10 Most Important Steps to Get You Started in Homeschooling {Part 2}

Posted in Just Starting Out on August 5, 2017 - by

This family took the necessary steps to start homeschooling today!

So, you’re ready to homeschool. Awesome choice. The flexibility, family time, and individualized approach to teaching your child is going to pay off big in your child’s confidence and growth. And you can have peace of mind with no fear of bullying, homework woes, or dreaded bus rides!

But starting something new is never easy; it’s good, but not easy. And the homeschool community is vast and vocal, which can lead to information overload.

You need a place to start, steps you can follow that will set you on the path towards homeschool success. If you missed the first part of our How to Get Started Homeschooling series, read this. If you’re ready for the next installment, read on fellow homeschool heroes to find out steps 6-10!

Get off to a running start with these homeschool tips

6. Start considering curriculum.

This step can be super overwhelming but incredibly exciting at the same time. There are literally hundreds of curriculum options for each subject! How can you possibly narrow down your choices for each child and be sure that it will work? The truth is there’s a little bit of trial-and-error in curriculum choice, which is why knowing your child’s learning style is critical to identifying the best place to start. Once you know how your child learns best, begin sorting through the different options that appeal to the learning style in each subject. Ask questions, research reviews, then ask more questions! If you can borrow or download a sample, that’s even better.

Ultimately, be sure to choose a curriculum provider that has a money back guarantee, and keep receipts of the curriculum you purchase so that you can return it if it’s not working. Still overwhelmed? There are homeschooling experts who will help you choose curriculum, make suggestions based on learning style, and even provide you with extras that will make using the curriculum more simple and fun. Above all else, realize that no curriculum choice is a marriage. You can walk away at any time and go a different direction. That’s the great thing about homeschooling: you’re in control and can adjust as you need!

7. Find a planner or organization method.

There are a ton of ways to organize your day, month, year, schedule, etc. And, while it won’t look the same for everyone, you will need to be organized and have a plan. This is a “you do you” step. If you’re into technology and online calendars, consider Home School Inc.’s PER online planner. It’s free and comprehensive. Another great option is Homeschool Skedtrack. This website is also free and also includes record-keeping sheets. I’m more of an organization and schedule binder kind of gal. I start by organizing each subject by week, then plotting it on a monthly calendar. At the beginning of each week, I then write out the weekly assignments and schedule for each kiddo for them to follow. You can find a ton of free printables at ihomeschoolnetwork.com and homeschoolmom.com. Get yourself a few nice binders, a ream of paper, some nice highlighter sets, and get to work!

8. Plan your extra-curricular activities.

Maybe your kids are already super involved in sports, scouts, or church activities. That’s awesome! You’ve already got a schedule to work with and know the ins and outs. Stay the course. If your kids are heavily involved in school activities, this will mark a change if your local district or previous school does not have a homeschool-friendly policy. (Note: If they say “No,” keep asking up the chain. You may get to a “Yes” from someone with more power willing to work with you.) The great news is that there are a ton of places, groups, co-ops, and individuals that can provide social, athletic, and creative opportunities for your homeschoolers. And, since you get to set your schedule, you have plenty of time slots to work them in! Need some ideas for fun extra-curricular activities? Check these out!

9. Find a record-keeping method, or support.

This is one part of homeschooling that may not even be on your radar. As a new homeschooler, you’ll need to keep track of your children’s mastery and show results via records (grades, time logs, etc.). This can be daunting for those who have never done it before. That’s why I strongly recommend finding a friend or two who can coach you through record-keeping and show you the tools they use. Be sure to keep in mind what’s required by your state because many have specific rules for hours, mandatory courses in certain grades, etc. Another great option is to find a record-keeping service that will do this for you and ensure that you’re both on track and state compliant. If you are wanting someone else to help in the process, don’t forget to ask these 20 Questions!

10. Prioritize fun, field trips, and family time!

This is perhaps the most important of all of the steps to get ready to homeschool. Regardless of why you’re homeschooling, you will reap the benefit of more family time, togetherness, and fun. And the FUN is really important because it will keep you going and give you something to look forward to when the going gets tough and the tough want to quit homeschooling! Start planning field trips, vacations, and fun times into your year. Get your kids involved by having them make a homeschooling-year bucket list of activities they want to do, places they want to go, and stuff they want to learn. Then, make it happen! Put it in the calendar, make reservations, buy tickets, map out locations, and enjoy the time you have just to be together without distractions!

The leap into homeschooling can sometimes feel like a terrifying free fall. But you’re not alone and you can succeed in this new adventure. Be smart and follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before you and know what to do (and not to do!) in this new beginning of yours.

Above all else, find the support and help you need to make this journey a successful, enjoyable, and enriching one. Because it will be the best journey of your life as you grow deeper in love and build your legacy with those that matter most:, your children.

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Bridgeway President

About Jessica Parnell

Jessica Parnell is a homeschool evaluator, consultant, and mom. She earned her MS in Secondary Education and Teaching from Bucknell University and is currently the president of Bridgeway Academy.
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