How do I Start Homeschooling?

I just completed our first week of homeschool with my 3 and 5 year olds so we are very much newbies *but* I have been preparing and thinking and dreaming about it for years and all the preparations for homeschool really showed up. So I’m excited to share with you some answers to the big question: “How do I start homeschooling?”

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Homeschool children playing by a lake

Local Regulations

The rules for homeschooling vary greatly from one country to another and in the U.S. it varies state by state. The first step is researching the regulations for your area.

Questions you may need to look up:

  • Is home schooling legal in _____?
  • Is an application required?
  • Can I receive funding?
  • What are the ongoing requirements (reporting, testing, etc.) if any?

Best Books for Homeschooling Parents

Read a ton of books to begin to get a feel for what feels right for your family. There are a million ways to do it. Selecting books from a variety of methodologies will provide you with good data for making your decision. This is by no means a complete list, but here are the books that I found most valuable in my own research:

The Montessori Toddler

Simone Davies has since come out with The Montessori Child and The Montessori Baby. These books are simple, easy reads filled both with methodology and practical information in how to include Montessori methodology in your parenting and/or homeschooling journey. I am an audiobook fan, but this one is better read in the physical or ebook versions.

Homeschool book: The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

Call of the Wild + Free

Ainsley Arment has a variety of books to support your homeschool journey and this is the primary. She guides you in learning through your and your child’s wonder. It was a favorite read of mine. It has both theoretical and practical tips.

Homeschool book: The Call of the Wild + Free

Brave Learner

Julie Bogart makes homeschooling sound fun! Her book is broken down into sections that help you bring magic in your homeschooling life. And who doesn’t want a little magic?

Homeschool book: The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Free to Learn

Peter Gray’s Free to Learn really helped start opening my mind to the ways learning happens outside traditional school methods. Whether or not you’re remotely keen to unschool, the messages in this book are worth a read and a think.

Homeschool book: Free to Learn by Peter Gray

Modern Miss Mason

Leah Boden’s comforting introduction to the Charlotte Mason methodology eases you in and makes you feel enveloped into the lifestyle. She covers both theory and practical applications and she will have you reading good books together in no time.

Homeschool book: Modern Miss Mason by Leah Boden

In addition to reading or listening to lots of books, try following Instagram accounts (or creators on whatever social media platform is your favorite). A couple of my favorites are @wonderled.life and @projectbasedprimary. Plus the blog Bright Little Owl for Montessori reading (her free resources are incredible!).

Pick a Methodology and Vibe

You absolutely do not need to pick one methodology and stick with it and only it. Homeschooling is a journey and you may change over time. You might vibe with different parts of a few methodologies. You can and should mix and match to make your own.

I personally love elements of unschooling, Montessori and Charlotte Mason. It all fits for us in a beautiful way.

However, I do find it helpful to have general vibes for what parts of different methodologies you’ll want to use to guide you. It’s not an absolute necessity but I highly recommend it.

“What If” Journaling

Take time to set your practical mind aside and just do some free writing with the idea ‘what if my family’s homeschool journey could be everything we dream? what would it look like?’ Start writing and keep going and see what picture comes up.

Use the following mini prompts as you go if you find them helpful:

  • What do you want the feelings to be?
  • What are you excited to learn about with your kids?
  • What methodologies if any excite you?
  • What kind of rhythms or routines sound delightful?
  • What kinds of projects or activities might you and your kids be interested in?

Practical Planning

Once you’ve been through all these steps, it’s time to start preparing more physical, logistical things for your homeschool experience – yay! Here are the things I recommend you prepare:

Homeschool Planner

If you’re doing any kind of curriculum or activities, it is critical that you plan ahead. Preparing daily is a recipe for burnout. There are lots of options out there on Etsy, Canva, Instagram and such. I’m in process of creating my own and I’ll make sure to link it here when I do.

Play with some different planners if you can and in the process, aim to have at least loose plans for your first full month of homeschool.

Homeschool Curriculum/Activities

Lastly, have activities prepared ahead of time if possible. Again, preparing things day to day is a recipe for burnout. Batching preparations is key! If you are thinking of pulling your kids out of school to homeschool, use that in-school time to get some of this ready.

Sign up for all the homeschool email lists you can find to receive their free printables and get ideas.

As mentioned above, @projectbasedprimary is one of my faves for free and paid resources. She has a huge library of low cost activities for all the subjects for preschool and young primary school and she even has a phonics course you can take to learn how to teach your child to read using Montessori methodology and it includes tons of printable activities that my kids have been loving.

Bright Little Owl has been extraordinary as a free resources. You can find lots of info for Montessori reading theory on her blog and she has an impressively large free printable library.

123Homeschool4Me is another blog with an absurd number of free printables. It’s a bit overwhelming to me but if you’re looking for volume then its an amazing site.

A Note of Encouragement

You by no means have to have everything figured out before you start. In fact, you can’t. At some point, you just have to jump in the deep end and figure it out as you go, learn with your kids, and see what fits for your family. But doing some of the steps above can certainly help.

Whatever you decide to do, and however you do it, remember that you are strong and capable and you got this!

Have a question? Catch me on Instagram and I’m happy to chat all things homeschool 😉

Cheers!

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