New to Homeschooling? Start Here!

This year, 2020, is a new year for everyone when it comes to school for your children. There are so many different ifs when it comes to going back to school. A lot of parents are trying to decide between the risk of going back in person or doing distance learning. There are others who are feeling drawn to try homeschooling. While I don’t care what your choice is, I want to help those who are feeling called to homeschooling and are new to homeschooling this year.

homeschoool

One thing I want to point out, schooling from home and homeschooling are two different things. When you are schooling from home, you are following someone else’s choices for what your child to learn. When you are homeschooling, you take the time to research the different curriculum choices and decide what is best for each child in your house. Both of these require a parent to be there to help the child, but only homeschooling leaves the parent in full control of the education.

Home School Legal Defense Association

Homeschool legal help

When it comes to homeschooling, I highly recommend you first go to Home School Legal Defense Association. This site will hold all the legal information that you need to know about homeschooling in your state. After I decided I was serious about homeschooling full time for the rest of my child’s education, I became a member of HSLDA. While I haven’t had to use their legal defense, I am glad that I have them in case I need them. Not only that, but I love the legal documents that I need right at the tips of my fingers to print and use as I need.

Curriculum

When it comes to homeschooling, you are in charge of your child’s curriculum. What will you pick? What are your ideas and your goals? These all come into play when looking at curriculum. There are so many choices out there, so be prepared to spend some time researching what you want to use.

Online Curriculum

There are many choices for online curriculum if that is what you pick for your child. We have loved using many different ones. Some have been full curriculums like Easy Peasy Homeschool and others are just certain subjects, like A+ Interactive Math. If your child is fine with online learning, you will want to check these and many others out!

Physical Curriculum

Physical curriculum might be more expensive per child, but you have the books right in front of you and you don’t have to rely on the internet and multiple computers to get the daily lessons done. As much as I love the online curriculum, I have found that we love the physical curriculum so much more. We can be with each other and learning together. I have found that we love to use a combination of unit studies and Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. We love learning altogether, so this helps.

Secular Vs Christian

The other when looking at curriculum is whether you want a secular or Christian curriculum. We love Christian curriculum like Gather Round Homeschool, but we have also had fun with a secular curriculum from Timberdoodle. Like I said above, there are many choices for homeschool curriculum, so you can find just what you are looking for!

Planning

When it comes to homeschooling, the planning is all up to you. Are you going to homeschool year-round? Will you follow the public school calendar? When do you want to take breaks? How many days a week do you want to school? This is all up to you. What is going to work for you, your kids, and your schedule?

Before you sit down and start planning out your lessons, you need to answer the previous questions. Once you have decided on the schedule you want to do, you can actually start the planning. Planning can happen in many ways. You can open and go and not even worry about planning. You can sit down and plan your whole year out in one weekend (I do NOT recommend this), or you can go somewhere in between.

My thoughts on planning:

I have done all ends of planning. I have spent money on a fancy planner and filled it all in ready to go for the year, only to have something happen and “getting behind”. This leads me to be stressed out and this rubbed off on the kids. The year was hard and not very fun. Open and go has also been done. This was a lot more fun for us, but I had no record of what we had done and I struggled at the end of the year to put something together for our records.

What I like to do now, I open and go at the beginning of the day. After we are done, I will sit down and write what each child did that day. This makes it simple for us to do what we can fit in for each day without feeling like we are falling behind. Now, this does not mean that I just don’t have any plan for the year, month, or week. I like to make goals for the year at the beginning of our year. At the beginning of each month, I will sit down and plan out the goals for the month. And I do this again for each week.

Homeschool planning for students
Check out these planners that I use with my kids!

Support

You need to find support while homeschooling. It can come from family, friends, or even online support. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been with the support of family and friends when we decided to homeschool. But even with that support, finding online support from other homeschool moms from across the country and the world has been a lifesaver! Sometimes there are just some things that your family and friends who do not homeschool will not understand, so finding the support from other homeschool moms is very much needed!

You can follow me on Facebook, MeWe, Instagram, or Parler for support and encouragement. But not only that, you will want to find other local support groups. I have found some within my state, with the curriculum I am using, and many other things. Make sure that if you plan on homeschooling, or are starting your journey, you look for support, not only from family and friends but also other homeschool moms and dads.

Prayer

Not everyone is a Christian homeschooler, but for those who are, prayer is very important to homeschooling. Prayer is what lead me to homeschool. Prayer is what has kept me going. Make sure you take the time for yourself and with your bible and God. Don’t let homeschooling take over every aspect of your life. Yes, you may cover the bible with your children in your homeschool lessons, but you Mom and Dad, need to take the time to do your own quiet time in your own bible. This will give you the strength you need to get through the tough days that will come.

Don’t forget, along this journey, you are not alone! If you have questions or need some support or encouragement, reach out to me! I am here to help you! hopkinshomeschool (@) gmail (dot) com.

If you or any of your friends are starting on their homeschooling journey, please share this with them to help them get started on the right foot!

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