They say the beginning is always the hardest part. That may be true because beginning something usually means you have to start from scratch in order to attain your goals. You have to make smart decisions to ensure that you will be successful with what you chose to do. And just like with everything else, getting started with homeschooling can be tough not just for the children who will be homeschooled, but even tougher for the parents who have to do all the preparation and the teachings.
But before you get stressed out and feel overwhelmed with your decision to homeschool, take a breather and realize that for a diamond to shine, it needs to be pressured and polished for everyone to see its natural glow. So, if your goal is to provide the best education that you can give to your child or children, get started on the things that you need to accomplish to start the wonderful journey of homeschooling.
First things first. Homeschooling is legal and recognized as a valid form of education in all states. However, bear in mind that each state has its own legal requirements for families to start homeschool. Homeschooling may be done at home, but there are regulations that need to be observed starting at the state level. For instance, in California, the state requires parents to register as private schools in order to homeschool their kids. If you are not sure whether your state has any existing rules, there are organizations like the HSLDA who can help you with the legalities. HSLDA stands for Home School Legal Defense Association and they exist to provide support and legal assistance to homeschooling families. To ensure that you are covered and that you will not be facing any potential problems, do your research and know your state’s legal requirements. You can also get in touch with your local school district to ask important details, especially if your child is currently enrolled in a public school. You may need to formally withdraw your child from the public school system just to be safe from any legal charges.
Gather as much information as you can from people who know about homeschooling through their own experience. Find local support groups and interact with them to get much needed advice and tips for successful homeschooling. As we have said earlier, beginnings can be tough and nerve-wracking so it will be very helpful for you if you find a support group to make things easier to bear. Your local support groups will also serve as a great venue for your future homeschooler to socialize with other homeschooled kids within your area.
Of course, as a parent, it is safe to assume that you already know the personality of your child. But, there may still be a lot for you to learn about him or her when it comes to studying. The beauty of homeschooling is that you will be able to modify and tailor your teaching method to fit your child’s dominant learning style. Having that said, your goals should include getting to know more about your child’s learning style and knowing which teaching method should be used to provide a great learning environment for your future homeschooler.
It would help for you to be organized and come up with a checklist of the things that you need to do before you formally start homeschooling. By having a checklist, you can be assured that you will not be missing anything important and that you are a hundred percent ready for the homeschooling experience.
Once you have defined your homeschooler’s learning style and the teaching method/s that you will use, you also have to decide which curriculum will work for you if ever you will be using one. As mentioned in a separate article, choosing the right curriculum can be overwhelming because of the wide array of choices available. That is why when choosing, it all boils down to what fits your style best. As the curriculum will probably be your greatest expense in homeschooling, it is important that you carefully choose the right one. Keep in mind though that there is no perfect curriculum. It is up to you as the parent/teacher to be able to make the best out of the one that you will use.
Visit homeschool fairs and conventions to find resources and educational materials which you can use. The good thing about these places is that you can find cheaper materials compared to those that can be purchased from bookstores. You can also start purchasing school supplies in small batches so that you will not feel overwhelmed with the cost if you do everything all at once. Try finding ways on how you can save and even ask for suggestions from the rest of the family. You can all look for online sources and search downloadable materials which you can print out instead of purchasing new books. You can also ask your children to recycle unused pages of notebooks or notepads and make new ones. They can even design the recycled pads using materials that they can find at home.
Aside from local support groups, you also need to look for extra-curricular activities or classes which your homeschooler can attend and participate in. Depending on your child’s interests, you can enroll your child in a dance or music school to develop his or her passion for dancing or to learn how to play some music instruments of his or her choice. Aside from academic excellence, homeschooling also aims to hone the talents and unleash the creative side of the students. So, to help you better prepared in terms of schedules and finances, ask around and inquire about enrollment fees and other possible classes that your child can attend.
Most importantly, you need to prepare your child before you get started with homeschooling. Set expectations and talk to him or her about what he or she wants to achieve. Preparations do not only concern the material things. It is very important to prepare yourself and your child emotionally so that the both of you will set your eyes on achieving your goals one at a time. It may be a long ride and the beginning may be the hardest, but it will all be worth it once you start reaping the fruits of a successful home education.