Getting Started - New to Homeschooling?
Are you new to homeschooling? Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you begin with confidence!
Step 1: Talk to other homeschoolers.
If you know of homeschoolers in your area, talk to as many as possible. Find out what resources and support groups are available locally, what curriculum they use, and how homeschooling works for them. You’ll quickly see that homeschooling is a little bit different for everyone and is completely adaptable to your unique family.
If you don’t already know any homeschoolers locally, the fastest way to find local and state homeschool groups is by doing a search on the internet. Go to Google and type in the words “homeschool” and the name of your state. You should pull up a healthy list of information for your area.
Step 2: Know the law.
The laws regarding home education vary from state to state. It is important that you know the law for your state. The HSLDA has the latest information regarding homeschool laws in the United States and its territories.
Step 3: Find resources.
If it is at all possible, try to attend a homeschool conference. Your local (or state) homeschool groups should have information on conferences for your area. The conferences are great opportunities for you to sit in on workshops, get a hands-on look at curriculum, and meet fellow homeschoolers. Most vendors sell their products at discounts during conferences, too.
As you begin to look at curriculum, you’ll quickly discover that there are numerous teaching methods and different learning styles. Don’t be afraid to just “jump in.” If you don’t already know what works for your family, you can figure it out as you go along. Homeschooling is as much a journey and adventure as it is an education.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost a lot. Most public libraries have a large selection of “How To Homeschool” books. Be sure to read our article below for budget conscious homeschoolers.
Step 4: Get organized.
While every home has its own rhythm, a schedule can be your lifeline to success. Even on those days when you have nothing but interruptions, your schedule will be there to help make sure you keep moving forward. Plan your schedule around work and outside activities, i.e. piano lessons, field trips, etc. You may discover that you need to revise your schedule every 6-8 weeks to allow for changes in activities, children’s maturity, and new opportunities.
You will also need to keep records according to your state law’s requirements. Your state or local homeschool support group can guide you to resources or methods that best comply with the law.
Step 5. Enjoy!
Now that you are connected with other homeschoolers, know the law, have a plan, and have your curriculum and materials, you can relax and enjoy the journey! Join the millions of homeschoolers across the United States who have discovered the great rewards of home education: strong families, happy children, and a rich education.
Homeschooling on a Budget—A Blessing in Disguise?
Some people think the best education includes expensive curriculum and materials, the latest in educational toys, and a state-of-the-art science lab. Yet high dollar items or big name publishers have very little to do with how well or how much children learn.
With limited income, you are forced to weed out unnecessary expenses and zero in on what really matters. As a result, your child gets an education that is truly tailored to their needs and interests, allowing them to develop the skills and gifts they were born with. They will have a lot of fun in the process.
Here is a list of some free or low-cost resources for your child’s quality education:
- Public Libraries
- State / National Parks
- Field Trips
- Homeschool Groups and Co-ops
- Used Curriculum Fairs
- Online Curriculum Swaps
- Interest Groups / Clubs
- Educational TV
- Homeschooler Discounts
And did I mention the Internet? While we know there are innumerable resources available on the Internet, it just keeps getting better. MIT is in the process of putting all their courses online—FREE. From the MIT website:
“Through the OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) initiative, MIT makes its faculty's core teaching materials openly available for anyone, anywhere in the world with access to the Internet…The hope is that one day, by sharing MIT's course materials, along with our experience thus far in developing the MIT OCW publication process, we will inspire other institutions to openly share their course materials, creating a worldwide web of knowledge that will benefit humanity.”