternoon, you can do that!
7. Organize your space for homeschooling.
Make sure you have what you need ahead of time. Having certain supplies on-hand will help keep a flow to your day and the learning time! Setting up your space so that your children can easily flow from together and independent time will allow for everyone to know what to expect in the day.
8. Find support.
One of the biggest factors in whether homeschoolers enjoy their experience or not is the presence of support. This can look like taking outside classes, joining clubs and community activities, or getting together with a few like-minded families-- even online through Zoom! Whatever the case, when you don't feel isolated and alone, you're more likely to enjoy the experience. While this may take some creativity... there are so many options!
9. Take the leap!
Jumping in can feel challenging when you're new at something... you might not have all the pieces to this puzzle yet, but you can get started! Taking the first step into a day can feel uncomfortable, but you will become more comfortable each day. This is a fun opportunity for you to do something new with your children as well as demonstrate to them that you can continue to grow and change! What a great life skill to model!
If you're interested in more information about how to accomplish each of these things and more, as you begin homeschooling, you can find details through videos, links and a 57-page workbook in my online course, Homeschooling Now.
Hope to "see" you there! :)