It’s so overwhelming!
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and homeschool. Now what?
This is pretty much how I felt. I knew for a long time that I was going to homeschool; but when it came time to actually legitimately do it, I had no idea where to begin. I just started googling. Chances are though, that if you’ve decided to homeschool, you have at least one reason why you’re doing it. That is your start. What is that reason (or reasons)? Keep that always in your mind as you go forward.
Everything in the world of homeschool depends on your family and your season of life. Are you removing a kid from public school? Are you starting from the very beginning? The most important question, at first, is: Where do you live? You have to first learn the laws for your state (many have different requirements). HSLDA will have all of the legal information you need, plus some other resources.
Alright, now you know the laws, but you’re still wondering “how do I start teaching?” Many people will recommend that if you have removed a child from public school that you take a small break and reset. While I don’t have any personal experience in this area, I would still recommend it. This will give you some time to observe you’re child and work together to discover how he/she best learns.
Ready to dive in? My next suggestion would be to determine your teaching style, if you have one at all. Remember as you’re doing this to think about your reason for homeschooling. Think about your whole family, not just the child or children you’re going to be teaching. If the curriculum isn’t enjoyable for you as the teacher, your children will pick up on that. Even throughout pre-k I could tell that Bug would notice if I was bored with a particular activity.
Next up: choosing curriculum. For me this was (and still is) probably the hardest part. There are SO many choices. For starters, I would say: check in your area to see if it’s possible for you to attend a homeschool convention. They give you the opportunity to see a wide array of curriculum choices in person. If you can’t, don’t fret too much, you can still do this. I didn’t attend a convention, though I would have loved to, and I managed to find something that I’m confident will be a good jumping off point for us. At this point, once you’ve put the thought into how your kids learn best and how you want to teach, you’ll be able to start your search. Knowing these things will help narrow it down the kinds of curriculum you’ll be most interested in. If cost is a bigger concern (as it is for most), I suggest using your local library for most of your resources. As you may know, we chose to use a Timberdoodle kit for kindergarten. If you’re pressed for time and the search for curriculum is feeling overwhelming, I would suggesting going this route for a few reasons: 1) I believe the range of products included in the kit can work for every child, 2) this large range will give you a better idea of what sorts of materials work best for you, 3) you can jump into teaching immediately and give yourself time to continue researching curriculum. But my biggest piece of advice for your curriculum search is to go with your gut and give something a shot. You can’t know until you try, and if it doesn’t work there is always something else out there. Just in the few short months that I’ve started planning our schedule for next year, I’ve already found a few other types of curriculum that are of interest to me.
I’m not pretending to be an expert in this, but this overwhelming feeling is fresh to me, and I’ve made it through. I feel infinitely more confident now than I did six months ago. I can’t promise that it will be easy, it takes time and effort to find what’s right, as does every other aspect of homeschooling. But it doesn’t have to be so scary. So I say to myself, and to you, that as long as you’re giving it your best effort you’re probably on the right track. It’s easy to see that children are always learning something from every experience. The best thing you can do is give them the foundation and desire to continue learning. Just try to have fun and the rest will come.