Homeschooling might be something you never thought you’d do, but here you are! It is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs you will have. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to start this educational journey, as well as some tips for long-term success.
- Know your state laws
Every state has their own set of rules for starting and operating a homeschool. First things first. Check out your state’s Department of Education website for information about how to comply with their regulations.
- Find your regional homeschool association
Your regional homeschool association will be a valuable place for resources, conferences, and connection with other homeschool families. This organization can also help to answer questions about getting started.
- Decide on curriculum
If you are enrolled in your public or private school system’s virtual school, curriculum is provided for you. If you want to pick your own curriculum the choices are unlimited and cater to various styles of teaching and learning.
Find resources about homeschooling to understand different learning and teaching styles. Talk to other homeschoolers about their curriculum choices. Attend a local homeschool conference. Experiment with curriculum to find what works for you and your students. It’s okay to quit a program that simply isn’t working for you and find something that does.
- Organization is key
Organization is key for your homeschool success. A homeschool planner is a valuable resource for keeping life and homeschool on track. Older students can benefit from a student homeschool planner to help them learn personal organization.
- A schedule that works for you and your student
Once you’ve filled the homeschool planner consistency will alleviate some of the stress of decision making about what to do with your day. When your kids use their student homeschool planner they can learn responsibility for their own schedule.
Equally important is flexibility. Life continues to happen around you when you homeschool. If you are flexible and look for opportunities you can change your routine to take advantage of a beautiful day for a trip to the park or an impromptu tour of a local art gallery for a special exhibit. You also have the freedom to take a rest day if the schedule has been crazy or someone is feeling under the weather.
- Homeschool support
Your homeschool will grow and change with you. Read a book or two. Subscribe to a blog or podcast. Join a local homeschool co-op. Make play dates with other homeschool families. Your homeschool planner can help keep track of all these areas.
- Personal support
A huge factor in the success of your homeschool will be taking good care of yourself. Make time to be yourself. Let yourself rest. Give yourself grace. Hang out with friends without your kids. Carve out a space in your homeschool planner for a cup of coffee in your own room with the door shut and your earbuds in place. Recharge.
Even if you’re using “real” books, technology is indispensable for today’s homeschool. A computer or tablet and internet access make it possible to do online research and connect with your local library, as well as keep tabs on your social media resources.
- A space for your school
Where you “do” school is as unique as you and your students. Find what works for you. A designated schoolroom with desks or the kitchen table is most common. Personal space for reading and quiet time is important, so look for ways to incorporate these into your bedrooms, basement, or even a special chair in the living room. It can be fun to throw down a blanket under a tree for reading in the afternoon.
- Know your why and know you are enough.
You have made the choice to go for it. You bought the books and filled in your homeschool planner. Take a deep breath and look at your kids. Remind yourself why you have decided to homeschool. Remind yourself why you know this is the best decision for you right now. Remind yourself that you are as prepared as can you can be in this moment and – ready or not – it’s time to start.