The path to homeschooling is different for everyone. Whether you have been considering this option for years, or have only recently started exploring, you likely have several questions. In this post, we want to help you think through the what, how, and when of successful homeschool planning.
The First Steps
Our first recommendation is to begin by deciding what goals you have for the school year. Have a family conversation, or several, to determine what you want your homeschool experience to be like and how homeschooling fits into what you desire to accomplish in your children’s lives. Based on these conversations, determine your priorities for the year. Your family may also want to create a homeschooling mission statement you can revisit throughout the year to remind yourself of your vision. You can learn more about setting a mission statement in this article: How and Why to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement.
After determining your homeschooling goals, move to the next element—academic subjects. Beyond the core subjects, you’ll want to choose what electives and extracurriculars you want to incorporate. It may be tempting to overcommit and try to learn everything! But that is an unrealistic path that typically leads to burnout. Instead, start minimal, because you can always add more later. In terms of what academic subjects to cover and when, these may be dictated to some extent by homeschooling laws. Starting with a Google search about homeschool laws in your state will give you a wealth of information, but you can also seek out local homeschool groups and cooperatives for advice. In addition, Homeschool Legal Defense Association provides both information and legal support.
Finding Quality Materials
Ok, so now you’ve got a mission statement, goals, and a list of subjects that comply with state regulations, it’s time to choose your materials. There are seemingly endless reviews and resources to help with deciding materials. So how do you sift through all the internet has to offer and decide? One consideration that may help narrow your search is to determine your educational philosophy. Once you have decided on which homeschool style aligns best with your family’s homeschooling goals, you can narrow your search to include a curriculum that supports that style. Keep in mind programs can use elements from a number of styles and your students’ needs may vary at different times during their educational journey.
When exploring materials consider what you want your homeschool day to look like. Will each subject be included in your daily schedule? How much time is committed to schooling?
You will want to even take into consideration the size of materials. Will you have room to spread things out and leave materials out from day to day, or does everything need to be tucked away to use the dinner table?
Take some time when deciding on a program. One of the benefits of homeschooling is having the flexibility to add or change subjects or curriculums as you navigate what your student needs.
Seeking a Support System
“Support is as essential as oxygen in a homeschooler’s life” – Gretchen Roe
In a blog post by long time homeschool parent and Demme Learning Placement Specialist, Gretchen Roe writes about the importance of finding a support system while homeschooling. She shares a list of resources that will give the new (or veteran) homeschooler a place to start when building their support network. Read Gretchen’s post here.
Another place to turn to is your local co-op or homeschooling group. It’s likely there is at least one established group in your area. These groups can provide information, advice, activities, and opportunities to connect with other homeschoolers.
Lastly, don’t forget about your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. With the current world events, it’s likely someone in your circle is contemplating the same questions, one of them may already be a longtime homeschooler.
We Are Here to Help
We have created a Homeschooling 101 ebook that explores these topics and more! To access the ebook, create a free account with our Demme Learning Guild.
Demme Learning has been offering resources to homeschoolers for years. Our family of products includes math, spelling, and grammar programs. Read about our family of products here.
If you are new to homeschooling and are looking for support or resources, our team of specialists are happy to help! Together we can help you create a plan that fits your needs.