Wondering how to prepare for homeschooling as a first year parent homeschooler or want to know what do I need to homeschool my child? In this starting home schooling quick guide, we’ll cover researching your homeschooling options and the quick questions to answer to begin with your home school schedule.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR HOMESCHOOLING AS A NEW HOME SCHOOL PARENT
Thinking about how to start homeschooling can be overwhelming! You may be wondering things like what qualifications do you need to homeschool your child and how do I actually teach my kids so they get all their lessons.
The truth is, to begin homeschool you only need to answer these four questions at the beginning…
Top questions to answer to prepare for homeschool:
- Are you homeschooling or schooling at home?
- Do you want an everything done for you homeschool curriculum?
- What are your state laws about homeschooling?
- What do you need to do to transfer?
*See the full discussion about homeschooling below to help you answer these questions!
GRAB THIS: HOMESCHOOL STARTER PACK & GUIDE
When first beginning homeschooling, here are the things you DO NOT need to homeschool:
- Choosing a homeschool curriculum first thing
- Choosing a homeschool method, style, or approach
- Creating a homeschooling space or room
- Setting homeschool goals
- Creating a homeschool schedule
I’m not saying that you won’t use these during your homeschool planning, but you definitely don’t need to make these decisions right away.
WARNING: On many education and parenting websites that aren’t specific to homeschooling, but just jumped on the how to homeschool during coronavirus, there’s a lot of misinformation about homeschool. (I even saw a car mechanic site write a homeschooling blog post during that time. SIGH.) Please stick to home school specific sites! There are many trusted homeschool sites out there!
CHECK THESE OUT NEXT:
How many hours a day should I homeschool my child?
What is a good schedule for homeschooling?
What supplies do you need for homeschooling?
How to prepare your home for homeschooling
How to prepare yourself for homeschooling (parent qualifications to homeschool)
Let’s get into more detail discussion and tips for successful homeschooling your first year!
Homeschooling for Beginners: How To Prepare for Homeschooling
These are just starter questions for homeschooling (the things to get you started ASAP). Be sure to read the other homeschooling blogs listed below each section
1. Are you homeschooling or schooling at home?
The first thing you need to answer is: Do you want to homeschool or do you want to school at home?
These may seem the same, but there is a distinct difference between homeschooling vs schooling at home.
Traditional homeschooling is you as the parent, at home, leading your child’s learning. It is not affiliated with any public or private school. Your homeschoolers may use a homeschool curriculum, take online classes, or even take in-person classes taught at activity centers or businesses (like a Spanish class taught at the YMCA).
PROS OF TRADITIONAL HOME SCHOOL: You get to cater to your kids interests and learning style.
CONS OF TRADITIONAL HOME SCHOOL: You will feel uncomfortable at first with your ability to “teach” your child (that’s normal) and will feel completely overwhelmed trying to figure out a curriculum (also normal). It get’s a lot better once you get more confidence after a few months.
Schooling at home is doing public school, just from home. Kids follow the same curriculum as public school requirements (as well as take standardized tests). Classes are either all online from home or may be a hybrid model where kids spend some time at home doing classes online and some time at a brick-and-mortar school location.
PROS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME: You have to do almost no prep work and everything is done for you.
CONS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME: Using school online services can be overwhelming (and annoying) and you have little say on your child’s schedule. Kids must follow school schedule (with no flexibility) and take standardized tests.
So, which is best for your family?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It is based on how much control you want to have over your child’s education. If you’ve been disappointed in public school and your child’s experience with public school, then you’ll want to stay away from online public school programs (including K12).
READ THESE TO HELP:
2. Do you want an everything done for you homeschool curriculum?
The homeschool curriculum decision will, by far, be one of the hardest things that you try to figure out for homeschooling.
Join any homeschooling group online and you will see question after question and discussion on the best homeschool curriculum.
I’m going to save you some time and give you an answer you might not be happy with: the best homeschooling curriculum is the one that works for you family and that will take into account a lot of different factors. (YOU CAN USE THIS INFO AND HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM CHECKLIST TO HELP YOU.)
Bur, for now you just need to think about if you are more comfortable:
- Using an all-in-one homeschool curriculum (sometimes called boxed curriculum). These are curriculum that can a) cover all subjects for a grade level, or b) cover only a specific subject for a grade level. There are many different companies that offer homeschooling curriculum. (Search online for boxed homeschool curriculum.)
- Piecemealing homeschool classes, where you find the best homeschool resources for each subject. For example, your kid may take an online class for Spanish with a live instructor, do a math curriculum (with textbook and workbook), and use a library class for language arts. It takes time and patience, but can be worth it to tailer learning for your child.
RECOMMENDATION: If, as a new homeschooler, you’re not feeling comfortable yet choosing homeschool subjects by grade, classes and resources, start with a boxed homeschool curriculum, but don’t be afraid to switch it up if it’s not working for you.
READ THESE TO HELP:
What Are the Best Homeschooling Resources? (What we use.)
How To Pick A Homeschool Curriculum
3. What are your state laws about homeschooling?
One of the first things that you need to do before starting homeschooling is to check your state homeschool laws. (Search online: homeschool laws [your state] or homeschooling requirements by state.)
Every state has a different set of homeschool laws that you must follow. Some states are relaxed homeschooling states (meaning you may not have a lot of rules and requirements to follow) and some states are strict (meaning there are stringent homeschooling laws and requirements you must follow).
Before starting homeschool, research these about your state laws:
- How many days a year do I need to homeschool?
- What are the parental qualifications for homeschooling?
- Are there specific classes or courses I must teach for my child’s grade?
- Do I have to submit homeschool schedules or curriculum for approval before beginning?
- Do my kids need to take standardized test or periodic level tests?
- What work needs to be submitted to the state (if any)?
- Do I have to track and/or report grades?
HSLDA.org usually has a lot of information on state homeschool laws.
4. What do you need to do to transfer?
You can start homeschooling any time of the year — even at the end of the year or even mid-year.
If you are transferring your child from a public or private school, you will need to check what is required to transfer to homeschooling. If you don’t let your child’s current school know
To transfer to homeschool:
- Check your state homeschool laws and understand requirements.
- Withdrawal your child from school. (Check state laws and local school requirements for withdrawing from school.)
- File any transfer paperwork, like intent to homeschool (if required).
- Request a copy of your child’s school records and/or transcripts.
- Keep all copies and records of correspondence with your child’s school, including dates, paperwork submitted, who you spoke to, etc.
TIP: Public schools and private schools often do not know state homeschooling laws and may give you misinformation about what you can or can’t do in regards to a homeschool transfer. Be sure that you know your homeschooling state laws well prior to starting the transfer process. Do not be afraid to cite those laws and regulations if the school is giving you misinformation!
READ THESE TO HELP:
Can You Start Homeschooling At Any Time?