The number of families choosing to homeschool their children in the United States has grown exponentially. Because of this, an increasing number of parents are seriously considering homeschooling as a real option for their family. But, the question on their mind is “how?”. In this post I will discuss the necessary steps to take in order to start off a successful homeschooling journey.
Where should you Begin?
The first thing that you must do is research the homeschool laws and regulations for your state. Regulations vary state to state, with some being more strict and others more lax. We live in Texas, which is one of the best states to homeschool in my opinion because of the low homeschool regulation. In order to homeschool in Texas, your homeschool must be:
- A bonafide homeschool
- Use a written curriculum
- Teach (at least) reading, math, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship
The state requires that children begin schooling at the age of 6. If you start homeschooling your child at the age of 6 in Texas, you do not need to notify the state that you are homeschooling. If your child is already enrolled in public school, you will need to withdraw them and notify their school that you intend to homeschool. That’s it! For the most part, the state of Texas will then stay out of your homeschool life.
There are some states that require many more steps. I would highly suggest visiting hslda.org to find out what the homeschool laws are for your state. Please do not skip this important step!
Plug Into a Homeschool Community
Finding a homeschool community (whether in person or virtual) is so vital for a successful homeschool journey. If you are on social media, Facebook is a great place to start looking for a homeschool community whose values align with your own. There are countless homeschool groups to join, try a few out until you find your “peeps”. Believe it or not, Instagram is another awesome platform to find homeschool families that you want to be a part of your community.
Personally, I prefer my Instagram homeschool community over Facebook. I have connected with dozens of homeschool moms on Instagram who have been an invaluable source or wisdom, inspiration, and support. Being able to have that virtual community has without a doubt been a positive force on my homeschooling journey.
You can find homeschool pages on Instagram by searching hashtags. Some popular homeschool hashtags are:
Whatever your approach, the important thing is plugging into a homeschool community. This community can not only be a source of inspiration, but it also offers a glimpse of what homeschooling looks like in the real world.
Create a Vision for Your Homeschool
There are many homeschool approaches and philosophies. When you choose this lifestyle for your family it is important to consider which philosophy you want to follow for your homeschool. Some popular homeschooling approaches include but are not limited to:
- Charlotte Mason
As you research more about the different approaches, it will become easier to identify which one aligns best with your values.
We have chosen the eclectic approach with our homeschool. I love this approach because it is very relaxed and doesn’t leave us tied down with any one style.
In creating your vision for your homeschool, you will also need to decide how many days per week you will meet. I am a huge fan of the 4 day school week. It works fantastically well for my family and has led to less burnout.
Choose a Curriculum
The next step, and arguably the most important, is choosing a curriculum. A consistent requirement nationwide is that homeschoolers must use a written curriculum. In Texas, parents can use an official all-in-one curriculum, workbooks, online resources, etc. The choice of the type of curriculum is completely left up to the parents. This is another moment where knowing the homeschool regulations in your state really becomes relevant. While Texas is more lax, there are other states that are more strict regarding the type of curriculum that can be used for homeschool.
I’ll be honest, choosing a curriculum can be incredibly overwhelming. There are so many companies out there offering amazing curriculum and resources, and then there are some companies whose products are not so great. When you are in the beginning of your homeschooling journey it can be difficult to choose with confidence.
In order to help make choosing a curriculum for your homeschool easier, I would highly suggest that you lean on your homeschool community. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your community is full of experienced homeschool parents. They can offer advice and insight regarding companies that you should look into, and companies that you should probably avoid.
Of course, this is not a complete list of the steps that you will go through on your homeschool journey. However, I believe the tips outlined in this post will get you started in the right direction. Homeschooling may seem overwhelming at times, but please know that it does get easier and that you can do it! The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that it is an educational experience tailored specifically for your child and for your entire family as well. Keep it simple. Keep it fun.
Do you have a tip or advice to add for new homeschooling parents? Drop a comment!