A how to guide to homeschooling

homeschooling
Let me start out by saying this: There is no ” one solution ” that works for every family. Decisions will have to be made and laws, depending on where you live, have to be taken into consideration. It’s a process for sure but it’s going to be worth it!  So take a look below at  “A how to guide to homeschooling” and get an idea on how to get started.
State Law

To find out what laws you have to adhere to, simply click on the HSLDA website and then your specific State. They list everything you need to know and make it very easy for you to understand.

gavel
We made the decision, now what?

After the initial decision to homeschool, we move into the prep phase. Now, this might seem a little overwhelming at first, but I will walk you through it

Up first, you’re going to ask yourself some questions:

  • Where in the home will the schoolwork be done?
  • What items do we already have that can be used for schooling? ( You will find suggestions for our top picks at the bottom of this post )
  • Is there a local Co-Op you could join in the future?
  • Do you have a local family member with great skill or knowledge of a certain subject that would be willing to teach your child all about it?
  • Would you want to hire a teacher or tutor a few hours a week?
  • Do you already have local friends or people that homeschool, who may be willing to meet with you, show you how they plan, keep track or what materials they use to teach?
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  • What is your child passionate about or interested in? Write this down and keep it in mind when planning field trips ora Unit Study in the future.
  • Do you know what type of learner your child is?
  • Do you know what grade/skill level your child is at the different subjects?
The Vision

 

I suggest you answer the following questions as a family to get an idea of your homeschool vision.

  • How do we want this to feel? Structured or free flowing? 
  • What freedoms does homeschooling give us?
  • What do we value as a family?
  • How do we want our home to feel? Calm or chaotic?
The Assessment

 

Knowing at what skill level your child really is, is important to know before to start teaching them. A lot of the curriculums mentioned and linked a little later offer free assessments. Take advantage of that, even if you end up going with a different curriculum. 

assessment
Your Style

According to your vision questions, you probably already have an idea of how you would like your schooling to look and feel like. Let me introduce you to some of the most common styles of homeschooling. 

Please note, this is not a ” pick one and stick with it forever ” idea. A lot of homeschoolers, us included, are a mixture of at least a couple styles. 

-Unit Studies: 

Incorporates multiple subjects into one theme or topic.                                                                     

For example: Little House in the Big Woods Unit Study

Writing out Ma’s recipe and daily chore list: Writing skills

Using proper grammar and punctuation: Grammar

Reading the book: Reading

Making the recipe mentioned in the book: Math for measuring and Life skills

Note that ALL of the activities can be counted towards school time in your record keeping.

For Unit Studies, the whole family can read and learn together. While the older children write the chore list and recipe, the younger children can listen to the book being read out loud or do copy work of sentences from the book.

Classical Style

Based on “living books”, not textbooks. 

This style has 3 stages:

  1. Grammar stage ( Learning and memorizing facts ) Elementary age
  2. Logic stage ( Apply knowledge and use reasoning skills ) Middle School age
  3. Rhetoric stage ( Independent thinking and reasoning ) High School age
Traditional AKA School at home

Each subject is separate, with its own workbooks and includes tests. Focused on grade level, like Public School.

Eclectic

A combination of multiple styles that works great with the family’s individual needs. Pick and choose other styles for your own unique style.

 

Unschooling

Focused on the child’s interest, with no traditional focus on tests or grades. Learning through experiences rather than textbooks.

Charlotte Mason

Child-lead learning. Living books instead of textbooks. Explore nature, create their own notebooks and dive into subjects as deep and detailed as the child wants to.

Curriculum and worksheets

Yes, there are COUNTLESS options out there! Please note that it is totally normal for a curriculum that seemed so perfect, not to work out after all. It happens to all homeschoolers at some point.

Listed below, are some of the most popular curriculums including the ones we ended up using for my oldest, now in 3rd grade. 

Language Arts
Logical Thinking
 
 

 

Netflix
  • Myth Busters
  • You vs. Wild
  • Our Planet
Youtube
  • National Geographic Kids
  • NASA
The Flow

Create a flow for your day to help ground your child. It will help them be less anxious throughout the day because they know those things always follow the same familiar routine.

Start simple. Create a morning flow and then an evening flow. Create them now, before you even start schooling. For school, already think about what flow that will have!

Here’s ours as an example:

Morning flow after breakfast:

  • Make bed, open blinds and turn off fan
  • Let dogs out
  • Get dressed, hang up PJs or put in laundry hamper
  • Brush teeth, brush hair and wash face
  • Water diffusers and add morning oils
  • Let dogs back in
  • Feed cat

Evening flow after dinner:

  • Kids play with Dad for 30 minutes while I clean up after dinner
  • Kids bath, while I fill and start the bedroom diffusers
  • Put on PJs
  • Brush teeth and hair
  • Read before bed

Next in flow is to think about your week overall ( School week )

  • Will you be doing all subjects every day? If not, how will they be spread out throughout the week?
  • Will you be having school 4 or 5 days a week?
  • Will you be schooling according to the public school schedule or create your own? ( We school year round for example, 4 weeks on 1 week off )
  • How do the chores ( the child’s and your own ) fit in?

Make sure to involve your child in these decisions! Yes, I know it seems overwhelming, but it isn’t too complicated if you just go over it one question at a time.

Now that you have thought about your daily and weekly flow, it’s time to put it to paper!

Know that it may change or evolve over time. That is normal!

For now, even before you actually begin to homeschool, get started with the anchoring routines for morning and evening. Getting a head start on that, will make the transition to doing school at home easier.

 

PHEW, that was A LOT of information, so be sure to bookmark the post so you don’t forget anything and can re read it again!

But there you have it! A how to guide to homeschooling!

 

The Shop

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Composition Notebooks

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Grading Pencils

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Erasers

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Pencil Sharpener

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Colored Pencils

These are truly the best ones out there!

Binders

What do I NOT keep in binders? I may have a problem....

Big Life Journal for children

A journal that supports a Growth Mindset!

Clipboards

Perfect for the child that will take a worksheet and wander off throughout the house.

Globe

Perfect to teach distance perspective and to teach geography.

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White Board

Perfect to keep the schedule on and explain the newest math concept.

Dry Erase Markers

This brand is awesome. They're vibrant and last long!

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Wet Erase Markers

Perfect to keep the longer-needed information on the board without the fear of erasing it.

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Sharpies

Perfect to label things. I use Sharpies way more than I thought I would!

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