With the state of the world these days, and more specifically the school system, you may find yourself contemplating bringing the kids home for good and teaching them things that align with your families beliefs.
There are many benefits this lifestyle can bring you and your kids, and if you are interested in learning more about how to start homeschooling your child, I have compiled a list of tips for beginners, to help you get started on your own adventure and ease some of the frustrations you may face in the early days of in-home education.
The main thing to remember: Homeschooling is focused more on the journey to knowledge, than the knowledge itself.
Starting homeschool at the pre-k age level? Check out this article that answers the question, “What is a good age to start preschool?
(there is no perfect age; start homeschooling when YOU are ready!)
Welcome to Homeschool Homestead!
My name is Jerromy and I am all about that homeschooling life!
My main goal is to help other homeschooling parents make educated decisions about their kids’ schooling by providing resources and information to help them avoid the mistakes I have made on my journey homeschooling my kids.
Affiliate Disclosure: This site DOES contain affiliate links throughout. All this means is if you follow a link on any of my pages and make a purchase, I could receive a commission or referral reward, all at no extra cost to you!
Tips for Getting Homeschooling Started Effectively
How to Start Homeschool: Make the process easy!
There have been a lot of great days on our journey don’t get me wrong, but most of the trials and tribulations my family has faced could have been avoided if we had been better prepared in the beginning and had a little more support, which is what I want to provide you and your family, should you need it.
No two walks through life are the same, and how you choose to educate your children is ultimately up to you. There are no wrong answers.
I mainly want to provide you with a few ideas to get you in the right headspace to make these sometimes difficult decisions effectively and to the highest level of benefit for your family.
Without further adieu, the list of tips on how to start homeschooling your child in easy mode.
1. First and Foremost, Check State Laws on Homeschooling.
If you are taking a nomadic approach to life or going a more traditional route and staying in one place, the laws in the state where your identification and vehicle registrations are issued will most often be the laws that govern your guidelines to provide education at home or on the go.
Most states have very minimal regulations on education options, but make sure to do a double and triple check just to make sure all of your bases are covered. There are requirements homeschooling families will need to meet regarding credits and getting a diploma at the end of high school, so find out what they are for your home state just to be safe.
In most cases, you will need to alert the school system in your area so your children are accounted for and you can avoid any run-ins with truancy issues, and formal withdrawals are generally required if you are pulling a child out of active enrollment at a public school.
If the laws are too strict in your state, and you have been considering moving or starting a life of travel, this would be a great time to find out where you should establish a “base of operations” in order to provide the life you want for your family through homeschooling. You always have options!
2. Reach Out to Other Homeschoolers
Networking with experienced homeschool families is a great resource that is 100% free and available to you.
More than likely you know someone already or share a Facebook group with a handful of people that have been on their own home education journey for some time and can provide amazing advice on tools and resources that will make all the difference as you get started out.
Don’t be afraid to reach out either, as most of us are super happy to help and meet someone new who shares a passion for their children’s education as much as we do!
There are plenty of homeschooling groups you can join, and probably one for your local area as well. This can get you in touch with conferences and co-ops where you can find a lot of great deals on solid curricula and resources to improve the level of education you provide and open up a whole new world of experiences for you and your family.
Do not underestimate this.
This is a really great, free resource that is readily available and can help you find a balance that keeps everyone in your family happy and builds the interactive social skills that are likely not included in your chosen homeschool curriculum.
Plus it never hurts to have friends who experience the same things you do. Chances are, your kids will make friends for life, and you probably will too.
Togetherness is one of the biggest fundamentals of homeschooling. The community is very involved in most cases and you can easily get connected with co-ops and organizations that do things together like field trips, host study days, and even throw birthday parties for one another.
3. Uncover Your Childs Specific Learning Style
Before you can effectively, you have to understand how kids interact with and learn from their environment. As the parent or guardian, it is your job to determine what teaching method is going to be the best for each individual child, because in my opinion, homeschooling is not a “one size fits all” operation.
More often than not, you will have different personality types, different blood types, and just as certainly, different learning types amongst your bunch, and will need to accommodate each person respectively.
Let’s take a look at three of the most well-known styles of learning, and see if you can fit your kid(s) into a specific type (this is the only time I will ever ask you to do this though, I swear!).
- Visual Learners use their sight to take in information and can follow directions and communicate more effectively when they are writing the information down or typing it out.
- They would rather take notes on someone else giving a seminar than to actually engage in one themselves.
- Are quick to solve puzzles or figure out a chart or diagram.
- Very good at reading body language in most cases and can mimic facial expressions or tell how someone feels simply by looking at their face.
- Likes to draw or doodle while learning (especially on the edges of worksheets and desk surfaces) to help their brain retain the information.
- Someone who generally responds better to verbal communication.
- Usually, the one that can hear mom calling them for dinner from 10 acres away, (whether they actually listen is not important).
- Remembers specific things that were only mentioned once or twice, including but not limited to entire conversations.
- Mimics sounds and voices seemingly flawlessly.
- They form connections to music quickly.
- Easily distracted by sounds that are out of place or interesting to them, and can’t manage to focus through them.
- Could be a double agent they eavesdrop so well (My oldest child can hear and quote exactly what each person is saying in a crowded room of overly chatty people).
- Someone with this learning type can easily follow instructions that are either verbal or written, with no hang-ups.
- Hands-on learners, meaning they need to actually perform an action in order to lock the information away.
- Interactive learners may also need to tap or drum on a nearby surface to do things like mental math.
- Possible interest in toys that have to be built, or tech-related stuff like coding, or computer engineering.
- The need to constantly be moving and experiencing different things seemingly at once; meaning they can bounce from one thing to the next and still be productive.
So now that you realize you can’t put any kid into a singular category, you can probably sort out what style your kid(s) do NOT fall under, and that is going to help you find out what type of education will NOT work for them.
Keep in mind, that what works for one might not always work for the other, and it may take some time, years even, to really sort out the exact methods to reach your child(ren) individually, and teach them the things they need to know before they reach adulthood.
Key Point: Having a better understanding of the different styles of learning enables you to identify the different types homeschooling platforms may or may not cater to when you start your search for new learning materials.
4. Discuss Your Homeschooling Plans as a Family.
You want to see where everyone stands on this life-changing ordeal at each stage in the process, so you can identify problems before they start. Brainstorming sessions will allow you to centralize the thoughts of both parents and children on a level playing field to better understand what each person is experiencing and what they want to change.
Set up daily or weekly meetings that are focused only on discussing homeschooling-related topics, and let everyone voice their opinions and discrepancies in an open forum. Make sure to write down anything that may need looking into in order to resolve an issue in the future or an idea that could lead to some form of benefit.
Confirmed support enables you to pinpoint the aspects they are enthusiastic about so you can build and adjust the foundation of your education plan around those key points, while negativity gives you an idea of what to avoid in order to make this process as smooth as possible.
Once you get a clear picture of what everyone’s wants are, you can start gathering the specific information needed to get everyone 100% on board and avoid sifting through resources that are irrelevant to your family’s wants and needs.
As you research topics related to school, try to involve the whole family as much as possible so they can find information themselves instead of depending on you to relay everything. Send each other links to helpful articles (like this one!) so everyone can read about the process themselves and contribute solutions to problems they may be dealing with.
One thing to consider here is letting your kids lead these discussions inadvertently. Allow them to speak while you LISTEN to their ideas and concerns. You may not like everything they have to say, but allowing them to have an active part in planning their lives will result in happier kids that make bigger, better decisions as adults.
Summary: If you let your family work together to create the template for your homeschooling lifestyle, it will be a sinch to pull together in a way that meets everyone’s standards and provides the best learning environment possible, tailored specifically to them and their own respective interests.
5. Set up a designated work area. (Read that again)
If possible, do this BEFORE you begin looking into curricula, education plans, or homeschooling platforms.
Once you have all the books, supplies, and other cool stuff, the excitement will be too distracting for anyone to really establish that “work area sanctity” that will make your life so much easier in the coming months while you blaze your way through coursework.
It doesn’t have to be top-notch office equipment, but just set up an area for your kids to sit down, be free of distractions, have all of their supplies handy, and above all be comfortable enough to get a few hours of schoolwork done.
If you want to go all out and save a little money at the same time, check out Discount School Supply!
They have literally everything you could need to set everyone up with a workstation that fits their needs and their style!
Most importantly have fun setting up and decorating the area as a team. Letting the kids “take charge” on this gives them a sense of accomplishment and they will be excited to reap the benefits of their hard work by getting school started! (Most of the time anyway, it definitely isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but we are going to touch on that in due time.)
If you have more than one homeschooler, try to have separate spots if they are to work at the same time, or create a rotating schedule that allows them to share the single space efficiently.
If you use a single table for multiple children at once, you might buy or make some dividers that can be decorated to their specific styles to give them a little more privacy when needed.
This would also be a great opportunity to teach them workspace etiquette, respect, and organization by learning boundaries involving another person’s belongings, and by cleaning the work area immediately when they are finished with it.
6. Establish a homeschool lesson plan.
The goal here is to get a grasp on how much time you actually have available during a normal day to do school related activities, so you can find or create a learning path that fits your needs and avoid those that may have time constraints that do not align with your families day to day life.
Chances are, you will be adjusting this schedule on a regular basis as you change curricula or homeschooling strategies, so nothing needs to be exact at this point. You just need an idea of how much time you have open to get everything done; Work, school, family time, etc.
If your family is like mine, everyone will need a notebook or planner to keep an accurate agenda; mainly to ensure everyone is spending enough time learning, as well as to keep track of things to come so everyone can get on the same page.
A lot of the tools we use to maintain our day-to-day activities, we got from Carson Dellosa Education, the same place we got the decorations for our classroom!
When we drafted our daily timeline, there were a few things we knew going in we needed to consider:
- There had to be at least 8 hours of work done between the two of us.
- Older kids would need more time spent on school; roughly Five hours or so.
- Younger kids don’t require as much school time but would need more entertainment during the day.
- Everyone needs time to relax.
The main thing to remember here is to keep everyone comfortable, within reason of course. Some days are going to be “down days” as we call them, where productivity is lacking and attitudes are presenting themselves in full force, but these aren’t necessarily bad days. It just shows that your team has been working hard to achieve their goals and may need a morale boost to get back in gear!
The beauty of it is, you can skip days or even weeks if you want to. There will always be spare time to catch up on work, and you can set yourself up to be productive all year round and lower the amount of work due each school day to make things even simpler.
7. Choose the right Homeschooling Curriculum
This is a broad subject and there are so many different factors that directly affect this decision, not to mention the mountain of different resources there are available.
If you need a little motivation or direction, check out my article about How to choose a homeschooling curriculum to possibly ease some of your burden during this critical process.
The most important thing is to find something that allows your child to learn at least somewhat effortlessly while still being challenged so they can receive and retain the information in a constructive way.
A lot of times, parents can feel pressured into teaching their children things they may not agree with, or in a way that doesn’t work for their children, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all!
You are free to make choices about your kids’ education in its entirety, but there are many curricula that will make this an easy venture, make sure you LOVE the one you choose to stick with because in most cases you will be interacting with it on a daily basis to make sure your children are learning what they need to be learning, whatever that may be.
8. Consistency Is Key
Kids love a routine, if they like to admit it or not. No matter what your daily schedule may be, make sure to keep it consistent. This applies to every aspect of life, not just school.
The main thing is to have them do the same things around the same general time each day.
A child that has had the same workload for four days straight, is less resistant to finish their duties than one who is coming off a four day break, trust me on this.
It is okay to change things up if they aren’t working properly, but once you find a successful formula try not to adjust it too much. Changing schedules unexpectedly can create anxieties for some kids, and cause them to feel less secure in their environment which leads to more stress when things like school are involved.
Have this same mentality with rewards as well. If everyone finishes their school and chores on time, for instance, make sure the reward they receive is equal to the one they received the last time they went above and beyond. Building expectations too high too early can lead to an empty wallet quickly, but lowering the standard of the benefit will also decrease the effort that is put in to gain it, so start light and grow from there and maybe you can avoid a mutiny.
9. Be Prepared for the “Down Days”
These are going to happen. If you find a way to completely avoid them, please leave a comment, or better yet email me directly so we can share notes.
A great day for us happens MAYBE twice a week wherein both parents are fully prepared for the day and all the kids wake up with no quarrel and hop straight to school.
In my opinion, it is better to be over-prepared for bad days and under-prepared for good days.
Have activities planned in case of motivational emergencies, and stop the normal flow of the day to have everyone come together and take a mental break to either create something, solve a problem, or maybe visit the park or a museum.
There is no right or wrong answer here, just do something that isn’t school or work for a little while, and chances are everyone will be more productive the next time work needs to be done, including yourself.
Plus, having an opportunity and excuse to make memories together is worth procrastinating a little, right?
Everyone is entitled to a break, and parents should definitely take more time for themselves as well, so if you are the one not meeting the standards on a particular morning, give them a half-day, and if you are feeling extra “generous”, let them have the whole day off so everyone can recuperate a little bit.8.
If you happen to need something to fill idle time and still give your kids an academic edge, here are Top 3 Educational Apps that early learners are sure to enjoy! You might be able to catch a break while they are entertained too; crazier things have happened!
10. Make the Most of Every Single Second
Homeschooling is truly a gift, DO NOT take it for granted.
Try to make some memories whenever possible, and establish good habits among your family members so they stand a fighting chance in a world that is getting crazier by the minute.
Always be learning. There are more opportunities to teach your kids than you realize, so don’t stress too much. They will learn what they need when they need to learn it, regardless of what stands in their way.
We are the last line of defense for our families, and it is up to us to make the best of every situation, but in a connected world we don’t have to do it alone. If you ever want to connect or discuss ideas about how to start homeschooling your child, don’t hesitate to reach out in the form of a comment on this post and we can set something up.
You are going to make it through this. Your kids will be wonderful adults. You are doing great, so keep it up.
Start Homeschooling Today!
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If you don’t like anything at all, request a full refund before the 14-day money-back guarantee is up, but I suspect you will not be disappointed with everything the platform has to offer that can make your life as a homeschool parent so much easier.
Need some convincing? Check out my review of Time4Learning!
If you are looking for an affordable, beginner-friendly, intuitive platform that offers a complete non-religious homeschool curriculum, for either course material or as a supplement, check them out! (I will receive a referral reward of either $25 or a free month of school for my kids if you follow my link above)***9.
For now, I bid you farewell, but know that I am here to help you on your path to home education, and I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or just want to chit-chat about homeschooling stuff; Just comment on one of my posts or email me, and I will respond ASAP!
More to come soon!