Homeschooling can be an incredible way to educate your children.
Or it can make you ask, “What was I thinking and where is that school bus?”
And then once you decide which one to actually try, you realize that there are about a billion other questions related to it. Like how to get started, choose specific curriculum, start record-keeping … and how to actually get them to do the work every day.
It’s like falling down that rabbit hole and desperately looking for the “Drink Me” bottle to help you make some sense of it all.
So before you decide to step on the scary at first, but usually amazing homeschool path, here are three important questions you need to ask yourself.
Specifically, “Why do I want to homeschool?”
You could be wanting a safer place for your kiddos to learn in — who doesn’t?!
Maybe it is clear that the school system is just not a good fit for your child with learning struggles or strengths.
Or maybe you just want the freedom to educate your children your way.
There are so many different reasons that parents choose to homeschool, but the important thing is to figure out your Why. Then jot it down in your journal, henna tattoo it on your arm, or do whatever it takes to remember it on the good days and the bad ones.
Well, starting with your Why is not just something that Simon Sinek wrote and shared about in his highly insightful, third most popular TED talk ever.
It is also crucial to making the best homeschooling choices for you and your child.
And going back to your Why on tough days or weeks is a great way to reset your focus and make sure your homeschool journey is successful over the long haul.
If your Why involves homeschooling as a really short-term solution, such as the end of the current school year, you may want to choose standard curriculum and have them take certain assessments that will make that reintroduction back to the school system easier. (Just know that often once you start homeschooling, you very well may fall in love with it!)
And if you are not sure or are considering this as a solution for at least a year or two, you have more freedom in your educational planning and choices.
Either way, once you figure out your Why, then ask yourself this next important question.
Besides Why, you really need to take some time to get down to the nitty-gritty of Who you are going to be homeschooling.
Are you starting near the beginning with a “little” kindergartener or elementary student, or jumping in mid-stream with a middle or high schooler?
Or getting all crazy and trying to do both with multiple children?
And even more important, what are the specific strengths and challenges of each amazing child that you are about to homeschool?
What do they seem to struggle with and what is a piece of cake?
In my experience, one of the most helpful things to know is how they learn best.
Are they mainly visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or some glorious concoction of all three?
Really considering Who your child is and how he or she learns will help you choose the best way to homeschool.
Not exactly sure what type of learner they are?
Have them take this short online Learning Styles Quiz to find out.
Go ahead while you are there and take it yourself to find out your own learning style because homeschooling is a journey for you as well as your kiddos.
And trust me. You do NOT want to choose a curriculum or homeschooling style that you are going to hate because that is like trying to sky dive with no parachute.
Probably not gonna end well.
So, once you’ve figured out your Why and Who, there’s just one more question to consider.
So, who is ready to learn that one perfect homeschooling option that will guarantee success?
Well, the answer is that you’ve got options!
In fact, you’ve got so many options on How to homeschool, it will probably make your head spin.
Depending on your Why and Who, along with your homeschooling style, budget, religious beliefs, and time that you have to personally teach or oversee the homeschooling of your children, here are some possibilities:
These are technically private schools where students go to a school certain days each week and then are given homework to do on the other days at home. This is a great option for moms who want a different option than the public school system, but would rather have the curriculum and teaching for all subjects done by someone else.
Co-ops and Weekly Classes
Co-ops are kind of like a school where parents usually get a huge say in what is taught, but also have to participate in a big way, including sometimes even teaching the classes and assigning and grading the weekly homework.
I found co-ops so helpful in our homeschooling journey to make sure that we actually completed everything, especially the areas that were not my strengths (hello science and art!) with like-minded families, which is the key ingredient in your perfect co-op.
Many areas also have options at museums, art centers, and other places, where homeschooled students can meet each week for a particular class, and then complete homework and projects at home.
Online or DVD Curriculums and Programs
Many companies and even some states have created online homeschooling options, which vary from all-in-one curriculums that keep track of each student’s progress and grades for every subject to al a carte options for particular classes.
Other Curriculum Options
This could range from traditional textbooks and workbooks to hands-on experiential and project-based studies based on your homeschool style, with lots of options in between.
I find Cathy Duffy’s reviews to be very helpful when considering possible curriculum, and I love to help my homeschool consultation and evaluation clients find the very best resources for their family and situation.
Figuring out How you are going to homeschool is no simple feat, and will probably require some extra caffeine consumption in a mug like this, as well as:
- researching specific schools and classes in your area, as well as curriculum options based on your Why and Who you are homeschooling
- asking family and friends who homeschool for their top choices (just make sure they have your back and remember that your homeschooling journey does not need to replicate theirs!)
- joining online groups in Facebook or Instagram to post questions and get feedback
Still need a little more help figuring out How to homeschool?
I would LOVE to help you answer your questions or even meet for a face-to-face or virtual consultation to discuss the best choices for your family.
With over 20 years of positive experience with homeschooling, I am ready and excited to help you make your homeschooling journey a huge success!