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Getting Started Homeschooling

Before getting started on your homeschool journey, I strongly recommend a simple first step.

Start by writing down your reason(s) for homeschooling before getting started on other tasks. Why write it down? Because your reasons may help stream line your curriculum search and your daily organization.
Children on slide Example: If your main reason for homeschooling is to develop quality time as a family, the unit study approach may be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you chose homeschooling to enable a reflective student to study at his or her own pace, a textbook based program may work better. Thus the first step to getting started is to clarify your reasons.

Perhaps in your case, your reason may be very obvious to you. Or, you may be like other famlies who have multiple reasons for their decision. Then, it may be more important to clarify for yourselves the reason you are going to homeschool your child.

Brainstorm and write down all the reasons. Then list them in order of importance.

From your list of reason(s), you can develop your goals. These may include any of these or others:

  • Academic excellence (or grade level proficiency for your student who is struggling)
  • Develop independent thinking
  • Promote positive social experiences (and decrease negative ones)
  • Freedom to pursue studies at own pace or depth
  • Enjoy quality family time
  • Develop specific skill(s)
  • Enhance intra and/or inter personal communication

These are broad goals, which are not the same as your educational objectives, which will be more specific.

Some families have started homeschooling because of problems at their local schools. If this is your reason, this step may be more critical. For some of these families, their emphasis has been on getting their child out of a negative experience. It is valuable to take time now and think of what the positive experience you wish to create would look like. Begin to establish those important goals.

Do ALL of the reasons stated above sound like your goals? You need to prioritize. While all of these, and others, may have merit, it's impossible to do all at once. Take the time to plan your top three goals.

Here's an example of how it might work. Let's say your #1 reason to homeschool is to develop positive social experiences. You plan and organize accordingly. After several months of homeschooling you feel the academic progress is not sufficient.

What happens then? The priority of your goals has changed a little. There will be change in your priorities over time. Do you have to go out and buy an entire new curriculum? No, don't do that - at least not in the middle of the year. But you may make some adjustments in how you organize your day, and how you grade and evaluate with the curriculum you are using.

Next Steps

The next steps in homeschooling can be found in the How To Homeschool article. Such steps include:
  • Finding the laws for your state or principality
  • Determining Educational Objectives for each student
  • Choosing curriculum
  • Planning extra-curricular activities
  • Scheduling and Organizing
Sound overwhelming? It's not.

Take it one step at a time. It's the same process you have done many times: whether planning a meal or buying house or homeschooling, an organized step by step approach will make you more efficient.


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