So, you have decided to homeschool. Unless you have been around the homeschooling block a few times or are surrounded by homeschooling friends, you may be wondering, now what? There are so many things to consider and choices to make, from curriculum to classes to co-ops. If you are new to homeschooling, you are most likely a bit overwhelmed and maybe even tempted to throw in the towel before you even get started. But, homeschooling will be the best decision you have made for your children’s education and future, and you can do it! Our “How to Homeschool” series will get help you find your homeschool style, choose the curriculum that works for you, and avoid the pitfalls that many new homeschoolers fall into, putting you on the path to homeschooling success, one wise choice at a time.
Homeschool Success Tip #1: Know Yourself
If you have researched homeschooling, you know that there are many different styles out there. From unschooling to co-op classes to live, online learning, it is easy to get overwhelmed at the various options available. But, that is the great thing about homeschooling! You are free to try different styles of education to find what suits your family and each child best. The place to start is knowing yourself and what kind of homeschool teacher you want to be. Start by answering the questions below. They will help you to clarify just what kind of homeschool teacher you wish to be and help you identify the curriculum and homeschool activities that will suit you best.
- Do you want to be highly involved in each lesson, or more hands off? If you want to be highly involved, consider traditional homeschool curriculum. You will be involved in all the details of your child’s day and projects. However, hands-off teachers will want to look for an online program, live classes, or self-paced publishers like ACE or Alpha Omega.
- Do you thrive on a tight, organized schedule or a more laissez-faire day? If you are a type A personality and want a tighter schedule, consider homeschool curriculum that is paced for you. Just be sure that you take some time to write out your lessons and schedules in advance. You will also want to invest in a great homeschool schedule or calendar. Check out these awesome tips on setting up a homeschool schedule that works. If you want a more relaxed schedule, start by making a list of what you want to accomplish and courses you want to teach, then find curriculum and class options that will provide you with the freedom and flexibility you want.
- Do you want to homeschool as a group, individually, or both? Homeschooling curriculum allows you to teach concurrently, with more than one student at a time, or separately. Maybe you want to spend time exploring science together but work with each student separately on language arts. Perhaps journaling and reading can be a group activity, where you read, write and share what you’re learning together. It is important to decide how much togetherness and how much separation you want in your homeschool day.
- Do you want traditional books and curriculum, online classes, or a mix of both? If you have a book lover in your home, you will definitely want to consider traditional language arts and other curriculums. But, don’t discount online learning for at least one subject as the visual integration mixed with audio and instant feedback are great for all learning styles.
- Do you want to go it alone or teach in a community? If you have highly social children or are new to homeschooling altogether, planning a few outside classes and activities, such as PE, art, or a co-op science class can give you the break you need and provide your students with the engagement and socialization they will crave.
You’ve taken the plunge into homeschooling, and we know you are not going to regret the increased family time, flexibility, and freedom to instill the values you hold dear into your most precious gifts, your children. Make sure to put your best foot forward and get off to a good start with the tips we’re giving in our How to Homeschool series, including nailing down your homeschool style before you start making curriculum choices and setting up your year. Next up, knowing your child!
What are you most excited about as you start homeschooling this year? Tell us in a comment below!