So, you’ve made up your mind, you’re going to homeschool your children. Maybe you made your decision because you wanted your children to experience a different educational atmosphere, your child wasn’t getting enough attention at your local school, or you travel a lot and homeschooling fits your schedule. It really doesn’t matter, every family has their own reason, and guess what? Whatever the reason may be, it’s the right reason.
Now that the new homeschool year is approaching, you’re probably feeling a bit intimidated and a little scared. That’s okay. Millions of parents just like you have experienced these feelings and worked through them. Homeschooling is a lot of work, but with some key advice, perseverance, and preparation, you’ll succeed.
Know the Laws in Your State
Each state has different regulations that homeschoolers must follow. Before you do anything, find the ones that pertain to your state and familiarize yourself with them. Some states have strict requirements that you must meet, while other states’ are less demanding. A great resource is your state’s Department of Education website. Keep in mind that state laws are fluid. They may change during your homeschooling tenure, so carefully review them a couple times a year. This way, you’ll always be up-to-date.
Join a Co-op or Homeschool Group
Homeschooling is an adventure, and like most adventures there are challenges. But you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Many homeschoolers, both new and experienced, join co-ops or homeschool groups. You’re surrounded by other homeschooling parents who can provide advice, comfort, and inspiration that you may find helpful in your homeschool routine. Your children will also be surrounded by other homeschooled children, which builds their socialization skills and lets them know that they’re not alone either.
One word of advice, co-ops may have dues and certain rules, and many will expect you to participate in some fashion. You may be asked to teach a subject or supervise groups of children. With that in mind, determine what you can offer a co-op and present them with your idea. Also, groups and co-ops may be faith-based, or follow themes such as scouting. Figure out what best suits your needs and philosophies and give it a try.
Solve the Curriculum Riddle
Choosing the right curriculum for your children can be like solving a really tough riddle. There are so many curricula available that you might think the more you choose the better off you’ll be. That’s not really the case. Before you do anything, figure out what learning styles your children prefer. There are seven different styles. They include:
- Visual: Using images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural: Using sound and music.
- Verbal: Using words, both out loud while talking and writing.
- Physical: Using your body, hands and sense of touch.
- Logical: Using logic, reasoning and systems.
- Social: Using groups and social settings with other people.
- Solitary: Learning alone as an independent learning.
After you become more aware of your children’s learning styles, you can choose the appropriate curriculum. For example, children who lean toward visual and aural styles, may like online learning tools. The computer-based lessons are similar to video games; they’re interactive and have characters and sounds that make learning fun.
Make a Plan
Now that you’re in charge, your children don’t have to follow the same plans and schedules that your local school created. You get to plan out the schedule and decide what your homeschool classroom will look like, what time school starts and stops, and when your children have break periods. Many homeschool websites have free homeschool planners that will assist you in creating a schedule. You’ll also want to set goals for the school year. But remember, set realistic goals. Many parents are so gung ho that they set unattainable goals. Be easy on yourself for your first year.
As the school year approaches and you perform these tasks, you’ll become better acquainted with homeschooling and its challenges. Just remember, you are your own homeschooler. Don’t compare yourself to other homeschoolers. Everyone is different, and what works for one family may not work for your family. This is your adventure, have fun and make the best of it!
Time4Learning.com is an award-winning, comprehensive curriculum for PreK-12th that makes learning effective and engaging through animated lessons and activities. The online program teaches and grades lessons, tracks and records progress, and keeps reports to simplify homeschool portfolios.
For over a decade, Time4Learning has helped more than 500,000 homeschooling families with its flexible and engaging curriculum, homeschool resources, and more. Our team of homeschool moms, homeschool dads, and support staff have come together to create helpful homeschool insights on subjects such as family, education, fun, and more!