The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling
There are many reasons that parents/caregivers decide to homeschool their children. Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to homeschool from the very start. Or maybe your child has previously attended public school where there were problems that led you to pull them out in favour of homeschooling Those problems could range from learning needs not being met, constant bullying, faith related conflicts, and so many more.
My own personal reasons stemmed from my son being bullied in 1st grade. After trying to work with the school to solve the problem, we found that their solutions (or their lack of solutions) was unacceptable. That was when we pulled our son out of public school and started homeschooling. We have been homeschooling ever since.
Whatever your reason, if you are wanting to start homeschooling, you likely have many questions on where and how to get started and what your responsibilities are. I hope to answer many of those questions for you with this article, so let’s get started.
What Are The Regulations Where You Live?
Before you actually start homeschooling you’re going to need to know what the rules and regulations are in your area regarding homeschooling. For example, we live in BC, Canada. Here we have the option of either registering, or enrolling as homeschoolers. Each of those choices has it’s own regulations that affect how we would homeschool. So we had to do a little research into our options, finding out the requirements of each one, and deciding which option would work best for our family. Some of the regulations include what content you need to teach your children at each grade level, or if you are free to teach what you like, when you like. They also include whether or not you need to report your child’s learning and attendance, and how often, and whether or not you will receive any funding towards your homeschool materials.
A few places to start looking for your area’s homeschooling regulations:
- This Wikipedia article gives a good starting place to determine whether homeschooling is legal in your country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling_international_status_and_statistics
- The Homeschool Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) International website: https://hslda.org/content/hs/international/
- You can also try searching online for your specific country/province/states regulations
- A public school, or education centre in your area may be able to point you in the right direction to find your area’s regulations. Be aware though, that sometimes public schools may give you incorrect information as not everyone is aware of homeschooling regulations.
Do Some Research Into Homeschooling Methods And Styles
Next you will want to do a bit of research into the different methods and styles of homeschooling. From “school-at-home” to unschooling, there are many ways to homeschool your children and many variations to each style. You’ll want to find a style that works best for you and your children. But don’t worry, nothing is set in stone, and if you find that something isn’t working, you can always make some changes at any time.
So where should you start when researching homeschooling? Try some of these methods:
- Google homeschool styles/methods. There are numerous websites and blogs out there that give some insight into the different homeschooling methods. In fact, I personally love to read the blogs of other homeschoolers to see what works for them, and see if there are strategies I can pull into my own homeschool.
- Check YouTube. There are TONS of homeschooling families with their own channels on YouTube these days. You can find curriculum reviews, day-in-the-life series, homeschool room tours and general tips and advice too.
- Read a book. Check out your local library or Amazon to find all kinds of books about homeschooling.
Choose Some Curriculum
Now it is time to choose some curriculum (or none at all if that is more your style). There are so many curriculums out there that it would be hard to give suggestions as each person will learn better with different curriculums. There are all-in-one curriculums where all the subjects are included, or you could piece together multiple curriculums for different subjects.
When I first started homeschooling with my children, we used an al-in-one, open and go curriculum to make things super easy while starting out. It made things much easier on me as the teacher because it was already assembled and planned out for me to teach. We have used My Fathers World curriculum sets (www.mfwbooks.com) for a number of years. I really loved the content and the ease of use, especially with multiple children.
Now a days I have branched out a bit more and we are choosing different curriculum options for each subject, to bring together the best programs that work for my children. There is a bit more involved in planning of course, but it is what is working for us right now. You can see what we used for the 2018/2019 school year here: 2018-2019 Curriculum Choices (Grades 3 & 6).
The best way to find curriculum will probably be to take what you learned during the “research” step, and look up some of the curriculums mentions and recommended by others. Really take a good look and see if it will work for your family. And again, don’t think that once you choose some curriculum that you have to stick with it if it turns out it’s not working for you and your child. You can always readjust as you see what works and what doesn’t.
Find Support Through Other Homeschoolers
One of the biggest helps for me while homeschooling has been to have the support of others that are also homeschooling. When I have questions, or want to share a homeschooling “win”, or ask for advice, I often turn to a local homeschool group on Facebook. Having a group of local homeschoolers also means that we can organize get togethers and field trips with each other. We’ve been to a dairy farm, museums, fire halls, waterslides and nature walks with our homeschooling friends. It’s a nice way to not only learn together, but to relax and play together too. Even if you don’t have a local group of homeschoolers where you are, you can still find general homeschooling groups online to bounce ideas off of and get advice when you’re feeling lost.