10 Tips for Starting to Homeschool


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Thinking about homeschooling or know someone who is? It’s a big decision with much to consider. Here are 10 tips for starting to homeschool to help help you get off to a great start:

1. Learn Your State’s Laws And Requirements

The laws vary from state to state. Before starting to homeschool, be sure you know how to legally do so in your state. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s website has a synopsis of the laws for each state. You can also check your state’s homeschool support group website, which can usually be found by googling your state name, plus “homeschool support group” or “home educators association.”

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2. Get Plugged Into A Homeschool Group

I don’t know how we’d have made it through that first year without our homeschool support group. You can check for local groups through the HSLDA website, your state’s statewide side, or by checking Yahoo groups or Google.

3. Read About A Wide Variety Of Homeschooling Styles

It doesn’t matter what style of homeschooler you think you might be, everyone can benefit from reading about a variety of homeschooling styles. Very few people are 100% any given style and there is often much that can be learned from other styles. My favorite homeschooling style books are:

4. Research Curriculum

Visit curriculum fairs, ask homeschool friends, read homeschool curriculum reviews. Another great resource is The Curriculum Choice. Finding a good curriculum fit for your teaching style and your child’s learning will make your homeschooling life much easier.

Just keep two things in mind: 1) Sometimes finding the right curriculum is a matter of trial and error. Just because what you settle on first doesn’t work, doesn’t mean your homeschooling decision is a failure. 2) There is no perfect curriculum. What is a great fit for another family, may be a dismal failure for yours…and vice versa.

5. Subscribe To Some Great Homeschool Blogs For Support And Encouragement

I’ve listed 5 great homeschooling blogs and, of course, there are many others. And, there’s this one. {grin}

6. Research Learning Styles

Figuring out your child’s learning style (and your teaching style) can go a long way toward a smoother homeschooling journey. Of course, you can’t tailor everything to suit your child’s style, but knowing whether your child’s natural bent is auditory, visual, or kinesthetic gives you a great starting point for figuring out the best curriculum fit for your family.

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7. Be Prepared For Naysayers

Let’s face it, there are going to be people who think you’re crazy for homeschooling. Decide how you’re going to answer the homeschool critics, know that it’s not up for public debate, and prepare to stand your ground.

8. Realize That You And Your Public School Parent Friends Are Not Mortal Enemies Just Because You’re Homeschooling

If things in your relationships with your public school parent friends start to shift, assure them that your decision has nothing to do with them and everything to do with your family. Then, direct them to the Public School Parents’ Guide to Homeschool Parents for reassurance.

9. Plan Your Calendar

Not everybody does this, I’m sure, but it helps me to stay on track if I’ve figured out ahead of time which days are going to go toward our state-required 180 days and which days are going to be off days. It helps me to avoid too many unplanned days off. Of course, there is still room for flexibility, but I like having a framework.

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10. Bookmark Resources

Check out some of my favorite online homeschool resources.

Are you a new homeschool mom? Check out my eBook, Homeschooling 101. If you’re already homeschooling and would like to add more hands-on educational opportunities in your day, you might like Hands-On Learning.

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13 Comments

  1. I'd also add Lisa Welchel's book "So, You're Thinking About Homeschooling" to the list.  She interviewed several HSing families and they all do it differently.  It's helpful to see how each family arrived at their decision.

  2. Follow the sidebar ad "Shop: t-shirts and gifts for homeschool chicks" to get your own Homeschool Mom Superpowers shirt.

  3. I just started to homeschool this year. My daughter just turned 14. I wish I had done a calendar at the beginning of the year. It helps us stay on track. Next year!

  4. Our family started homeschooling this year after several years of public school.  Jumping in with a 6th, 4th and 1st grader along with a preschooler and toddler made this year a challenge for me!  I really appreciate this blog because there is a lot of information about homeschooling older children.  I love your curriculum reviews in particular-they are so informative.  Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with us!

  5. Thank you so much, this is great! Thorough yet simplified and easy to read. Makes it all seem very approachable to us new homeschooling Mama’s. I’ve bookmarked many (almost all) of the links you’ve listed 😉 cant wait to read further. Thanks for taking the time!!

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