5 Tips for New Homeschoolers on Planning a Successful Homeschool Year
This post is by Katie, a homeschooling mother of two, and is from our contributing sponsor, Time4Learning.
So you’re a new homeschooler. You’re more than likely feeling a range of different emotions: excitement, anxiousness, and perhaps even fear. It helps to know that all these feelings are perfectly normal and that you’re not alone. Every single homeschooler was once in your shoes. They all started out just like you: optimistic for this new chapter, yet a bit unsure about whether they could handle it.
Whether you’re homeschooling temporarily or you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve made an important decision that will impact your child’s life, and yours, forever. Knowing where to get started is hard, that’s why planning ahead and knowing what to expect will give you an advantage and help you be prepared. Read the tips below, then watch this new to homeschooling video, and get ready to have a great year!
Become Familiar with Your State’s Homeschooling Laws
Each state has its own homeschooling requirements. As a new homeschooler, one of the first things you should do is check with your state’s Department of Education to get all the facts. They will fill you in on what you need to do. For example, they’ll let you know of any attendance requirements, whether you need to keep a homeschool portfolio, and if your child needs to be evaluated/tested at the end of the year. Knowing early on what is required of you will help you have a successful year that ends on a positive note.
Research Homeschool Methods and Curricula
Every homeschooler has a method and curricula that works for them. In order to find the right ones, you’ll need to understand how your child learns best. Is he a hands-on learner? Does she prefer to use textbooks or an online program? Is an eclectic approach with a mix of different curricula better than using just one program? Remember, every child learns differently, so if you have more than one child, you may need more than one method and curriculum. Whatever you do, don’t spend tons of money on a program without knowing for sure if it will work. Do your homework and make sure there is a money-back guarantee or a trial period so you won’t end up disappointed…and broke.
You’ll also want to take some time to adjust to homeschooling and do away with all those notions about school and everything that goes along with it.
Join a Local Homeschool Group or Co-op
There is so much homeschool information available and knowledge to gain. As a new homeschooler, one of the best sources to turn to and learn from are other homeschoolers. By joining a local homeschool group, you will have access to other families just like yours. They know what it’s like to be a new homeschooler: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and they are more than willing to share their stories, advice, and tips. Many of these homeschool groups also host events and put together field trips, so your children will also have an opportunity to make new friends.
Have a Plan, But be Flexible
As you make your way into the new homeschool year, you should have a plan. What will your schedule be like? Some families homeschool five days a week, but maybe a three day schedule is better for you. Are your children early risers, or will a late morning start time work best? Having something laid out will make it easy for both you and your children to ease into homeschooling. With time, you’ll find that some things need to be changed, added, or done away with. Even though having a plan will keep things in order, it’s also important to leave some wiggle room for those unexpected things that life can sometimes throw our way.
Listen to Yourself
Regardless of what you read and what you are told, keep in mind that each homeschooling family is unique. Each family has its own needs, goals, and challenges. As you dive into this new adventure, always listen to the voice inside you and trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, change it. Remember, there isn’t one way to homeschool, so do what works best for your family. As a parent, you and you alone will always have your child’s best interest at heart.
For even more helpful information, as well as advice on homeschooling, download a free copy of the Time4Learning Welcome to Homeschooling Guide. It’s was written by a group of homeschoolers and is perfect for families like yours who are just starting out.
You can do this
A successful homeschool year is possible, but it will take both hard work and commitment. Allow your family time to get used to this new way of life and don’t be too hard on yourselves. You’re about to embark on an unforgettable adventure that will create a unique bond with your child that only homeschoolers know. As both a parent, and now a homeschooler, each day is an opportunity to learn and grow, so be patient and enjoy every moment.