Are you thinking about homeschooling? When we started homeschooling, I didn't have an exact plan of action. I remember coming home and asking my husband what did he think about me teaching our daughters. He gave me the okay and that was our start ... simply a decision for me to stay home and primarily teach our daughters.
Making the decision to homeschool can be simple especially if it is something you know you want to do. But, how do you get started AND maintain and sustain the desire to homeschool?
Eight Top Tips for Starting Your Homeschool Journey
Know Your State Laws
All states have a Department of Education website. Check out your state's website so that you will know what is expected of YOU. Don't rely on a secondhand knowledge when you can go to the source.
Talk It Over with Your Family
Deciding to homeschool when your children are three and four is much different from deciding to home school a 12 or 14 year old. Make sure to have a conversation with everyone who will be a part of the homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, therefore, it is important to be open about the changes that might occur. Allow your children to voice their concerns without becoming defensive.
Find a Guide to Help You Stay the Course
You aren't expected to know everything just because you decided to teach your children. When we started homeschooling, I used the Department of Defense Education Activity standards as a guide. They were written clearly and provided a way for me to see the areas I could work on with my daughters. There are also several books written for homeschoolers to use as an academic guide.
Noise can be good and bad. There are plenty of homeschooling websites, videos, and courses that can help you on your journey, but if you overload your senses with all this information there can consequences. Limit the amount of information you take in to help you keep from becoming overwhelmed.
There's also negative noise like family members who don't agree with your choice to homeschool children. When it comes to those who aren't supportive of your family's choice, set boundaries on the discussions you are willing to have with them. Homeschooling is a big job so reducing the negativity is a must if you don't want unnecessary frustrations to enter your home's atmosphere.
Don't homeschool alone. When I started homeschooling, I hung out on The Homeschool Lounge because I didn't have any IRL friends who homeschooled. It was great forum to bounce ideas off of other homeschooling parents and to get support. You can also find support in Facebook groups, searching for local meetups on Meetup.com, or by heading to the library or park midday until you run into a homeschooling family or two.
You can't do everything at once. Homeschooling is a bit by bit process so don't try to rush to get everything done in one day, one week, or one year. Be intentional about what you are doing at each stage in your homeschooling journey. In the end, all of the hard work and time will come together.
Be Honest with Yourself
This is a big one. Oftentimes we try to emulate other people when it comes to how we homeschool or parent, but I am here to tell this can be disastrous. Be honest with yourself about who you and your children are. Give yourself permission to do things differently then the next homeschooling family because the truth about homeschooling is no one does it the exact same.
Well, this is a big one too. It can become easy to get caught up in your ideas or your system, but homeschooling is fluid. It can change in the same year, the same week, or the same day. Although it is a serious task, make it a point to relax. We all know that becoming tense rarely helps a situation, and this is true in homeschooling.
Get the full run down on How to Successfully Start Homeschooling by watching the video.