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Wondering how to start homeschooling? Follow these 3 easy steps to get started. Spoiler alert: It’s simpler than you think!
My oldest child was still a baby when I decided to homeschool him.
As a new mom, I read tons of articles about how kids learn best, and I learned that most American schools don’t teach them that way. I listened with horror as friends and neighbors told me stories of active shooter drills at their kids’ schools. I read news stories about bullying and molestation happening right in our school district.
Later, I sat in an informational meeting at our local elementary school as the principal explained that “kindergarten was the new first grade”. As he spoke proudly of the rigorous curriculum the school offered, I wondered when the kiddos had time to eat, rest, or play. I hated the idea of sending my baby on the school bus at 8:25 a.m. each day to spend seven hours pretending to be a little adult.
The choice to homeschool was easy, but I remember being terrified as I was getting started. Terrified of breaking the rules. Freaked out about learning how to teach. Convinced my kid and I would both be lonely weirdos.
If this is you, too, Mama, read on. Rocking this homeschool life is easier than you think.
STEP ONE: Get Legal
Homeschooling looks different all over the world.
Requirements in the US range from very simple to extremely complex. In some states, families register to homeschool and then do their own thing. They aren’t required to report any information to anybody unless their local school board thinks there’s a problem.
Other states require regular reviews with representatives from the school district, standardized tests, or other hoops to jump through in order to keep things on the up-and-up.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a great website that will let you know what you need to do in your state. If you’re planning to homeschool outside of the United States, this page gives an overview of some of the laws by country.
STEP TWO: Decide what your school will look like
How will you school?
Now comes the fun part—choosing what your school will look like. You may decide your school should look similar to your local public school. Or, you might choose to unschool and let your children follow their own interests rather than any prescribed curriculum.
In between these two extremes are a million other options. You might decide to be a Classical Homeschooler, Charlotte Mason Homeschooler, Gameschooler, Waldorf Homeschooler, Montessori Homeschooler, an Eclectic Homeschooler, or something else entirely. Your school will be uniquely your own and can be customized to fit your child best.
When will you school?
You will probably find that you can ‘do school’ in much less time each day than you think. And your school year runs whenever you want.
You might decide to school from September to June like they do in public school, or you might find that you like to school year-round. This way you can stay inside reading during the heat of August and spend beautiful September afternoons at the park. You may decide to follow a strict daily schedule, or you may choose to wake up each morning and see what the day brings.