Homeschooling is fun and rewarding, but can also be daunting. Are you about to start homeschooling a new Kindergartener or first grader, or thinking about pulling your older children out of school? There is no doubt that it takes a while to get into the swing of homeschooling, but a bit of planning will go a long way. What do you need to start homeschooling?
What do you need for school?
- I highly recommend buying a few books about educational philosophies before you start homeschooling, if possible. Knowing what style of homeschooling (classical, eclectic, Montessori, and many more) you feel comfortable with will guide you when you are making curriculum choices. Those who aren’t sure what books they would like to buy can get suggestions from homeschooling forums on the web.
- Unless you are unschooling, you will need curricula or lesson plans for all the subjects you will be teaching. It’s easy to get carried away and buy too much, several years ahead — or, on the other side of the coin, to keep switching curricula when you feel what you are using is not perfect. Researching your curriculum before buying will help some, but it is not always possible to know how something will work for one particular child before trying it. If you travel a lot, programs that are available in PDF format will be very useful.
- Every homeschooler will need paper, ink, pencils, water colors, and related items. Then there are things like math manipulatives for the younger grades (cuisenaire rods!), ebook readers for older children, and of course library cards! Bulk school supplies buying before your academic year starts will save time, and very possibly money.
Knowing the laws in your jurisdiction is — obviously — essential before commencing homeschooling. Parents who are still considering their options will benefit from looking into their state’s requirements for homeschoolers, including looking into umbrella schools, which can eliminate the need to register as a homeschoolder.
How are you going to keep your life running? Generally, the day will run smoother and kids will learn more if you have everything roughly planned out.
- Besides planning which subjects you will teach on what days of the week, deciding during which part of the day you will school will help you be more effective. A weekly planner is absolutely essential for homeschooling parents who also work at home, in my experience.
- Meal planning is another time-saving tool that you will probably benefit from, along with making a chore schedule.
- What is homeschooling costing you? With a budget worked out, you’ll know both how much money you have available to spend on curriculum and other expenses, and how much you are actually spending. If homeschooling expenses are tax-deductible where you live, keeping track of them is a must!
Olivia classically homeschools her children. She blogs about fertility, how to get pregnant, and parenting at Trying To Conceive.