If you are considering homeschooling, these are the first things you need to consider:
- You need to know the laws regarding homeschooling in your area. In the U.S., homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but the laws pertaining to homeschooling is different for each state. You need to find out what is expected of you, if you make this decision. After finding out the laws, I would find a homeschool support group (most of them are on Facebook), and let others in your area guide you. I know in my state of Georgia the law sounds more complicated than it is. So begin by doing an Internet search for “homeschooling laws in ______” and enter your state in the blank.
- You need to consider whether or not you will be sending your child back to a more traditional school setting after a period of time. If you are sending them back to school, then you need to pick a curriculum that will “tick all those boxes” and keep them on track for the school’s agenda. If you are going to keep on homeschooling, then you have more freedom to pick curriculum that might allow your child to explore their interests and really dig into learning.
- If you know the laws in your home state, and you know how you want to homeschool, then you need to figure out how to schedule your time. See my blog post about this. If you have to work full time while homeschooling, this can be very difficult, but it’s not impossible. I’ve known families who do this. They might homeschool on the weekends or in the evenings. They take turns with their spouses. They give their kids assignments they can do alone while they’re working, and then they sit with them during their off hours. Or they might employ a tutor or use an online class. Or, in non-pandemic times, they might enroll their child in community classes or in a homeschool co-op. Other homeschooling families might help them by taking care of their kids on certain days, etc. You need to get creative, if you want to homeschool and work full time as well.
- You don’t need to panic! You can do this. The most important academic skills your kids need to pass all those standardized tests is math and writing (grammar, etc.). (Or math and reading, if they are early elementary.) If you don’t have time for anything else, just concentrate on those two subjects. Your child is not going to fall behind because they didn’t go to school for a year or two. Reading books and watching documentaries together can go a long way toward learning about science and history, and you may find that by learning together, you and your child enjoy it more.
- Take it one day at a time. Once you tackle these few things, you can slowly add more, if you want to. Or maybe you’ll see that your child is doing just fine while they are homeschooling, and you’ll want to keep doing this. Good luck!
I know that finding curriculum is probably the most difficult part of homeschooling. There are so many resources out there that I can’t possibly list all of them here! If you click here, you’ll find a list of all the materials I’ve used while homeschooling elementary school, and here are a few comprehensive curriculums that I am aware of:
Other good resources:
Royal Fireworks Press — This press prints quality curriculum for gifted kids, but any kid could use their materials when they are ready for it.
Outschool — Lots of online courses by freelance teachers using Zoom.
Cathy Duffy Homeschool Curriculum Reviews — Offers reviews on hundreds of homeschooling curricula and resources. Notice that in the right-hand margin of each review, she alerts you to the religious perspective of each curriculum. Be sure to look for secular, if that’s important to you. (My blog is secular.)
For those teaching preschool/kindergarten, I suggest this post that I wrote:
I also offer some short, easy-to-read PDF resources in my store for elementary and 7th grade.
I’m always happy to chat with people or answer questions about homeschooling too. Please e-mail me!