Is your oldest a toddler? Are you just starting the “How do we want to homeschool our kids” journey and wondering where to even begin? It is beyond overwhelming these days with the number of options out there.
So start here! These are the first steps that those who’ve come before have taken. These steps will guide you in making curriculum, co-op, and day-to-day choices for your family’s unique needs.
Ask yourself “why.” Spend some serious time simply dreaming and deeply considering what your ideal homeschool day would look like and what vibe you want in your home. Do you want more flexibility with your schedule? Do you want to instill a love of learning in your children? Do you want to spend more time outdoors? Or do you have bookworm indoor kids that love to study? Answering these questions and writing out how you’d like your daily schedule to look to suit your kid’s needs is key. Later on down the road, when you’re not sure if you’re doing right by your kids with their unique abilities and desires, come back to what you’ve written out and remind yourself of why you started the journey in the first place.
Discover your child’s learning style. Before you think about how to homeschool, you need to know who you are homeschooling. Does your child learn best by watching videos or doing projects? Do they prefer to work independently or with a group? Find out what motivates them. Some children will strive for straight As, while others just want the satisfaction of knowing only one small area of study that really matters to them the most.
Research your state requirements. Homeschooling is legal in every state, but each state has its own laws governing homeschooled children. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a great resource for researching your state’s requirements.
Discover your teaching style. You may not know this, but you have superpowers. Find out what your superpower is and use it! Maybe you’re crafty and can come up with great projects. Maybe you have a way of explaining math that makes perfect sense. Lean into your strengths. Then, accept that it’s okay to ask for help in other areas.
Find a homeschool approach that works for your family. The HSLDA lists the nine most common methodologies for homeschooling including Traditional/Textbook, Classical, Complete curriculum, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, and more. Your homeschool journey affects everyone in your family, so make sure it jives with your current lifestyle.
Connect with the homeschooling community. Your greatest resource is other homeschool families. Connect with groups on Facebook, reach out to homeschool parents in your community, and go to homeschool conventions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll soon find out that asking lots of questions is the key to being a true homeschooler.
Attend a homeschool convention. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Literally. How do you know what’s inside the Grammar of Spelling book without flipping through the pages yourself? This is another great place to connect with like-minded people and ask questions about specific curricula.
Choose a curriculum. This could be very overwhelming, but because you’ve done your research and completed all of the previous steps, you’ll know what you’re looking for. You can use a single source for everything, like with the Veritas Press complete grade-level packages, or customize your own!
Get used to a routine. It’s not too early to establish a routine with your toddler. You don’t need to do school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, but you will need to establish a rhythm with your child that helps them be prepared for what your school day will look like when they’re older. After breakfast, read a few books. Encourage her to color or play with blocks so that she gets used to some organized play time.
Make room. Now comes the fun part! If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably already imagining where the different places in your home where you can do school. Check out Pinterest for organization ideas or decor. If you’ve made the decision to homeschool, it wouldn’t hurt to start purchasing school supplies off the sale rack. Start stocking up on living books. The first day of school will be here before you know it!
Of course, we know these years fly by, so don’t forget to enjoy the precious moments with your toddler as you plan for their future!
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