Starting your Homeschooling Journey
By Martha Artyomenko
Welcome to the road that is wrought with decisions and emotions! You are now your child’s teacher full time. This means, if you bring in outside teachers, you are responsible for that decision as well. I wrote this post for our state, but much of this applies for any state.
Find the why for your family/child:
Why do you think you should homeschool?
Are you homeschooling because that is what best for your child or are you doing it because it is what you think you should do?
When you find the reason for you, it gives you something to come back to on the hard days. It can help you when you are evaluating and seeing if this is the place you should be for your child’s education.
- File a notice of intent to homeschool.
- Keep attendance and immunization records.
- Provide the required hours of instruction.
- Teach the required subjects.
- Follow health and safety regulations.
Choosing curriculum is a very personal decision. Be sure to not choose it because someone else did. There is a lot out there and it can be overwhelming. One thing to do when you are first starting out, is to keep it simple.
Language Arts (English, spelling, vocabulary, reading)
Don’t get multiple things for the same subject. Trust that one will do the job. There are some that will cover more than one as well.
Work to discover things about your children. How do they learn? What makes their brain get excited? Remember, it is only as boring as you think it is. If you are excited, they can be.
I love this planner as you can buy once and then print as you need. It is cheap and easy to use.
Checking out resources like Pinterest and googling your curriculum to see how others organize it.
Think outside the box beyond desks. Some children learn better with movement and need an exercise ball, wobble seats or even working on the floor to learn the best.
What does a normal day look like?
Everyone’s days will look different. This blog has a lot of “Day in the Life of” posts, which are really helpful when determining what you want your school days to look like.
Getting involved and finding support:
Support groups at Cornerstone
Local Facebook and Yahoo Groups
Curriculum based FB/yahoo groups
What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?
Believing that you have to use a complete boxed curriculum
Doing way too much
Doing too little
Comparing yourself to blog posts, FB posts, other families etc. Comparison will always bring you up short. Remember the “Grass is always greener” saying.
Not taking advantage of your children’s learning style and gifts
Trying to recreate school at home straight across the board. If that is how they learn, that is great. Otherwise, you can miss out on the advantages of homeschooling.
Forgetting why you are homeschooling
Isolating yourself and not reaching out for help in the community
Remind yourself that what works for you may not be what works for someone else. You need to do what is best for you and your child, not someone else. But in that, remember the caveat that this is about educating your child. Evaluate if you are doing that well and keep yourself accountable. If you are not able to do that, it might be time to look for an alternate way of educating.
There will be hard days. That does not mean you are a failure. It might mean you need to make it important to come to the support meetings. Get out there and share what you are struggling with. Someone else may have something that will help you or at least commiserate with you.
On hard days, realize you are not alone.
-Hands on activities
What are some ways you continue to educate through the hard days?
Read some good books
Here are some good titles of books that have helped me throughout the years. Everyone will have different ones they enjoy.
This is a new one that is excellent.
“Easy Homeschooling Techniques” By Lorraine Curry (I did not like everything in this book, but some parts of it were very helpful).