How to homeschool is not a mystery. Although when you are starting out homeschooling it may feel very overwhelming and chaotic. The best advice we can give to you is to relax and just get prepared the best you can for the year. If you are just starting out, be open to change. It may take you changing your organization habits, homeschool curriculum, or your schedule several times before you realize what works for you, the student and the family. This is the essence of homeschooling: that it’s about what works, not about rigidity.
First of all get some homeschool books to read. Not curriculum but guides from authors that have walked the walk. Get some good input.
Second: locate or start a homeschool support group. You will benefit greatly from the input, support and socialization with other homeschool parents and your children will benefit from knowing the other children that are homeschooled. Especially if your child is transitioning from public school or private school. Socializing with peers that have homeschool in common will help your child realize that they are not the only ones being homeschooled and that the social aspect of school is not lost.
Third: get well versed in your state’s homeschool laws. You must be aware of the requirements that you have to follow.
Fourth: do your homework and get wise about homeschooling curriculum. There are many choices, methods, theories and ways to do things. If this is your first year just go with what feels best but that also covers the state standards for homeschool.
Fifth: order any curriculum or books you need and make sure you have the school supplies that you need for at least a month or so. It is always good to plan ahead so look carefully at what you may need and make sure you have it at hand to prevent distraction like running to the store.
Sixth: get your house in order as much as possible. Children learn better in an orderly environment. So even if you are a very creative person who can function in less structure know that most studies will show that children function better in a well organized area. Be sure that there is an area that is for school. This does not mean that school monopolizes the space but that the students realize where school will be done. It is not bad if there are different zones of the house that are used for different things. Some families have a reading corner, a math zone, a word wall. Use what you think will make it fun and interesting and appealing to your student. Make a space that is truly a study zone.
Last: rest assured. If this is your first year homeschooling you will meet with some resistance from the people close to you. At least that is likely the case. The best homeschool advice out there is that you don’t have to defend what you are doing. You are the child’s parent, you are the expert on that child. Most often, parents know what their children need. Resolve to do right by your child and help them have the best learning experience possibly within your home and then just smile at those that doubt you. In the end, the proof will be in your child. In their confidence, their ability to get along with babies, children, teens and adults, their critical thinking, progress in school work and/or grade levels. Overall, homeschool children stand out as outstanding. Just proof that there are many ways to develop wonderful children. And if ever you feel that you have made a mistake by choosing to homeschool, be open to change. It is not for everyone. Be mindful to do what is best for your child.