How to Start Homeschooling

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So, you want to homeschool?

It’s ok. You can do it.

There are so many resources to help you get started.

So, where exactly should you start??

Let me give you a quick start guide to get you on the road to homeschool success.

Step 1: Find your local or state homeschool organization.

There are lots of homeschooling organizations across the country. They exist to advocate for homeschooling in your state and to help new homeschoolers. A quick internet search will help you find the options in your area. Once you find the organizations, contact them and see what resources they have available to new homeschoolers.

Step 2: Research your state laws.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but each state has unique laws that govern the home education process. Often, your state organization can help you understand and abide by the laws. You can also find some helpful information about each state on the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website. They have a list of homeschool regulations for every state.

Step 3: Connect with other homeschoolers.

Your state organization can probably help you with this as well. They often keep lists of support groups and co-ops to help you connect with homeschoolers in your area. Find Facebook groups that are specific to your state and area and see if they have park days or other activities.

You can also connect with other homeschoolers online through reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and participating in Facebook groups or forums. 

Step 4: Attend a convention.

If there is a convention in your area, make plans to attend. You’ll be able to learn more about homeschooling methods, curriculum, scheduling, and record keeping. You can also browse curriculum and books in person. You’ll also be able to meet other homeschool families. It’s a wonderful time of encouragement.

And if there isn’t a convention in your area, or you missed the convention, there are often various online conventions. These online conventions have multiple speakers with informational workshops. If you can’t attend a convention in person, I recommend trying to find one online so you can learn more about your homeschool options.

Step 5: Choose curriculum.

Now that you’ve educated yourself about homeschooling in your state and seen the various resources available to you, it’s time to choose what curriculum you will use. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming to choose.

My advice? Choose what looks the most interesting and user-friendly to you as the teacher and just jump right in.

You might make a few missteps and choose a resource that you later regret, but it’s all part of the learning process and even veteran homeschoolers make some wrong curriculum choices along the way. You can change curriculum every year, or stick with the same publisher year after you. With homeschooling, you get to find what best fits your family. You know yourself and your children, so don’t let anyone else influence your decision as you pick resources.

Step 6: Start slowly.

Once you’ve decided to homeschool, educated yourself on your options, and chosen curriculum, you will be ready to go. But I caution you to take it slow. Ease into your schedule and find a rhythm to your homeschool day.

Start with just a few subjects at a time and then ease into adding a few more subjects after a couple weeks of adjusting to your new routine.

NOTE to those withdrawing from public school – you have some additional steps that you should follow.

Extra Step 1: Withdraw legally and submit paperwork.

Every state has different requirements for removing a child from the public school system. You need to learn what is required in your state and then make sure you follow those instructions carefully. Many states require you to submit a notice in writing.

Know what is legally required in your state and don’t be pressured into submitting extra documentation that is not required by law. Sometimes school officials are unclear on the state laws and will ask for additional paperwork. Know your rights and take the legal steps to withdraw – but don’t feel you need to do anything beyond the legal requirements of your state.

Extra Step 2: Deschool for a time.

You are about to embark on an adventure. Homeschooling is so different from a public school setting. You need to give yourself and your child(ren) time to adjust.

Don’t jump straight into homeschooling after you remove your children from school. Instead, take some time to do hands on learning, take field trips, and have some down time. Remove the public school mindset and do some creative learning as you find your new rhythm and routine.

Once you’ve had some time to decompress, start working toward a fresh start with homeschooling as you ease into your home education journey.

Homeschooling is an incredible blessing.

You’ll love all the learning moments that you get to share with your children. Sure, homeschooling is challenging and you’ll need to be prepared to persevere through the hard times. But the end result is so worth it. It is such a joy to learn together and to have the flexibility to follow your children’s interests.

You’ll never feel fully prepared to begin this homeschool adventure, so take a deep breath and start slow. Let your children and your instincts guide you and simply enjoy the homeschool life.

Be sure to check out these other resources to help you get started:

How I Planned for Our Homeschool Year

How to Determine Your Teaching Style

8 Tips to Start Your Year Off Right

6 Tips for a Successful Homeschool Convention Experience

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