Homeschooling is on a roll! The community is growing by leaps and bounds, new homeschooling podcasts are popping up left and right (I’m loving THIS one!), and the forums that I’m part of online are growing every day. I love that so much, but I know what that must mean–there’s a whole lot of worry-filled and fresh newbs out there that probably have a ton of questions. Being a new homeschooler, you have a LOT of information to sort through. Let me help you with that.
Ask questions! Make mistakes! (Thank you, Ms. Frizzle.)
But since homeschooling is one of my all-time favorite topics of conversations, let’s talk about green homeschool mamas and what they need to know. All the posts, articles, and Pins out there can make starting out feel very very overwhelming. So, I’ve written out about just four things you need to know about homeschooling. And don’t worry, I’ll try not to add to your overwhelm!
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1. Know your state’s laws about homeschooling
Most states only require you to fill out a form, like a letter of intent, saying you’re going to homeschool. A lot of states require yearly testing. Most of those states don’t even require you to turn those results in, just keep them in case they’re ever needed.
Every state is a little, tiny bit different though, so it’s good to figure this all out before you start planning your year. Go to HSLDA’s website OR contact your local school district and they’ll be able to help you and direct you to the right paperwork you need to fill out.
2. Start small, build from there
Going in gung-ho is SO easy to do. You’re excited!! And you want your first year of homeschooling to be amazing!! Here’s where I would warn you though…just small and make those small things amazing. Then build from there.
If you are homeschooling kinders and first-graders, don’t even buy a full curriculum. Really. Get some great art supplies. Buy the best picture books you can find. Get a handwriting practice book so they can learn their letters. Play phonics games. Play tons of math games. And call it a day.
If you’re homeschooling older ones, just start with the basics–reading, writing, and arithmetic and make those three things really fun!
- Choose a great book list to read aloud that everyone will enjoy. Use your read aloud for your language arts. If your kids are old enough, choose a book list for them to read on their own too.
- For writing, don’t be so stressed on the technicality side of things, just focus on letting your child have his amazing voice be heard. I have a ton of great ideas pinned to my Writing Pinterest board.
- For math, choose a curriculum that feels right for you and your child. It might be the one! It might not be. You can always change later, just pick one and get going. Play a lot of math games. Find little ways you can incorporate “living math,” like having your child measure the wall for a wallpaper order or calculating a tip when you’re out for dinner.I love Cindy West’s book, Loving Living Math. It gave me SO many great ideas for math–beyond fact sheets!
3. New homeschooler, just trust yourself
Listen, have confidence in yourself! YOU are a great mom! YOU are capable of this job!
You’ve been teaching your child since the day they were born. You taught them to feed themselves and walk and tie their shoes. There’s no reason you can’t teach them to read or multiply.
Don’t think about six years down the road. Think about this year.
You are already their teacher, it just feels more official now. Trust yourself!
4. Surround yourself with good people and good resources
Google searches, blogs, books, magazines, Pinterest, well-meaning people–there’s SO much information out there! Proceed with caution here. Surround yourself with the resources that make you feel good!
If a group, a person, a blog, or anything else is starting to make you feel badly about yourself, stop right there. This world provides enough information out there where you can find the stuff that will build you up and get you ready for this venture!
You don’t have time for anything else.
From the beginning, I’ve wanted this space to be a place where homeschoolers of all kinds and walks in their journey could come and get encouragement. That’s why I created the Learning Well e-course too. To give you the tools you need to feel confident about what you’re about to do!
There’s a lot of info out there, true, but following your instincts will surprise you! You know your kids, you’re gonna be awesome!
PS: Want a little sneak peek into the Learning Well course? Here you go!