When I started homeschooling almost 8 years ago, I was CLUELESS and TERRIFIED. I didn’t get what it meant to homeschool. I was trained to believe that public school was the only means for education. So naturally, I thought “do what they do in public school,” not knowing the first thing about starting homeschool the right way. So I overplanned & overscheduled. I was so afraid of not doing enough and thought I would surely mess my kids up. Can anyone relate?
While I still get blindsided with doubts and fears and I definitely don’t have the patience to homeschool, I have grown into a new comfort zone. I never went to school to be a teacher, but I now have 8 years experience as one. Ha!
Called to Homeschool
I know that the will of God for me is to raise my girls up in a lifestyle of worship and train them to use their gifts for God’s plan for them. Put in place their foundations of faith. So I just set my heart and mind on Him and the peace flows in. Ultimately, I knew that God had it all under control. He would never call me to something I can’t handle or that I’m not equipped for.
God has provided all moms with the tools and gifts they need to properly prepare each child for their future. He has given us enough Grace to get us through each day (sometimes a LOT) and new mercies every morning. Every child is different and every parent is gifted properly. You are lacking nothing as a parent, it truly is there somewhere, you just have to find it within.
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His plan is always better than mine. I will be honest it was hard for me to put my plans aside when I was called to homeschool. It was a struggle to stir the pot and bring undue criticism and doubts my way. I used to be a go with the flow, don’t step out of line and blend in type person when it came to my mothering. But I’m glad I did! I can’t even begin to express how starting homeschool has blessed my life and my girls. So very thankful.
Reasons to Start Homeschool
If you are reading this now you are probably just starting to research how to start homeschool. You either just made the decision to homeschool or you are trying to decide whether it is right for you or not. Here are some great reasons to homeschool.
- You have kids (lol had to be said).
- God said to (My reason).
- Your kids are falling behind in school
- You want a close family.
- You want your kids to be taught at their own pace, learning style or method.
- You want to teach your kids centered on your faith.
- Your kids are being bullied.
- You want your kids socialized with more than their grade level (The whole non-socialized thing is a non-issue, just sayin).
- Your kids have special needs and you want to make sure they are getting the best care.
- You want your kids to love learning.
- You like your kids.
- You want to teach them according to their interests.
- You want to wear pajamas all day (Just kidding, but it is a perk ).
Starting Homeschool Right
Ok great! Since you are still here with me you must be ready to start homeschool right, let’s begin. Homeschooling is not cut and dry, it’s not one size fits all. But here are some steps that will get you going on this new journey.
Step one – Pray about it! If you are a praying momma you know that this should be the first step in everything. So pray and ask God to guide you, to lead you towards the calling of your homeschool. As you pray make a mission statement for your homeschool and set a few short term and long term goal. Always have the end in mind and see the bigger picture.
Step two – Check your state for your homeschool laws. Here in Indiana, we don’t have to register or anything. All we have to do is keep track of our attendance starting at age 7, but some states have stricter laws than that. You may be required to have an auditor come and check up on your homeschool.
Step Three – Find your people. This could be from local co-ops to great local homeschool groups. Do a google or facebook search for homeschool (your city). Here are my people and here are some more of my people. Ha! I have a lot of people. No seriously those links are fantastic homeschool facebook groups filled with amazing, encouraging moms from all over the world! I highly recommend them. As a new homeschool mom, you are gonna have a lot of questions they will answer them. So find your people before moving on to the next step.
Step Four – Talk to your kids. Find out their interests, likes and dislikes. If you pulled them out of school you will want to take some time to deschool (just a fancy way to say take it easy). If they are starting fresh you will still want to take it easy. Start slow and figure out how they learn, what they love and what they want to know more about. There are so many different methods to homeschool. Instilling a love for learning is soooooo important for making this homeschooling thing work. If your kids aren’t interested in what they are learning the whole atmosphere will be negative and honestly, they won’t remember any of it.
Step Five – Choose a curriculum. Now this doesn’t mean go buy a fancy all-in-one curriculum. I know it’s tempting, but please hear me out. Let’s just say you are purchasing a new outfit online, but you have no idea what size you are and you just order something and pray it fits. Buying homeschool curriculum is the same. You don’t want to spend the money only to find out if wasn’t a good fit for you or your kids. Just take some time and figure out what will fit before you buy. I suggest at least a year of homeschooling before you buy a curriculum. We are a relaxed eclectic homeschool family so we use bits and pieces from a lot of different companies. Here is our choices for this year (1st, 3rd and 5th grade). You can find tons of FREE homeschool curriculum to get your feet wet in a few different methods.
Step Six – Stock up on homeschooling supplies! I love Amazon for this! You can find great deals on all your homeschooling needs. Also, dollar stores or the back to school sales are great for this.
School supplies list for homeschooling
- Pencils (Don’t get the decorative ones they are usually terrible quality just get a basic No. 2 and buy them in bulk they tend to disappear without a trace)
- Markers – Washable and dry-erase
- Paint & Paintbrushes (Watercolor and Tempera)
- Glue & Glue Sticks
- Stapler & Staples
- Paper – Lined paper, copy paper, colored construction paper and thicker painting paper
- Notebooks – We use these for everything
- Folders – These are used to keep each child’s finished or to do papers in.
- Whiteboard or Chalkboard – We have a large whiteboard/chalkboard and also small individual whiteboards
- Kid’s Scissors
- World Map or Globe
- Kid’s Dictionary
- A Good Printer
Well, that’s not everything, but that’s the basics and will get you on the way to starting homeschool right!
Step Seven – Throw a homeschooling kickoff party! Let your kids know you are excited about this adventure. Every year we throw a party on the first day. Here’s a first day of homeschool post I did with a lot of ideas to get you started. I like to buy school supplies and wrap them. Makes it super fun and a great start to an awesome year.
Step Eight – Don’t watch the clock. This is a toughy! You are gonna be tempted to set a schedule of a lot of hours as compared to public school. This is not necessary. We start around 9 and are done by lunch, sometimes way before. I’ve even heard of people who homeschool in an hour a day. Homeschooling is seriously completely different than public school. You can get everything done in a short period of time.
Step Nine – Take notes. As you are getting to know your kids, how they learn and their interests and such, jot it down. Keep a little journal of what they have mastered, their interests, dislikes, struggles etc. Do they learn best with hands-on activities? Do they thrive in workbooks? You will thank yourself later for this and it will be fun to look back at years from now.
Step Ten – Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust me there are going to be a lot of battles, so choose them wisely. If you are having a frustrating or rough day then just hit the reset button, throw out the lesson plans and do something fun. Go for a walk, go to the park or library. Just change it up a bit. Sometimes you and the kids will get burnt out and it calls for a fun day.
Honestly, starting homeschool is not as hard as you may think. Just relax and have fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or try to get every single subject in a day. Start simple and go with the flow. You got this!
Are you thinking about starting homeschool? Have questions and concerns? Ask me a question in the comments.
- Getting Started Homeschooling
- Choosing Curriculum for Your Homeschool
- Homeschooling Methods Explained
- HUGE list of Free Homeschool Curriculum
- Free Curriculum for Preschoolers