Today I want to share with you how to get started with homeschooling. With the recent pandemic many parents are turning to homeschooling as a measure to keep there children safe and healthy. Many are frustrated and stressed being that homeschooling is unchartered territory to them. If you are one of those frustrated parents I have you covered. In this post I will share with you everything you need to know to get started with homeschooling, finding support when you need it, and some curriculum ideas to get you started. I know that there are many online curriculums and your school may even offer distant learning, but if this isn’t option, or you simply don’t want a curriculum that is completely internet based, then this is the post for you.
My past experiences with homeschooling
I for one am not a stranger to homeschooling entirely, but when I did “homeschool” my children in the past I basically relied on an online charter school curriculum. The first one we tried was very intense and frustrating for both myself and my children so after a year we switched to another program. The second one was more like what many schools are doing now. It basically took the “distant-learning” approach and held classes online with real teachers. This approach worked for some of my children, but not all. Two of my children are very hands-on learners and needed more physical instruction, so I ended up putting them into public school. When the pandemic hit, I opted for homeschooling again. This time online learning wasn’t the best option due to limited internet access since we live in a rural area. With that being said I had to completely withdraw my children from the school and come up with my own curriculum. It was very stressful in the beginning since I really didn’t know where to start, but after finding the right resources and support I find homeschooling such a joy now.
Learn your states laws
Before you withdraw your child(ren) from school learn your state laws for homeschooling. Some states may have homeschool departments that can help you navigate this process. I live in Florida and I found our homeschool department very helpful. Even so I still took the time to learn our state laws because it’s very important to research this on your own. It only takes about 30 minutes to an hour to get acquainted with the state laws. Once you are ready you can then withdraw your child from school according to the procedures within your state and begin the next steps. Click here to learn the state laws for homeschooling your child for your specific state.
Join a support group
Seek out and join a few homeschool groups for support. Facebook is a great place to start with finding groups like these. I suggest joining ones that are created for your specific state, that way you will be connected with other homeschoolers that are more local. This will allow you to have access to more local resources, local laws, co-ops and more. Groups are also very helpful with the psychological aspect of homeschooling. There are times when we may feel lost and frustrated. It’s nice to have a group of parents that you can confide in whom have been there themselves and can give you the encouragement to keep going.
Decide on your curriculum
This is one of the most difficult parts of homeschooling, but with the help of groups it will be a lot easier. You can decide if you want to use a religious based or secular curriculum, a boxed curriculum( these tend to be very pricey) or an online one. There are so many options available. You can also put together your own custom curriculum by pulling from different resources.
Here’s an example of the custom curriculum I put together for my 4th grader:
- Language Arts
- Teachers Pay Teachers – I chose a grammar and reading response curriculum for 4th grade. We later switched to the curriculum listed below.
- Blossom and Root – I chose the 4th grade Language arts curriculum (it also has bonus weekly geography lessons.)
- Office Depot – I purchased some handwriting workbooks locally to teach him cursive handwriting.
- Chickie and Roo – I chose her Florida Nature Study curriculum which is great for all elementary ages.
- Teachers Pay Teachers – I found some free STEM holiday themed science projects to do for fun
- Social Studies
- Woke Homeschooling – I choose their curriculum geared for children in 3rd-5th grade.
- Florida Studies Weekly – I ended up with these for free from when my 4th grader was in public school.
- Self Created. We also worked on a self made unit study focusing on ancient Egypt.
The worst thing you can do as a homeschooling parent is comparing your child’s progress with others. Children learn and develop at their own pace so don’t compare them to other children that may be catching on faster. This is the beauty of homeschool! Your child now has the freedom to learn and grow at their very own pace. They’re not being rushed to pick up a skill and hurried to keep up with a class of 20+ students. If you have to spend 2 weeks on one subject you have the time to do it. Go with the flow of how your child is picking up the material. If you notice that it’s not working you can always try a different curriculum that may work better for them. This is why homeschooling is so amazing. The learning environment you create is customized to your child’s learning style. Your child is unique and special in there own little way. There’s no way you can compare such an amazing little person as him/her!
I hope this post has helped many of you that are thinking about or getting started with homeschooling. Switching to homeschooling is not as scary as you think. You just have to have patience with yourself and your child as well as finding the right support and resources to be successful. If you have any questions or comments you’d like to add, feel free to add them in the comments below.