So you’re interested in homeschooling and want to know how to start homeschooling TODAY and looking for homeschooling tips for getting started?
Or, maybe you’ve been wondering how do you start homeschooling your child . . . at all?
And, maybe even want to know how to homeschool my child for free?
(YES! You can do it!)
(Do you need to be a teacher? Do you need a homeschool certification?)
When you’re new to homeschool, knowing how to transition to homeschooling or wondering how to start homeschooling is daunting and it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed.
But, no worries!
We’re going to walk you through EXACTLY how to start homeschooling TODAY — whether you need to know how to start homeschooling kindergarten or you’ve been wondering, “How do I take my child out of school to homeschool?”
We’ve got you covered!
I’m so excited that you’re exploring your homeschool journey!
I KNOW THAT GETTING STARTED WITH THE HOMESCHOOL PROCESS AND WONDERING “What do I need to homeschool my child?” IS COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING.
SO . . .
Let’s start out with a quick overview of what you need to homeschool, whether you’re wondering how to homeschool in Texas, how to homeschool in California, or about homeschooling in Germany (or anywhere else) . . .
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THIS IS PART 2 IN OUR SERIES FOR NEW HOMESCHOOLERS.
How do you start homeschooling your child?
To get started homeschooling, you’ll need to:
- Review the homeschool laws for your state (or country). Homeschooling laws vary by state (and it is illegal to homeschool in some other countries outside of the U.S.).
- Understand parent qualifications for your area. Parents are not required to have a college degree to homeschool, but most states have a minimum education requirement (like a GED).
- Figure out your child’s learning style. Everyone learns differently and observing your child’s learning style right from the start will save you time, money, and frustration.
- Choose a homeschool learning method. There are many homeschooling methods like Charlotte Mason homeschooling, Montessori, unschooling, classical homeschooling, eclectic homeschooling and more. Understanding your homeschool method will assist you in choosing your curriculum or courses.
- Select curriculum or courses. There are many options for homeschool curriculum and online courses that will assist you in home education.
- Deschool your child (and yourself!).
- Find a homeschool support community. When you’re just starting out in homeschooling, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Having a homeschool community–online or in-person meetups–is extremely helpful.
Ok, now that you’ve seen a quick look at what you’ll need to do to get started homeschooling, let’s get into some more detailed explanations that will walk you through the process of how to homeschool in five easy steps!
When you’ve finished reading this “how to homeschool” info, you’ll know more about:
• REQUIREMENTS FOR HOMESCHOOLING YOUR CHILD
• QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
• HOW TO TRANSITION YOUR CHILD FROM TRADITIONAL SCHOOL TO HOMESCHOOL
• OUR RECOMMENDED HOMESCHOOL “CURRICULUM” FOR GETTING STARTED
• AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, HOW TO START HOMESCHOOLING YOUR CHILD TODAY
However, before we get started with any of that, I have a question for you:
Why do you want to homeschool?
I like to ask people to reflect on their reasons so that they’re clear on WHY they’re choosing homeschooling. Taking full responsibility for your child’s education is serious business and I want you to do it for the right reasons.
But, don’t be scared!
Chances are, homeschooling is something you’ve been thinking about for at least a little while now.
Maybe you want to homeschool because of a poor experience at public school?
Or, maybe you’ve become more frightened with the current climate in our society?
Or, maybe you realize that you can better meet your child’s needs than a traditional educational system?
Whatever your reason, there are many other parents homeschooling for the same ones (and a variety of other reasons you may not have even thought about)!
And, if you’re like me when I first started, you may be wondering if you’re going to be alone in this journey? Or, if you’re going to have a hard time finding “socialization” for your kids. Or, how do your “test” your homeschooled kids or tell what they’re learning.
And, maybe you’re even wondering what kind of people homeschool?
Check this out . . .
You may be surprised to learn that there are an estimated 1.7 million homeschooling kids in the United States!
Honestly, I (and many other homeschool families) think that homeschool statistic is on the low end and that there are actually significantly more homeschoolers than the data reflects.
You see, not every homeschool state has requirements that homeschool families must alert the state that they are homeschooling. (Every state has different homeschooling laws and requirements.)
And, that means that many homeschool families are not “counted” in reported homeschool statistics or educational data.
Here are some other homeschool statistics you may find interesting as you get started:
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Now that you understand a little more about homeschooling, let’s get into HOW TO HOMESCHOOL.
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 stop wondering how to homeschool and can instead start the process of homeschooling your child today!
Here’s what you need to start homeschooling TODAY with this step-by-step guide for beginners!
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5 Steps on How to Homeschool | What Do I Need to Start Homeschooling My Child TODAY?
How to Homeschool Step #1: Check Homeschooling Laws
Before answering anything else on how do you start homeschooling your child or looking for homeschool programs or even asking about the best homeschooling curriculum, you need to know this:
The number one thing you must do before starting homeschooling is to check the homeschool laws for your area.
Homeschooling is legal in every state of the United States, but it is illegal in some other countries.
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!
Some states have very relaxed homeschooling laws and have little to no state reporting requirements.
Other states have very stringent homeschooling laws where you may be required to use a specific curriculum or have to follow very specific guidelines.
If you have a child that has been attending traditional school, DO NOT pull your child from school unless you understand the homeschool laws for your state or country first.
Start by searching the internet for homeschooling laws for your state or country and be sure you have an understanding of them before proceeding to the next step.
How to Homeschool Step #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? Or, even with your children? A lot of families get their spouse on the same page, but forget to include the children in the homeschool decision.
It’s best to get the family on the same page, or at least a similar page, before you start all the homeschooling planning.
Sometimes, spouses (and, often even extended family members and friends) will have different viewpoints on homeschooling.
Dispelling homeschooling myths and misconceptions and helping everyone in the immediate family to understand the goal will help make your homeschooling journey a lot easier.
I went through this with my husband. (He didn’t want me to homeschool and I really, really wanted to.)
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.
A big part of family member pushback and not wanting you to homeschool the kids is based on fear and misunderstanding.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST WAYS YOU CAN GET FAMILY (AND FRIENDS) ONBOARD IS TO HELP ELIMINATE THEIR FEARS AND MISUNDERSTANDING.
And, you do this by being prepared!
What are your fears?
What part of homeschooling don’t you understand?
DO YOUR RESEARCH SO THAT YOU ARE ARMED TO ANSWER HOMESCHOOL QUESTIONS FROM FAMILY, FRIENDS, NAYSAYERS, AND ANYONE ELSE.
Mostly importantly, just be honest with everyone about your reasons for homeschooling.
How to Homeschool Step #3: Start the Transfer Process to Homeschool (if needed)
Can you start homeschooling at any time?
If your child has been attending public (or private) school, you will need to alert the school that your child is leaving.
If you don’t, your child may be counted as truant (and, this could create entirely new issues for your family).
In many cases and states, 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”) or withdrawals them from public school.
The transfer process will vary by state, so again, check your state homeschooling 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.
However, in other states, if your child has never been in the “school system” then you can just homeschool your preschooler or kindergartener and not be concerned with official paperwork or reporting.
Repeat this as a mantra: CHECK STATE LAWS ON HOMESCHOOLING.
(Now, repeat it over and over until you check your state homeschool laws and understand them!)
How to Homeschool Step #4: Deschool
Switching a child from traditional school to homeschool can be a confusing time, so you need a transition.
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.
Deschooling is used as a transition time between homeschooling and traditional school — and it is a MUST DO for both you and your child!
It’s a decompression period where your child gets out of the habits of traditional school and realizes he doesn’t have to meet the standard expectations of “school.”
By the way, you will need this time to “unlearn,” too, especially if you grew up going to a traditional school and this is your first time homeschooling!
You will all need a period of breaking in the new schedule and lifestyle.
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In the most simple terms:
Deschooling just means that you and your child “forget” how traditional school works.
With homeschooling, your kid doesn’t need to raise his hand, or he doesn’t need to ask permission to go to the restroom, or he won’t be sitting at a desk for six hours every day.
When you deschool, be sure NOT to implement any “formal” educational practices, especially those like they’ve been accustomed to during traditional school.
You don’t want to give your kids worksheets or “homework” during this time.
Deschooling Activities and Deschooling Ideas
Deschooling is a difficult concept, especially if you’re new to it.
You may have questions like:
If your kids don’t “school” during this time, what do they do with their time?
Here are some ideas and activities for deschooling:
• Go to the library and read
• Visit relatives and listen to their stories to get some family history
• Go on nature hikes
• Visit museums
• Make a state “things to do/see” bucket list and then do them!
• Do some kindness activities
• Play outside
• Do arts and crafts
Basically, anything you want to do is fine during deschooling.
Hopefully, this list will get you started and then as you become more comfortable with the deschooling process, you can add to the list with your own deschooling ideas!
During this deschooling period, you may also practice the method of unchooling.
This is a good method if the thought of your kid just “being” during deschooling makes you uncomfortable.
Unschooling is where you don’t keep a schedule and allow your child to learn how and what they would like to learn.
For example, maybe your child likes spiders.
During this time he might sleep in late and then read some books about spiders.
Or, maybe he watches an awesome documentary about spiders and spends some time on that.
And, maybe he asks to go on a nature hike and journal or draw about spiders in the wild. This an example of unschooling and child-led learning.
During the deschooling period you just allow your child to “be” . . . and it’s not going to look anything like what you or your child knows from traditional school.
And, that’s OK.
So, it may feel uncomfortable or like you’re cheating or that your child is doing nothing (or even something wrong).
However, your child will learn naturally if you allow it while they are “unlearning” traditional school methods.
How much time should you deschool?
The minimum recommended amount of time to deschool is one month.
Some use the rule of thumb of one month of deschooling for every year that the child was in a traditional school setting.
So, if your child was in 6th grade, you may deschool for six months.
However, this varies and many parents find that they need even more time.
Take the cues from your children and begin a homeschooling schedule when they (and you) are ready.
How to Homeschool Step #5: Start with a Homeschool Unit Study
If you’re like most homeschool newbies, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time researching what your child needs to study and how you’re going to teach it.
(I’m looking at you, math anxiety.)
This is where a prepared homeschool curriculum can come into play.
A homeschool curriculum provides all the materials you need to teach a specific subject like math or language arts. Homeschool curricula can be either print (using books, worksheets, etc.) or online.
Homeschool curriculum can be a lifesaver, but it can also become very restricting.
REMEMBER: YOU CHOSE HOMESCHOOLING BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN TRADITIONAL SCHOOL.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by alllllllllllll the homeschool curricula out there (I totally get it . . . and so does every other homeschooling parent), then let it go for right now.
Let me repeat that:
YOU DO NOT NEED A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM TO START HOMESCHOOLING.
(One caveat is if you have a curriculum required by your state. Again, check your state laws!)
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. (See the spiders example from #4.)
Maybe your kid likes anime.
You can read books, or learn about drawing Manga/Anime.
And, you can watch a Manga or anime story.
Or, 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. Or, you may decide to continue with the unit method or unschooling! Trust your instincts and be OK with switching things up!
The last thing I want you to do is RELAX when learning how to homeschool!
It sounds like a ridiculous thing to say with all the anxiety of starting out homeschooling, but if you start out relaxed then your homeschool journey will be much better.
How to homeschool starting TODAY is easier than you think!
RECAP: STEPS ON HOW TO HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILD STARTING TODAY
- First get started on researching your state (or country) homeschooling laws.
- Get your family on the same(ish) page.
- Start the transfer process from traditional school to homeschool (if needed).
- Ditch the homeschool curriculum and started with a more relaxed homeschool unit study.
AND, BONUS STEP: RELAX!
After following these steps for a few months, then you can go back and re-evaluate.
You may decide at that time that you want to follow a specific homeschooling method or use a particular homeschool curriculum, but you do not need to figure those things out at the beginning of starting to homeschool your child.
DO THIS NEXT: REVIEW MOST COMMON HOMESCHOOLING QUESTIONS
So where do you go from here?
We’ve created an entire guide that covers the most common homeschooling questions and gives you homeschool resources to get you started.
OR, check out these other homeschool blog posts: