So, you’re thinking about homeschooling, now what? If this is you, if this is even a little bit of you, then you are in the right place.
This is not a post that will tell you about homeschooling methods, curriculums, or schedules. If you are looking for that sort of thing, I’ve written about these things in posts called: Our Homeschool Calendar, Why We Prefer Year-Round Homeschool, 5 Steps to Take When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum, and I’ve even written an entire series on homeschooling that begins in Homeschooling: A Series Day One.
However, this is a post that starts way at the beginning. This post takes you from the point where you may be even just a little bit curious and helps you make sense of a few things…maybe even make you feel a little bit less overwhelmed or scared.
What I have here, are 10 basic things for you to think about. I am offering you a few of the very first things you will want to think about to start the process of determining whether homeschooling is a good fit for you and your family at this time.
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Take your time going through these steps. Don’t rush it. Answer them fully and from your heart. If you do, you may be amazed at how you will have an idea of where to go next.
Determine your why
This just might be the most important step because a well thought out why will be something that you revisit time and time again on your homeschooling journey. Your why is going to be the only thing keeping you going when the days get long and hard, and your why could very well be the thing that puts you back on track when you get just a bit off course. Your why is also the thing that will play a huge role in helping you determine whether to continue pursuing homeschooling or not.
Walk into this adventure planning on taking only one year at a time
That right there will help you feel less overwhelmed. Even with a high schooler, I still look at this homeschooling journey as only a one year at a time thing. Perhaps homeschooling may or may not work out for you at this time, but down the road things can change. Only biting off a little bit at a time makes most things feel less overwhelming – homeschooling included.
Research your state laws
States all have different requirements, and you will want to know those up front. That way you are not getting involved in something that is more than you can handle, and being aware of what is legally required means that you can get started off on the right foot from the very beginning.
Find a support system
The great thing about homeschooling these days is that it is a growing movement. You can find support systems and networks in almost every community around the country. Even better is the fact that we are in the age of technology when you can find communities and support systems right online. To find something, try asking around. You can also do a Google search with the name of your city followed by “homeschool group” or “homeschool support” and most likely find all kinds of options. Since I homeschool my seven kids, I’ve got a ton of info here on the blog, and there are also plenty of other amazing homeschool bloggers. A few great places to start are Meet Penny, Raising Clovers, or Hip Homeschooling. Your support system is a huge key to experiencing homeschool success.
Determine your budget
Homeschooling can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want to make it. In all reality, there will be some cost to it, but determining what your budget is will let you know what options you have as you dig into homeschooling a bit further.
Define the roles within your family
Will you be the only one dealing with homeschooling or do you have a spouse who will help? Maybe your spouse, grandparents, other relatives, or even friends can help with something like the grading if you have a program that will require grading to be done. Defining the roles of anyone who could be involved will help you determine the time and work requirements that you personally will face.
Clearly examine the season of life that you are in
Does your life allow for homeschooling at this time? Is the amount of work something that you can take on at this time in your life? Don’t get me wrong, when your kids are younger the time commitment isn’t huge, but making sure that you can take on the commitment that homeschooling requires is an essential step at this point.
Make sure that you are ok with setting your own life aside for a time
Of course you will still need to do things to fill your tank and you will be able to do some things you love, but your life will be greatly focused on being a homeschool parent. Make sure that you are ok with that. This can be especially hard when your friends have kids in school and all kinds of free time to ask you for coffee and things like that. At times you can go, but your life will be very different from the lives of your friends whose kids are all in school. Just know that going into it, that way you won’t be surprised by it.
Be prepared to share your reasons for wanting to homeschool
Be confident in your why, and create a 30 second elevator pitch to share with people who ask – and believe me – people will ask. Being prepared to answer these questions in the way you want to answer is something you will be glad you took the time you do. Sometimes homeschooling is just a calling that we feel in our heart, but articulating your reasons in a quick 30 second blip is something you will want to have prepared, especially when you are being criticized for this choice. I would love to say that these types of criticisms won’t happen, but they most likely will.
Finally, take a deep breath and RELAX!
Seriously, do it. You have taken some hard steps here and it is a lot to work through. Even if you are not to the point of making a decision yet, you have still had a lot here to sift through and digest. Before you go any further, take a deep breath and relax about your decision, whatever it is.
I hope you have gotten a handle on the beginning steps in sorting through the decision to homeschool or not to homeschool. Hopefully your mind is just a bit more at ease, and if necessary, go back and work on any of these steps again. Sometimes, it will take more than one time to visit some of these concepts.
Homeschooling is not something to take lightly, but it is also so doable, especially these days. If you feel scared or nervous to make the leap, know that all homeschooling parents have felt that way at one point or another. In fact, we all feel that way at different times along the road of homeschooling, too.
Taking the time to thoughtfully and prayerfully work through these 10 steps will be time so well spent. What are you waiting for?!