Homeschooling is a major change. Not just for your child, but for your entire family.
One thing that over 100 years of providing homeschooling education has taught us at Calvert is that when it comes to homeschooling, the best thing you can do is to get started.
Before you start to discuss homeschooling with your family and friends, start to identify who else is homeschooling in your community, your county or region, and your state. Look for organizations and online networks (websites and social network groups) that focus on homeschooling.
This is one of the best first steps to take because it allows you to find local resources and support and start learning from experienced homeschoolers.
Building a network of homeschoolers will give you access to how people got started, what pitfalls to avoid, where to go for resources, and how to handle local and state regulations, as well as how to communicate your decision to homeschool to family and friends.
Lastly, current homeschoolers can form the backbone you need for future emotional support, teaching guidance, ideas for field trips, lessons, and opportunities for joint instruction, which will introduce your kids to new people.
While homeschooling is allowed in all 50 states, each state regulates homeschooling differently. Some treat homeschooling like private schools, while others have specific procedures for homeschooling families. Some have very limited requirements at the state level.
On Calvert’s website, we have a section called “State Resources,” which is listed under “Homeschooling Support.” There you can access state pages, and view information on home instruction for that state.
There also are other websites with information. Support groups, associations, and others may have information related to homeschooling in your state. Just be sure to use the information provided by state and local government authorities. They should be the final word on how you can homeschool your child.
One of the great advantages of homeschooling is that you can personalize the teaching to match your child’s learning styles. You do not need to simply recreate a public school at your house.
To accomplish this, we recommend you speak with one of our counselors, who can help provide some recommendations. Homeschool groups and homeschooling parents also can give you some insight into how to best identify learning styles.
Some of the most common teaching methods include: traditional public school, classical education, the Charlotte Mason method (centered on home, discipline, and teaching living thoughts and ideas), Montessori (self-directed learning), or a combination of all the above.
Another way to create a homeschooling strategy is to hold some practice sessions at home, so you can see how your student learner handles an assignment, and how you feel teaching it. Homeschooling represents a significant departure from traditional public school – even if you replicate many aspects of your child’s previous environment. Take into account that there will be an adjustment period. A great way to find an approach to homeschooling is to practice homeschooling in small doses to see what works and what needs improvement.
Remember, homeschooling presents both the parent-teacher and the student with new ways to share and process information.
Once you have a strategy on how you would approach homeschooling, start to think about the lessons you want to teach and your goals.
Ask questions, such as: What needs to be learned? What will a successful year look like?
An approach may be to look at a finished year and work backward from the end result. You can start by looking at the curriculum standards or recommendations for public schools, then add in your own priorities. Calvert also has curriculum outlines for students by age or grade level. Looking at these resources will make it easier for you create lesson plans that help you to achieve your goals.
Once you have done the preliminary work to start homeschooling, you are ready to make the decision to homeschool and to tell your family and friends about your decision.
A point that everyone should be aware of – sometimes, one’s family can be a source of frustration for new homeschoolers. Though homeschooling has become mainstream in America and rising in popularity over the last few years, there are still widespread misconceptions about homeschooling (Be sure to see “Top Myths About Homeschooling” for more information.) This is why we typically recommend you start by identifying a support group, reviewing the laws, and then creating a strategy and lesson plan.
It will be easier to communicate your desire to homeschool with a parent or friend who is likely more familiar with traditional public school.
Other steps for starting to homeschool include: