Are you considering homeschooling and wondering what you need to homeschool your child?
If you are thinking “I want to start homeschooling, but I don’t know where to start,” this post is for you.
The prospect of homeschooling can be quite daunting for some, that’s why many would-be homeschoolers keep putting it off.
I have been homeschooling since 2014 (but I discovered homeschooling back in 2006), and I have learned a few things about how to start and keep homeschooling.
In this post, I am going to show you some things you can do to start homeschooling your kids today.
Before we dive in, let me address one of the most frequently asked homeschooling questions.
CAN YOU START HOMESCHOOLING AT ANYTIME?
Yes, you can start homeschooling at any time during the school year.
Since you don’t have to follow the same school schedule or calendar as your local public school, you can start homeschooling at any time during the year or whenever you are ready to.
So don’t feel like you have to wait until the start of a new school year before you begin homeschooling.
Okay, now we are ready to talk about what you need to homeschool your child.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy anything using my links, I may receive a small commission.
I WANT TO START HOMESCHOOLING: 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO START HOMESCHOOLING
1. BE FULLY COMMITTED TO HOMESCHOOLING
One of the most common questions aspiring homeschoolers ask is “How do I start homeschooling my child?”
If you are asking this question right now, my answer is, how committed are you to homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a full-time job and requires a lot of investment in time (and money), so before you jump in, be sure you are ready to take on the responsibility.
If you’re not fully committed, you are going to struggle to homeschool well, and may even end up doing some harm to your kids and family relationships.
If you’re married, both parents have to be on board and willing to take on the responsibility of teaching your kids at home.
It’s very hard to homeschool if one parent is opposed to homeschooling, so make sure both parents are in this together.
Another reason why both parents need to be committed is that there’s a financial cost to homeschooling you have to consider.
Here is what I mean.
When you decide to homeschool, one parent (usually the mom) has to give up her work to stay home to educate the kids. You have to consider how that would affect your family’s finances in the short and long term.
So the first thing you should do before you start homeschooling is to ensure you’re fully committed to the process.
2. YOU NEED DISCIPLINE AND DETERMINATION
If you’re going to do a good job of homeschooling your kids, you’ll need to be determined and disciplined.
Here’s what I mean.
When you take on the responsibility of educating your kids, you’re taking on a very important role.
This shouldn’t be taken lightly because your children’s future is what is at stake here.
Yeah, it’s serious business and one shouldn’t underestimate what is required.
You need discipline and determination to homeschool well. You need discipline to consistently homeschool whether you feel like it or not, or whether your day is going well or not.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be days when everything that could go wrong is going to go wrong and the best thing to do is to skip school for the day or take a break.
However, if you keep skipping school every time things aren’t going well, your kids are not going to get an education, and that isn’t what you (or them) signed up for.
You are going to have some distractions and maybe you’ll have other responsibilities as well, but you can’t afford to put your children’s education on the back burner while you attend to other things.
As a work-from-home homeschooling mom, it’s very hard for me to balance both roles, but I have to because I signed up for it.
It requires a lot of discipline from me because there are days when I don’t go to bed until 3 am, but I still have to wake up to teach my kids.
It’s a little bit easier now because my teen does most of his work independently, which frees up some time for me to work with his sister.
I know I may be coming across as an alarmist but this is very dear to my heart, and I want to be sure you understand what it takes to homeschool.
Homeschooling requires a lot of sacrifice from you and unless you’re disciplined and determined, you are going to have a hard time.
3. CHOOSE A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM OR NOT
One of the most common questions parents ask when they decide to homeschool is how to know what to teach or how to choose a curriculum.
First, let me say that lots of homeschooling families homeschool without using a curriculum so don’t feel like you need one.
If you decide not to use a curriculum, make sure you make a list of all the subjects (core and electives) you need to teach before you start looking for books or resources to teach those subjects.
Having said that, I like using a curriculum because I don’t have the time to put one together for my kids.
One of the main benefits of using a prepackaged curriculum is that it comes with all the materials for all the different subjects you need to teach (except math).
You can also use a different curriculum for individual subjects if that’s what you like.
Some parents prefer to cobble together their own curriculum so they can tailor it to their children’s needs.
These are all valid options.
We use the free Ambleside Online Curriculum and it’s been a blessing for me and my family.
It makes homeschooling quite easy for us since all I have to do is gather all the resources I need and I am ready to roll.
Whether you prefer a Christian or secular curriculum, there are lots of options for you to choose from so spend some time researching what is out there until you find something suitable for your family.
Just a quick note about the curriculum.
Whatever you do, don’t become a slave to your curriculum. Use it as a tool (since that’s what it’s meant to be) and don’t feel like you have to follow it religiously.
Take the parts that work for you, and ignore the other bits.
Here are some helpful posts on how to choose a curriculum:
Here are some books for you to check out if you want to dive deeper into curriculum choices:
4. YOU NEED A HOMESCHOOL BUDGET
I have seen a few articles with headlines like “How to homeschool for free,” but I haven’t read any of them
Personally, I’m not sure how you can homeschool without spending any money (except they mean homeschool without spending a ton of money, which is very doable)!
While you can keep your spending low, you still need to budget for homeschooling supplies, a curriculum (if you intend to use one), books, musical instruments, classes, and extra-curricular activities.
Since most homeschooling families tend to be one-income families, finances can sometimes be a bit tight. That’s why having a homeschooling budget is such a good idea.
When you know how much you have to spend during the school year, you can work out what to spend money on and what to forego.
Some things are going to be more important than others at different stages, so focus on those the most important things first.
Also, if money is really tight, you can always borrow things like books from your local library if you can’t afford to buy all the books you need.
How much you need depends on the number of kids you have and their ages or grades.
It’s more expensive to homeschool older kids because they need more stuff and their school work is more advanced.
For example, books and supplies for middle school and high school are more expensive than those for elementary school (grades).
So think about that when you’re trying to create a budget for your homeschool.
Make sure your budget is realistic.
To help defray some of your homeschooling costs, you can create a gift registry for all the things you need.
After creating a registry or wish list, you can then direct your friends or family members to your wish list whenever they want to buy gifts for the kids (or they can give gift cards like the Amazon gift cards).
I have been able to buy some of the more expensive homeschooling books with this method.
Just something else to think about.
5. LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
Before you start homeschooling, take the time to learn as much as you can about it.
Find out your state’s homeschool law and make sure you know their requirements.
The HSLDA website is a good place to learn about homeschooling requirements for individual states and countries. So go check it out!.
Read as many homeschooling books and articles as you can to help you learn about different homeschooling philosophies, methods, curriculum, and learning styles.
Some of my favorite homeschooling books for beginners include:
There’s a ton of information out there so be careful not to get bogged down with all the different options.
Back in 2006 when I first decided to homeschool, I read everything I could find about homeschooling.
I bought and read lots of books because I wanted to know everything about homeschooling.
Fourteen years later, I am still learning about homeschooling because things keep changing, and I am responsible for keeping up.
So my point is, even after you start homeschooling, don’t stop learning because that’s the only way for you to get better at it.
And when you get better at homeschooling, you will be better equipped to give your kids the best education that you can give them.
I WANT TO START HOMESCHOOLING: 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO START HOMESCHOOLING
Homeschooling can be fun and exciting but it requires a fair amount of work to do it successfully.
So use the five tips in this post to prepare yourself for homeschooling and don’t forget to keep on learning.
Do you want to start homeschooling?
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