You've Decided To Homeschool, Now What?

As you would imagine after homeschooling for so many years I often have people come to me and tell me that they too would like to homeschool, but now they have no idea of what to do next.

They come over or call me and ask me how in the world does one actually start homeschooling. In the past I think I overwhelmed people with 10+ years of experience and let the words just vomit out of me of different suggestions of how to make it work.

In this post I have broken down some basic steps of how to start homeschooling. Hopefully, leaving you a little more confident to take the plunge and give some type of direction so you’re not left floundering on what to do.

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You’ve Decided To Homeschool,

Now what?

 

Find Your Why

Just because you’ve decided to homeschool doesn’t mean that your life will magically become easier. There will likely be days where you will wonder what in the world were you thinking. If you can first find your why, then it is going to be so much easier to get through those hard days so you can enjoy all the great days.

My why has changed throughout the years; I started homeschooling simply because I felt like I should. Now that I’ve been doing it for so long my why is because I want to spend time with my kids, build strong relations with them, and I want to help them foster a love for learning.

I would highly recommend that you start with your why, so it will also give you a good idea of what direction your homeschool needs to take. 

Taking Your Kids Out Of School

This has been a question that I have seen pop up a lot of times. How do you logistically take your kids out of school? You call the school and let them know that you won’t be coming back. You don’t have to explain yourself; you can just do it. After all, they are your kids.

I definitely would always recommend leaving on good terms. If you want to give your teacher a thank you gift, then go ahead and do it, but you don’t have to feel guilty for taking your kids out.

Depending on the state you live in, you may need sign papers at your district. In Utah, you can either sign their paper at the district that says I’m homeschooling and I’ll teach certain things, or you can just write your own, which is what I did, and have it notarized. In Utah no testing is required for homeschoolers.

Detox Phase

My oldest three kids were only in school a very short time. When I pulled my kids out of school my oldest only had one month of 1st grade, my second son only had one month of Kindergarten, and my daughter had one month of Preschool. So you would think with them being so young that they would just jump into a new system of school. News flash, they didn’t!

My kids told me, constantly, that I didn’t do things like their teacher did, or they would let me know what I was doing wrong. The feisty side of me that loves sarcasm would usually answer them back with something that was a mix of frustration and anger. I didn’t know that there would be a detox phase after taking your kids out of school. Had I known, I am sure I would have been a lot more patient…hopefully.

Most people suggest that for every year your kid was in school to plan on a month of detox. So what do you do during that detox phase? My advice is to take it slow. Get out into nature, read great books together, help your kid find things their interested in to ignite their passion for learning.

Luckily for me, the detox phase didn’t last too long, and after a month or so we were starting to find our rhythm. There is no set time for how long your kids will need to detox, some may take months while others may take weeks. Just be patient and remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Choosing a Curriculum

Did you know that I am a beekeeper? A terrible one, but a beekeeper nonetheless. Anyway, I have been to dozens of beekeeping classes, I’ve read books, and I’ve even had a “bee whisperer” at my home. Do you know what I learned about beekeeping? That everyone does it completely different, and yet somehow it all works.

Homeschooling is the exact same way. If you asked 100 different homeschoolers how they homeschool, you would most likely get 100 different answers.

Some people like online schools, some have extensive co-ops they are a part of that gives them their homework for the week, some like un-schooling, and that is just the tip of the ice-berg.

I recommend using your strengths and individualize your school to your kids. If your kid doesn’t mind being at a computer, then by all means, use an online curriculum. If you enjoy putting together extensive lessons plan, then do it! I have tried a lot of different things and I like something that doesn’t require too much prep. I like to be able to learn right alongside my kids.

My favorite way to homeschool is using the Charlotte Mason style. I can go more into that in later posts. A blog I really like that gives an overview of how to transition into a Charlotte Mason method can be found HERE.

Social Experiences

And finally, my least favorite thing that people ask me, “How will my children get social interaction?” I could get up on my soapbox for a whole post all about homeschool kids and socialization. I will spare you my sarcastic comments about locking up my children in the basement, so that they never see other humans, so that I can hopefully ease someone’s troubled heart and mind about will their kid be socially awkward if they homeschool.

First, there are LOTS of socially awkward kids in regularly school, so if your kid was already socially awkward, then most likely they will still be socially awkward if you homeschool. But the great news is now you can teach them how to interact in social situations.

Second, there are so many opportunities for kids to hang out with other kids. We have church activities, scouts, band, plays, dance, sooo many different sports, all the neighbor kids, cousins, other homeschool friends, and the list could go on and on.

My kids often comment that they don’t know how kids in school have time to be social because they’re in school all day and then have homework at night.

Finally, being at school doesn’t teach you how to be “social” it is simply gives an opportunity to be with other kids your own age. Having your kids home really gives you the opportunity to teach them how to be polite, having manners, even though my boys still fart in front of me I promise I am trying, how to have a conversation with others, and so many other great things that you can teach them on how to be “social”.

These are some of the basics of just getting you started on your journey of homeschooling, and as always if you’d like some extra help just send me an email.

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