As a parent and educator, I have really enjoyed temporarily homeschooling my 3 and 4 year old. So I, like other Moms out there was curious about the homeschooling process and wanted to find out more details about how to start homeschooling, if we go that route come the Fall 2020. As a teacher and parent, I wanted to know where you would even begin. I found a lot of good information to share. Do you know there are about 2.5 million home school students in grades K-12 in the United States today? Wow! Which I am sure that will be on the rise after this year. So how do you start the process for homeschooling your kiddos? What is the first step? I hope this post helps my readers create a road map and inspire them to teach their little hearts out.
This post may contain affiliates links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost of you, if you make a purchase through a link.
What homeschooling curriculum should I follow? I did some research for you. This is where it can get overwhelming. However, do not let it. There are so many different curriculum’s out there but first you need to understand what your teaching style will be and think about what kind of learners you have. Be an expert on your kids, how do they learn best, what do they love the most, what do they like, what makes them tick, and help them learn that way. I love fueling the fire in my kids with learning. Do not look for a box or curriculum to do that, make your own curriculum. I will provide you a handful of resources and curriculum but you know at the end of the day what your child should learn and how to get them there. You can absolutely have lots of fields trips and outings and make home school fun.
There are hundreds of curriculum out there but I am going to introduce a few. Again, find what works best for your family. These are all just suggestions and findings I found based on research. Basically it seems parents use a different curriculum based on subject area and age of children. So what I use for my preschoolers are not necessarily what you will use for a middle school aged child.
Montessori Inspired Curriculum:The Montessori approach to early childhood education is a child-centered approach that values each child as a unique individual. Creativity and curiosity are encouraged and because Montessori is more of a philosophy than a defined program, any parent can create their own Montessori homeschool curriculum.
Faith Based Curriculum: If you are looking for a Catholic curriculum, Senton is highly recommend. Seton is an accredited school assisting homeschooling parents by providing an academically excellent and authentically Catholic curriculum. There is also Sonlight. There Language Arts programs are based on the “natural learning” approach. You can find their Christian homeschool curriculum here.
Free Based Curriculum:Khan Academy has instructional videos, automatically graded practice problems, and dashboard showing student progress. It is a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Easy Peasy is all in one homeschool that enable families to homeschool who thought they couldn’t because of a lack of finances, a lack of time, or a lack of know-how.
Charlotte Mason Based Curriculum: Ambleside is a free online curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles to prepare children for a life of rich relationships with everything around them: God, humanity, and the natural world.
Wild and Free Based Curriculum: This is an emerging group of mothers and homeschoolers who want their children to not only receive a quality education, but also to experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood.
For more home school curriculum reviews, check out Cathy Duffy website. It has so many wonderful resources.
If this will be your first year to homeschool try not to stress too much about the curriculum. Test the waters and see what works for your family. I think a great curriculum will help give you a great road map and help you identify your goals and it is there to serve you, but feel free to adjust it accordingly. Be flexible and again try not to stress. You may even need to skip days and take the day off here and there.The length of your homeschool day depends on your family rhythms, your children’s pace, and life’s unpredictable circumstances.
Lastly, try not to compare your kids. This is hard especially when our society teaches us that we need to make sure we reach milestones at this age and learn to read at that age. No, every child is different. Every child learns something new at their own pace and we as parents need to understand this and relax. At the end of the day all kids are individuals and will progress at different levels. This goes for our children too. I think figuring out their learning styles first and foremost is essential for homeschooling.
Figure out your children’s learning styles and family’s personality and go from there. You have the power to design your home school time and curriculum the way it fits your family and take advantage of the flexibility it gives you and enjoy it.
The Vark Model shows 4 different types of learning styles. This is so important because by understanding your child’s process of learning and thinking it can help you be more efficient at teaching them. I feel like when you figure out your childs learning styles it will set everyone up for success.
Visual Learners can take in and retain a lot of information really quickly because you prefer this processing method that humans are already very good at.These students can easily visualize information and have a good sense of direction. Visual learners are observant of the world around them and are drawn to art.
Visual learners are often pulled toward, and do well in, STEM fields. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The best way to teach your child if they are a visual learner is by using visuals, posters, flash cards, maps,and whiteboards.
IS YOUR CHILD A VISUAL LEARNER?
- My child excels at visual activities (such as art)
- My child enjoys books that include illustrations (such as pictures, graphs, maps, etc.)
- My child is good at recognizing and recalling people, words, and places
- My child is very interested in the world and objects around him or her
- My child does best when provided an example of the task he or she is working on
Kinesthetic Learners learn best by using their body or hands, these learners are all about the sense of touch. Physical activities and sports play a big part in these student’s lives. Getting hands-on is a must for these learners who love to tinker and learn best when they can do rather than see or hear.
My little boy is very much a kinesthetic learner and so I make sure design teaching and activities around that. For kinesthetic learners, movement is key! They are very high energy, learn through hands on activities, and are highly coordinated.
IS YOUR CHILD A KINESTHETIC LEARNER?
- My child excels at physical activities (such as sports)
- My child has a hard time sitting still while learning
- My child enjoys hands-on activities
- My child enjoys active learning activities like drawing or study games
- My child prefers to jump straight into a task and get started
Auditory Learners learn best by hearing and carefully listening.Auditory learners learn by listening and speaking, so they process information very easily.Auditory learners are drawn to sound. They may be especially musical and show an aptitude for playing instruments or singing. They are good listeners and often have verbal strengths. They follow oral directions well. For auditory learners you can read directions or instructions out loud and use the sing-songs.
IS YOUR CHILD AN AUDITORY LEARNER?
- My child excels at auditory activities (such as music)
- My child frequently sings, hums, or talks when playing or doing schoolwork
- My child does well when following verbal instructions
- My child enjoys talking and having conversations with others
- My child listens to all the instructions before starting on a task
- My child asks a lot of questions when working on tasks or activities
Reading/Writing Learners work best in the reading/writing modality demonstrate a strong learning preference for the written word. This includes both written information presented in class in the form of handouts and PowerPoint slide presentations. Reading/writing-oriented students should be encouraged to take copious notes during classroom lectures to help them both process information and have an easier time recalling it later.
IS YOUR CHILD A READING/WRITING LEARNER?
- My child often writes things down or takes notes when working on a task
- My child enjoys reading books and writing stories
- My child is good at remembering what he or she has read
- My child works best alone in a quiet space
- My child does best when writing down instructions to follow for a task
I hope after reading over these different learning styles you can better understand your child and how they will learn the best.
I also learned about different homeschooling philosophies. You have electic homeschooler which means you choose different curriculums and mix it up. There are 7 different approaches Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Unschooling, School-at-Home, Unit studies, and Eclectic education methods.
What are my state laws for homeschooling? Can I homeschool my kids if I am not a certified teacher? It all depends on where you live. If your state laws seem confusing and difficult do not let it discourage you. I live in Texas and it is very much a homeschool friendly state and not too many regulations but that may be different for your state. However, the information is easy to find.
HSLDA has a website you can go to that will help you get started and allows you to look up your states requirements. Some states have very high regulations some have very low regulations. I highly suggest visiting the HSLDA website before getting started to see your states requirements.
For example is Texas, you do not need to be a certified teacher nor take immunizations or take state test. You do not even have to contact the state or local officials here. However, in other states it varies. The high regulated states mean that the school district will have strict requirements for your homeschool program or they will require you to have their approval in order to homeschool your children. They may also be directly involved in decisions like curriculum, testing, record keeping, and more. For more details on your state requirements I would for sure check it out at HSLDA or CRHE.
CRHE is another great resource and website to look at. The Coalition for Responsible Home Education empowers homeschooled children by educating the public and advocating for child-centered, evidence-based policy and practices for families and professionals.
How much does homeschooling cost? Is it expensive?If you are just beginning the journey of homeschooling, that’s a question that is probably front and center of your concerns. However, compare it to the cost of private schools in your area then absolutely not. There are a lot of articles out there on how to homeschool on a budget. Here are some cost to consider.
- Curriculum: $350-$750
- Materials: $150-$300
- Field Trips: $100-$250
- Extracurriculars: $100-$500
- Approximate total cost per year per student: $700-$1800
For more details and cost you can check out the Pioneer Woman she has a great article on the expenses of homeschooling. Again, remember there are so many free resources and curriculums out there you can find.
Find your tribe. Find your co opt group. If you cant find one, make one. Check on Facebook. Google homeschool co op near me. It can become very isolating so make sure you find a support network. This is key. You can easily find a small group of homeschoolers in your area and again if not create your own group. Get with other Moms and teach one week and then they teach the next. This is a great way to socialize the kids as well with other kids.
Many homeschooled kids take part in the following activities or clubs:
- Community sports (such as soccer, softball, basketball, or baseball)
- Music lessons (such as piano, violin, flute, or guitar)
- Girl or Boy Scouts
- 4-H Club opportunities (such as archery, debate, leadership, acting, and animal care)
- Art classes
Also, keep in mind that extracurricular activities can quickly overwhelm your family time and can lead to an over scheduled child which is something many homeschooling families try to avoid. Again, check your community calendar of places because there are a lot of free extra curricular classes and activities out there.
You can check out Jen’s blog History at Home on how to get started with homeschool or how to teach your high school children. She has been homeschooling for 13 years and I love her article that talks about 6 ways you can homeschool for super cheap.
Jana from A Bunch of Browns has been homeschooling for 9 years and suggest no curriculum until 7 or 8 years of age. She thinks the best learning happens through play, hiking, cooking, field trips, library, fire station, and nature centers. You can find and like her on Facebook at A Bunch of Browns.
Whitney has been homeschooling her kids for 4 years and loves it. She writes about her families adventures and travels centered around homeschooling on her blog, The Homeschool Globetrotters. For more information on the benefits of homeschooling and planning check out her article Where To Start.
Tiffany has been homeschooling since the beginning and her kids are now in 2nd and 4th grade. You can download your free homeschool schedule at her blog The Stoke Fam. She also writes about her family adventures and living a stress free life. You can read more about the free homeschool resources they use and all the amazing family adventures they have taken.
Colleen has a large family of 6 kids and you can learn more about their minimalist lifestyle at Uncomplicated Motherhood. She has a YouTube channel and shares her amazing homeschool routine and much more. She loves keeping it simple. For more inspiration on how to simplify your daily life, homemaking, marriage, finances, motherhood don’t forget to check out her Uncomplicated Motherhood YouTube channel.
Caitlin just wrapped her first year homeschooling and you can find more stories about her experience at My Chocolate Moments. She gives you 10 reasons why she decided to homeschool.
Sarah has 6 years experience with using online school. You can find more tips and tricks regarding online school, platforms, curriculum, calendars, and way to figure out online home school at her blog Online School Mom.
Wow so after all the research and resources I combined I hope you learned more about the homeschooling process because I sure did! I found it fascinating. I hope you found some answers, inspiration on homeschooling, and guidance you can use to go forward. You can also listen to me more about homeschooling my kids and little bit about self care on the Ahealthyglo podcast. I had so much talking about this!!! Enjoy listening while you sip on your coffee.
Do you homeschool or are you thinking about it? Let me know your thoughts. For free PreK educational resources please subscribe to Mamma-Tribe below and let’s stay connected.