How to Get Started Homeschooling in 7 Easy Steps

If you are considering homeschooling your child (home educating in the UK), you may be wondering just how to start.

It may look difficult - or easy - from the outside but there are many factors to consider.

You are probably wondering if homeschooling is just too difficult or complicated, or takes too much time. It can also seem overwhelming - where do you start?

If you want to homeschool but are not sure where to begin, here are some tips that may help.

Homeschooling - where to start?

You may wonder if having your children home all day is overwhelming; how much it costs; how much time it takes, and many other factors.

So, if you are considering homeschooling, just where should you start?

Read on to find out how to get started homeschooling.

How to Get Started Homeschooling

1. Find out what type of homeschooler you are

What kind of homeschooler are you?

It's often said that here are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschooling families, but there are essentially six different homeschool styles:
  • Traditional - you beleive in 'school at home'
  • Classical - with an emphasis on classical learning and the Trivium
  • Charlotte Mason - an emphasis on 'living books' and nature study
  • Unit study - themed learning, often project-based or using lapbooks
  • Unschooling - child-led and less formal; there is also unstructured radical unschooling
  • Eclectic - a mix of different styles

Finding out what style you - and your child - would prefer can help you to make more decisions about homeschooling.

Use this quiz to work out your and your child's preferred style.

You can then begin to think about how you might go about homeschooling your child.

Dependent on your results, you may find that you prefer to use something like an already planned for you boxed curriculum like Sonlight or a more eclectic looser planned curriculum like Beautiful Feet Books, or even a combination of the two (this is what we do).

(N.B. You may well find that your philosophy chnages over time as you and your child grow as homeschoolers.)

2. Talk to other homeschooling families

Try to talk to a variety of homeschoolers, so that you can see how homeschooling works for different lifestyles and family groups.

Research online for local groups, or groups that follow the homeschool philosophy that interests you most. Many veteran homeschoolers, and those who have just started out, are more than happy to talk to others thinking of following the same path.

Chat to people online and ask if you can go along to a meeting; or talk to local people you know (friends of friends or family members) about their homeschooling.

What approach do they take? What style is their homeschool? What does that look like day to day?

Find out about the different options for homeschooling so you can start deciding the best approach for your family.

3. Familiarize yourself with your local laws and requirements

This is going to differ wildly dependent on which country you live in, which state you live in in the US, and the age of your children.

Research local laws and requirements online and if you are uncertain double check with local homeschoolers in your area, or even with the authorities themselves.

Your local board of education is the best place to start.

4. Join local groups and co-ops

If you do then decide to homeschool your child, whether you pull them from school or start when they are very young, you will need to find a community that fits.

As with so many things when you homeschool, this will vary enormously dependent on where you live.

Google is definitely the best place to start, but there are thousands of Facebook groups all over the country - and indeed the world - too.

Choose online groups that fit your philosophy, local groups that meet regularly, or any combination of the two.

Programs like Sonlight have a thriving international community and a fantastic forum both on Facebook and on their app as well as tons of free resources like training and online retreats for mothers etc.

This kind of thing can be a great addition to what you have going on locally, as it gives you a greater perspective than just your local group of mums who may all approach homeschooling differently.

It takes a village to raise a child they say, so it's time to build your own unique homeschool village!

5. Choose a curriculum that is right for your child

This is where many would-be home schoolers get stressed out! But it does not have to be stressful.

In fact, you don't technically need a curriculum at all!

If you prefer a unit study approach you can pick and choose from different unit study resources and build your own curriculum.

For example, follow that interest in axolotls  or love of the movie Encanto this month!

If you follow a child-led approach you will be creating your own scheme of work together as you go along.

If you do prefer a curriculum, think about what makes your child "tick".

If you love reading to your child, choose a book-based curriculum where much of the learning happens through literature and history read alouds.

There are also more "traditional" types of curricula that are fairly structured. Some curricula are based on the Trivium approach of classical learning including Ancient Greek or Latin.

Do some research, talk to other home schooling parents, and don't worry if you don't pick the "perfect" curriculum right off the bat. You can always change.

6. Keep good records of your child's learning

This again depends very much on whereabouts you live, but it is a good idea to get some kind of system set up.

This does not have to be elaborate, a simpe diary of what you do each week, marking in the Instructor's Guide as you work through it; or an entire system of computer software to track your child's progress, if that's your thing. 

How you keep your records will be affected by your local laws and regulations, because different regions have different requirements for tracking a child's progress.

In the US, some areas require a portfolio, which is a collection of your child's work in various subjects, and others require standardized testing. Some regions don't require anything at all.

In the UK, an annual report on progress and what your child has been studying is usually sufficient.

7. Set up your homeschool space and schedule

Last but not least, you need to create a homeschool scheduole that works for you, and set up an area where learning can take place.

This might well be your kitchen or dining room table or, in the case of a literature-based curriculum, your sofa!

Most people do not have the luxury of being able to devote an entire room to homeschooling, and those that do often find that it spreads all across the house anyway!

It's not essential, but having some space to store all your homeschool supplies and books together helps you to keep organised.

A rolling cart is a very useful thing, and you will probably need to have some bookshelves for your homeschool books.

As for timetabling, you will find that you cover plenty in just a few hours a day, no need ot stick to school timetabling at home!

Grab one of our favourite homeschool planners to take you from hot mess to super organized!

But having a vague idea of when school happens (morning or afternoon or two blocks in the day) can help everyone to know what to expect and when to get in the mood to concentrate on learning time.

More homeschooling guides and ideas:

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