Several prospective homeschoolers have asked me, “What is the hardest part of homeschooling?” I can honestly say that the hardest part is starting. Once I started, everything began to fall into place.
I’ve taught in many different school settings from public to parochial. I finally landed on homeschooling and never looked back.
One morning, I finished math and reading lessons with my 1st and 2nd grade kids, looked up at the clock and realized I would have still been waiting in the drop off line at their school, had they been enrolled in school. In the time that it would have taken me to get the kids up, dressed, fed, out the door, and dropped off at school, we had half the day’s lessons completed. That was the moment it hit me how truly life-giving homeschooling would be to my life.
Many parents doubt their ability to homeschool. They can’t imagine taking on more than they already do in a day’s work. I get it. If this is you, I was right there with you. But what is difficult to see until you’re actually homeschooling is that you’re doing so much busy work right now that will be eliminated from your life once you start.
No more long pick up and drop off lines. No more packing lunches every weekday. No more school fundraisers. Does it sound like a dream? If so, you’re probably ready to give it a go.
And here’s the thing…if you decide homeschooling isn’t for you, you don’t have to keep going with it, so what’s the harm in giving it a shot? I believe most people who give homeschooling a go will never want to go back to traditional schooling.
So, how should you start homeschooling?
1. Notify Your School District and Know Your State Laws
First things first, notify your school if your kids are already enrolled. Research the laws in your own state. Some states require homeschoolers to register with the state. It is a good idea to send in a formal letter to dis-enroll your children, just in case the district decides to press truancy charges. The formal letter will be proof that you made a premeditated decision to homeschool your children and that they aren’t just running the streets!
2. Find Your Teaching Style
Every homeschooling parent has a different style. Some parents like to sit down with books and use an organized curriculum. Others love to be outdoors and use nature to teach concepts. You will get to know your kids and their learning styles as well, and you can adjust your teaching style accordingly. Just the other day, my rowdy 6 year old didn’t want to sit down for a math lesson, but he did want to dig for worms and slugs! We ended up adding worms plus slugs for about an hour! It was not the most pleasant lesson I’ve ever taught, but my son loved every second of it! You will discover your own teaching methods as you discover your children’s learning styles and this will help you cater to your children’s unique needs in your home education.
3. Choose a Curriculum or Develop Your Own
There are so many great homeschooling resources available. LightSail has so many books to choose from for people who want to teach from a secular or a faith-based standpoint. A quick internet search for a curriculum will give you enough options to make your head swim. But here’s the secret: you can succeed with any of these programs! The most important thing is that you are giving yourself to your kids and dedicating your time to sit down with them and teach them.
You may even choose to develop your own curriculum! Having been an English and History teacher, I like to design my own curriculum for those subjects. I love choosing classic books and asking them deep questions and listening to their answers. We usually choose a work of historical fiction or non-fiction to study a particular time in history.
Math and Science are not my strong suits. I know this, so I found tried and true curricula for these subjects, and I am learning along with my kids as we work through the concepts. Think about what your strengths are and use those to your advantage. Rely on a good curriculum for areas that you are not particularly strong in.
4. Join A Homeschool Co-op in Your Area
Most homeschoolers don’t want to go it alone. Contrary to popular opinion, homeschoolers are generally not people who live under a rock. Most cities and even small towns have some sort of homeschool group you can be a part of. Bigger cities and metropolitan areas probably have several to choose from. You might consider visiting some groups near you to get a feel for how they operate and whether you think the people there would be a good support system for you.
5. Take the Plunge!
The only way you will ever truly know what homeschooling is like is to try it! Once you have notified your school district, picked a curriculum, and joined a support group there is nothing left to do but dive in and see what it is like for yourself. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked at how easy it actually is. LightSail is an excellent resource for building your own unique curriculum as it has thousands of books and other resources across all subjects. You will have everything you need to start homeschooling with confidence right at your fingertips!
Posted on 6.Jun.21 in Getting Started