If you’re new to homeschooling, the answer to “How can I start homeschooling today?” will depend on where your child is currently in his or her schooling. If your child is just starting school (like a preschooler or in kindergarten), it will be much easier than if you are transferring your high school student into homeschooling.
Either way, you can start the process of homeschooling your child today! (We know you have a lot of questions about homeschooling! Read on!)
What Do I Need to Homeschool My Child?
1. Check Homeschooling Laws
The number one thing you must do before anything else is to check the laws on homeschooling for your area. In the United States, every state has different homeschooling laws and you need to be sure that you are compliant with those laws before you even start! DO NOT pull your child from school unless you understand the laws first.
2. Discuss Homeschooling With Your Child and Family
You may have this great idea that you want to embark on a homeschooling journey, but have you discussed it with your family? It’s best to get the family on the same page before you start. Sometimes, spouses will have different viewpoints on homeschooling. Dispelling homeschooling myths and misconceptions and helping everyone in the family to understand the goal will help make your homeschooling journey a lot easier. Trust me.
Also, don’t forget to talk to your kids about homeschooling before you begin. They may have some questions and concerns and you will want to address those immediately.
3. Start the Transfer Process (if needed)
If your child has been attending public (or private) school, you will need to alert the school that your child is leaving. In many cases, you do not need to reveal to the school that you are now homeschooling your child. Instead, you can just complete the paperwork that transfers your child to a private school (without naming it “homeschool”). The transfer process will vary by state, so again, check your state laws and guidelines.
Also, if your child is just starting preschool or kindergarten, you may be required to alert your state that you are homeschooling. Repeat this as a mantra: CHECK STATE LAWS ON HOMESCHOOLING.
4. Deschool (if needed)
If your child has been in any form of traditional school, your child will need a period of deschooling, or “unlearning” to transition from the traditional methods of learning to a more relaxed homeschooling style. (You will need this time to “unlearn,” too!)
During this deschooling period, you may practice the method of unchooling where you don’t keep a schedule and allow your child to learn how they would like. Maybe your child likes spiders? During this time they might sleep in late and then read some books about spiders, or maybe watch a documentary about spiders and then go on a nature hike and journal about spiders in the wild. During this period you just allow your child to be and learn . . . and it’s not going to look anything like what you know from traditional school. So, it may feel uncomfortable or like you’re cheating or that your child is doing nothing. However, your child will learn naturally if you allow it. Give them time to decompress and be OK with it!
5. Start with a Unit Study
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by alllllllllllll the homeschool curricula out there (I totally get it . . . and so does every other homeschooler), then let it go for right now. Let me repeat that: YOU DO NOT NEED A CURRICULUM TO START HOMESCHOOLING. (One caveat is if you have a curriculum required by your state). To start homeschooling today, you can either unschool or create a unit study.
CHECK OUT : WHAT IS THE UNIT STUDY HOMESCHOOL METHOD?
With a unit study method, you ask your child what they would like to learn more about during homeschooling. Then, you build learning around that. Maybe your kid likes anime. You can read books, or learn about drawing Manga/Anime. You can watch a Manga or anime story. You can also have your child create their own anime. Within this short example of learning about anime, we’ve covered the subjects of writing, grammar, spelling, art, and more . . . with a topic that your child loves!
If you do a few unit studies like this on different topics, it will help you ease your way into homeschooling. Then, you may want to pick another method or curriculum later once you become more comfortable with homeschooling.
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