How to Start Homeschooling
Determining how to start homeschooling can be daunting. There is much to consider, including state laws, what to teach, what materials to use, family finances, and more.
This article addresses questions you should consider as you explore homeschooling and how to start homeschooling.
How to Start Homeschooling and The Questions to Ask
- What are the homeschool laws in my state?
- Are we homeschooling all of our children?
- How will this impact our family?
- Where do we get the curriculum?
- Am I going to hurt my child’s future?
- How do I find other homeschooling families?
What are the Homeschool Laws in My State or Area
Regardless of the country in which you live, your first step is obtaining accurate legal requirements and information.
If you are homeschooling in the United States, HSLDA provides a listing of requirements by state. You will also want to visit the state office website that oversees homeschooling in your area.
Find your state homeschooling association on the web as you research how to start homeschooling in your area. These are typically groups that operate independently of your state offices. Many of these state homeschooling groups are on social media and even have Facebook groups.
Join those groups and browse the discussion topics or post your questions. Other homeschooling parents in your state are a tremendous resource, especially as you have these many questions about how to start homeschooling.
Are We Homeschooling All of Our Children?
It is not uncommon for some families to start homeschooling while some of their children are in traditional school, whether it’s a private or public school. Research and discuss what is best for your family. As you start homeschooling, it is imperative to remember that each homeschool is different.
Also, consider the following questions:
- What grades will you be homeschooling?
- Can you combine topics for some grades? For example, can you all do history together?
- What are the learning styles of each child?
- Do you have a child with a learning difference, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia?
All of these questions will affect the curriculum you purchase, your schedule, and even how you set up your homeschooling area. In other words, before starting homeschooling, get to know your children.
How Will Homeschooling Impact Our Family?
- Lifestyle Changes - When you start homeschooling, you will realize home education doesn’t just happen between public school hours. Homeschooling happens all the time. Some of your children may work well early in the morning; others may do their best in the afternoon or evening. So, your family schedule may change from what it looks like now.
You will also find more time together as a family to talk, start new hobbies, start a business, or go on travel adventures.
- Financial Impact - One of the most significant impacts as you start homeschooling will be financial. If one parent leaves the workforce or switches to a work-from-home situation, there will be adjustments to the family budget.
However, there are many affordable curriculum options. Companies understand the need to provide quality materials at an attractive price. CTCMath wants to see homeschooled families thrive and have quality math materials available for a very reasonable price. Check out their family pricing.
So, shop around, make a household budget, and create a homeschooling budget. We have an article here about homeschooling on a budget.
- Relationship Changes – Many families find that as they start homeschooling, they slow down the hectic pace of life and spend more time getting to know one another. Parents get to see what their child is most interested in, and how each child learns best, and they are there to help during academic or personal struggles.
What Curriculum Do We Use?
Before you start homeschooling, check your state’s requirements. They might have requirements regarding curriculum or an umbrella agency in your agency.
Next, you need to understand how each of your children learns best. Are they a hands-on learner? Auditory? Visual? Do they struggle with reading? Are they independent learners?
Next, start asking around at local homeschool groups or online Facebook groups. Make a list of curriculum options and start visiting the sites of publishers.
A good curriculum company will have samples, free trials, videos, placement tests, and customer testimonials. Check out the CTCMath site for all of these pre-purchase resources. They have a free trial, screenshots, demos, and FAQs. Take advantage of these previews and free trials. Dig in and get acquainted with the curriculum
Start a research notebook with a section for each child. Then, within each section, list the topics you want to cover as you start homeschooling. For each subject, list the curriculum companies that are your top choices. Note their pricing, if it covers one child or the entire family (like CTCMath), the refund policy, support options, and anything else that is an essential criterion for your family.
Am I Going to Hurt My Child’s Future by Homeschooling?
No, you are not. If you are providing your child with a nurturing environment, a solid curriculum that fits their learning style, and helping them grow in confidence in their abilities, you are doing a fantastic job!
Will there be difficult days? Yes, but how you model grace and problem-solving is an opportunity to educate your child beyond the academic subjects. Homeschooling is not just the books, tests, and fun, hands-on projects. Homeschooling is also a heart issue, working through those more challenging character training times and helping the family learn to model God’s grace and love toward one another and others.
So, parents, if you start homeschooling with your heart focused on God’s plan for your family, you will not hurt your child’s future. With a nurturing homeschool environment, you will be privileged to watch your child grow and flourish.
How Do I Find Other Homeschooling Families
When you start researching how to start homeschooling, you will definitely find other homeschoolers – in your neighborhood, church, and sports practice. Plus, there are probably several hundred homeschool-related Facebook groups.
Here are some options for finding other homeschool families as you get started homeschooling:
- Start local. Your state homeschool organization should have a list of local groups. If not, ask other homeschool moms or do a Google search.
However, you may not live near a group or in a highly populated area. Consider starting a group of 2 or 3 families that gets together once a month.
One piece of advice from my years of homeschooling, there will be some years when you can join a big group. There will also be seasons when your schedule doesn’t allow for it. Moms, that’s okay. One of my biggest struggles was finding our footing in a group for some years. Other years, we did 6-week co-ops at our house. So, when it comes to being active in a homeschool group, your participation level each year will look different than someone else’s.
- Check out Facebook. If you’re not a big Facebook user, consider going on for the groups. There are groups for:
- High school and middle school
- Elementary grades
- Working and homeschooling
- Homeschooling styles
- Homeschooling special needs
- Homeschool mom support
- Consider attending a homeschool event in your area or state. Some state homeschool groups host annual conventions that span several days. At these events, you can hear speakers and browse hundreds of curriculum options. Also, check for local support group meetings at libraries or parks.
- Research homeschool classes at local art, history, and science museums.
When a family is researching how to start homeschooling is an exciting time. But there can be many details to track, and worries about how it will be financially feasible. Take your time, keep notes, and remember that your homeschool journey will be unique to your family.
Here are some additional resources as you research how to start homeschooling your family: