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How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling — Everything You Need To Know To Start Homeschooling Today!

Deciding to homeschool is a very personal decision. Some might choose to homeschool because of a child that has special needs, out of safety concerns, a life event/situation, religion, or many other reasons. Whatever the reason, know that the How To Homeschool Team will be with you throughout it all. We are veteran homeschool parents who are always happy to help any parent who is new to homeschooling. This Guide to Homeschooling should help you get started today!

Now that you’ve chosen to homeschool, the next steps might seem unbelievably overwhelming. There are so many curriculum choices out there and it’s hard to know where to even begin.

There are a few things you need to do in order to start homeschooling, from legal things to choosing a curriculum that best suits your child’s needs.

Let’s get to it, shall we? We hope this Guide to Homeschooling is helpful to you!

  1. It’s OKAY to feel overwhelmed. — First, let me say that I know what it feels like. What you’re feeling right now. When I first started homeschooling, I felt so overwhelmed by the thought of homeschooling and not knowing where to start, that I just didn’t start. We took the kids out of school and didn’t start homeschooling for another month because I was paralyzed. I remember sitting in front of my computer thinking “What have I done?! Am I really going to do this? What is the first step?!”
  2. You need to learn the homeschooling laws in your state. — Since homeschooling is regulated at the state level, you need to research the specific requirements and regulations in your state to find out what steps you need to take in order to legally start homeschooling your kids. We recommend going to the HSLDA website for up-to-date homeschooling laws. https://hslda.org/
  3. Find Support — Find members of your family and friends that will support you. If you don’t have any, find local homeschoolers that will help you through the hard times. You can usually find groups on Facebook, or by Googling your area and the word “homeschool.” Local homeschoolers can serve as a resource to you and your kids through this process. Not only will they know the laws in your area, they can be a good way to get your kids some social time during that first year of homeschooling while you’re still figuring things out.
  4. Explore homeschooling methods & learning styles — One of the most beautiful things about homeschooling is that you get to determine which approach and learning style works for your family and each individual child. In a public or private school setting, that isn’t always an option. That’s why our family loves homeschooling so much. I have an auditory learner and a child who loves hands-on learning. Both are totally different learning styles, but I can adapt each lesson to their needs and they are flourishing in their learning. It’s the most incredible thing to see.
  5. Choose a Curriculum — Don’t get overwhelmed! It’s okay if you choose a curriculum and it doesn’t work right away. You should plan on trying a few different curriculum options before one “sticks.” This can seem overwhelming, but I promise, if you just take your time and try a few different options, you’ll find one that works for your child and your family. My go-to Curriculum providers are below, and I highly recommend any of these options.

Guide to Homeschooling Curriculum – Monarch – Grades 3-12

  • Completely online
  • Grades 3-12
  • Unlimited access to courses across 10 grade levels
  • 5 main subjects (Bible, History and Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science)
  • Over 65 electives available, including world languages and more than 40 career courses
  • Automatic grading and scheduling
  • Customizable courses
  • Flexible calendar
  • Simple subscription plans offering monthly or yearly payments
  • Ability to add an individual course or elective for $9.95/month per course per student (or $99.95/year)
  • Free 30-day trial

How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know

Guide to Homeschooling Curriculum – LIFEPAC – Grades K-12

  • Portable
  • Individual worktexts take approximately 3-4 weeks to complete, creating a sense of accomplishment
  • Mastery learning
  • Student-directed and self-paced
  • Grades K-12
  • 5 main subjects (Bible, History and Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science)
  • 13 electives available, including art and Spanish I & II
  • Multiple purchase options (complete grade sets, complete subject sets, individual worktexts)

How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know

Guide to Homeschooling Curriculum – Horizons – Grades PreK -12

  • PreK-12 courses, specializing in preschool, math, language arts, and health
  • Spiral learning
  • Multiple purchase options (complete grade sets, complete subject sets, individual workbooks)
  • Preschool programs available (Horizons Preschool for Three’s and Horizons Preschool)
  • Parent-directed
  • Self-paced
  • Colorful curriculum

How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know

Guide to Homeschooling Curriculum – Switched-On-Schoolhouse – Grades 3-12

  • USB flash drive (digital format)
  • Automatic grading and scheduling
  • No Internet required
  • Mastery learning 
  • Student-directed and self-paced
  • Grades 3-12
  • 5 main subjects (Bible, History and Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science)
  • Electives
  • Can be used for up to 5 students

How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know

Guide to Homeschooling Curriculum – Ignite Christian Academy

  • Private Christian education starting at $229/month
  • Full accreditation
  • Free consultation available
  • Multiple start dates available each month
  • Choose from full-time or individual course enrollment
  • Flexible school hours with online lesson access
  • Live, one-on-one teacher support
  • Dual credit program
  • Teacher-directed classes

How To Homeschool Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know

You can also find other curriculum options on the web or on Cathy Duffy’s website, which offers reviews of Curriculum to help you decide which Curriculum might work for your child.

Guide to Homeschooling – Tips for Success

  1. Have Fun – Learning doesn’t always have to be serious. Play games, go to the park, field trips, watch movies, etc. Homeschooling does not need to look like traditional school, and we highly encourage you to create your own version of schooling that works for your family.
  2. Be Flexible – Nobody is perfect, and you aren’t going to be a “perfect homeschooler” whatever that means. Give yourself grace. You’re doing this for the first time and your kids will learn a lot by watching how you handle things you don’t know how to do. Call in for help when you need it, and find support for the days you don’t think you can continue on. If you aren’t feeling it today, maybe you’ll feel it tomorrow. You can skip school when you and/or your kids aren’t in a good mood, or when they are tired from the day before. That’s the joy of homeschooling. You can be FLEXIBLE. Just make sure that all of the schoolwork gets done during the “school year” and you’ll be fine. After homeschooling for more than 16 years, I’ve learned that it’s okay to take a week off sometimes. You come back refreshed and ready to conquer the world.
  3. Don’t Compare – Never compare your homeschooling to traditional school, or other homeschooling parents. Every journey is different. Enjoy and trust the process.
  4. Take a Break – Whether you choose to year-around homeschool or take on the traditional school year model where the kids have a “summer break” you still should take breaks every now and then. As I said above, I’ve learned that it’s okay to take a week off sometimes. You come back refreshed and ready to conquer the world. It will help minimize burnout.

Guide to Homeschooling: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long should we homeschool each day? There is no easy answer. It depends! It depends on your state laws and if they require a certain number of hours. Learning can take place however and wherever you want. The hours of schooling you do does not mean your child’s nose needs to be in a book. It can include P.E., Cooking Classes, Home Economics, Field Trips, etc.
  2. How much does homeschooling cost? It can cost as much or as little as you want or can afford. You can homeschool for free, using sites like Khan Academy or Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool, but it will require more work. You can also use curriculum providers such as Monarch, LIFEPAC, Switched-on-Schoolhouse, Horizons, and more which start at just $33/mo.
  3. What happens if I can’t do it? You can do it! If you decide later on that you don’t want to or that it’s too hard on you, you can choose to hire a tutor to help or you can choose an online program that does most of the teaching for you. You can also choose to enroll your kids back in public or private school. You’ll just need to contact the school you want to enroll in and ask what they will need to show that the kids were schooled at home. They will usually require some sort of transcript, so make sure you keep track of what your kids are learning at home. This is one reason we love using Monarch, LIFEPAC, Switched-on-Schoolhouse, Horizons, Weaver, and other curriculum options like those. They make it easy for any parent who wants their kids to go off to College or to go back to public or private school in the future because all of the scope and sequence for each curriculum is provided, making that transition a lot easier when the time comes.

Have any questions that this Guide to Homeschooling didn’t answer? Reach out to our veteran homeschool mom, Jessica, at Jessica@HowToHomeschool.net.

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Guide to Homeschooling - Everything You Need To Know To Start Homeschooling Today

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Jessica

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