Homeschooling is a great joy, but it can feel really overwhelming in the beginning (or the middle and the end!). How does someone get started with homeschooling for late primary or early secondary school age kids?
If you’re still on the fence whether to homeschool your kids, then I recommend you read my article about whether you should homeschool your children.
Sort out school requirements
Home education is possible and legal in many countries. However, teaching kids at home may require you to notify your local government or school district. Do some quick research and then notify anyone necessary.
For some people, this is an unpleasant step because of bad experiences with the school or district. However, it’s better to take the mature route and deal with this properly at the beginning. In some places, you may find bureaucratic pressure comes later if you don’t do this part correctly.
Set some goals
I don’t mean anything fancy or terribly ambitious. This year, my goal for homeschooling 5 of my kids was simply to get them all into curriculum books from our favorite publisher and get going. If you’re new to teaching kids, then definitely plan to start small.
Good goals are better than bad goals. Try to make goals you can achieve. Set targets that meet government criteria so you can avoid any hassle. Don’t set the bar too high in the beginning. Easy, early successes will build great momentum for your homeschool.
Choose a curriculum
Or not. Some people don’t use a curriculum. If it suits you and your child, pick something with a plan and some lessons. We’ve used Monarch and Rod and Staff curriculum. These are both very Christian, but you could choose something different if you prefer a secular approach.
In fact, home education doesn’t have to be totally separate from the government curriculum. Have a look at the guidelines and outcomes for teaching kids the same age as yours. These will help you judge the kind of progress you’re making as you homeschool.
You can also check out the home education groups on Facebook. There may be one dedicated to your local area. Most homeschool families are happy to offer advice to new home education friends. Sign up, make a few friends, and get some advice on how people choose curriculum in your area.
The biggest advantage of home education, in my mind, is the relaxation factor. We set our own schedule. We choose the curriculum. We decide when to take days off.
You don’t need to try to re-create school environments at home. Home education can start at noon or later. No one needs a school uniform. If a day goes terribly, then just chill for the evening and try again tomorrow. Order pizza and celebrate your humanity with your kids.
If you’re genuinely interested in helping your child grow, learn, and develop, then you will not go wrong with home education. Your care and attention will produce fantastic results in your family’s life.