Do you want to learn how to homeschool for the first time?
We have been homeschooling our kids since elementary school. Our kids are now in high school. Our homeschool adventure started when my son started 3rd grade and my daughter started 1st grade. We pulled them out of public school and started homeschooling because we like to travel.
Last year, we traveled 200+ days of the year, so a lot of field trips! LOL! You can follow our adventures on our YouTube channel at Jones Family Travels.
How to Homeschool
We get a lot of questions about our kids getting homeschooled. We know this is a huge topic right now and we could probably talk a few hours about home education.
We are going to start with the basics. We are going to share the beginning steps on how to homeschool. You can watch the video or scroll down to the blog post below.
Check Local & State Requirements
The first thing you will want to do is check the local and state requirements as a homeschooler. Be sure you check both.
In our state, we have specific requirements as a homeschool family. The local school board or local school district is supposed to follow these requirements, but they do not always do that. Be sure you double check both, so you are following homeschool laws in your city, county, and state.
For our county and state, we had to mail a letter confirming we are homeschooling our children.
We also keep a transcript (record-keeping) of the kids activities all year long. At the end of our year, we have to share (3) examples of each subject with a teacher (that we hire) to review the year. If the teacher feels like the kids grew from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, they would pass the kids. The teacher would then send a letter verifying we completed the grade level for the school year.
Find a Local Homeschool Group
One of the best things we did when we started homeschooling was find local homeschooling groups. They sometimes call these groups co-op’s. This is an amazing homeschool community, especially for new homeschoolers.
For us, we wanted to find fellow homeschooler friends for our kids. As parents of homeschoolers, we wanted to find homeschooling families that we could lean on for support. Since homeschooling is different than traditional school, it is always good to help help!
We found an amazing field trip group with kids of all ages. The homeschool parents in our group coordinate field trips, activities, and park days. One of our last activities was a behind the scenes tour of Amazon. This is fun for your kids and for the moms, too. Having support groups will help you succeed as homeschool parents.
Create a School Environment
One of the biggest tips for homeschooling is create a school environment. For our family, school is usually held while we travel. The kids know that if we are driving to a destination, they will be completing their school work in the car. Sometimes, we just sit in the hotel room finishing school work before heading out to our adventure.
The hard part for us is when we are at home. When we are home, we create designated areas for work. Even though the kids have their own desks in the office, we all still tend to work together at the kitchen table.
This tends to be our homeschool office. Having a designated work space helps the kids know when it is family time and when it is school time to focus.
You will notice a huge change in your child’s productivity when you have a designated homeschool classroom.
Create Your Schedule
You will want to create two schedules. Your first schedule is your yearly schedule. Are you going to homeschool for the traditional 9 months with the summers off or are you homeschooling all year long? Since we travel 200+ days of the year, we homeschool all year long. For us, we may be on a cruise or on a tour that does not allow a lot of extra time for school. In this case, we are able to do the bare minimum during our trip. When we get back or to our next destination, we can then make up the work.
Your next schedule is your daily school day schedule. Are you going to school just 5 days of the week? What does that daily schedule look like?
For years, I would add a schedule to Google Calendar or print out a daily schedule. Finally, I found something that really works for our whole family. We bought a huge dry erase board. Every morning, I add the kids work next to their name. As they finish things on the schedule, they cross it off.
For us, this really worked. Test a few techniques out to see what works best for your family.
Lump Kids & Subjects Together
There are many subjects that you can lump together for two or more kids. Our kids are 3 years apart. Many of the subjects we could teach them both. This included history, languages, spelling, and science.
It did change once they reached high school, but for elementary and middle school it was easy to teach them both with a few of the subjects.
Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum
Don’t let this one overwhelm you. A curriculum is what you use to teach your kids. There are hundreds of curriculums out there for your child’s education.
For us, we do not use just one curriculum. We use workbooks, online courses like Khan Academy, online homeschool resources, videos, virtual courses, and textbooks. There are so many curriculum options.
We have found that our kids are completely different learners, too. Our son can sit for 3 hours and loves math workbooks. My daughter hates workbooks and would prefer to use a math resource like gaming apps. Keep in mind your child’s learning style and modify your curriculums to fit them.
Attend a Homeschool Convention
In our state, FPEA (which is a homeschool organization) hosts a homeschool conference. Not only do they have an amazing conference, but they also have a graduation and a dance. Our kids just attended the dance this summer.
Attending the FPEA conference was an eye opener for me. I got to see that thousands of families are just like ours. The kids got to meet other homeschool kids around the state. We attended classes to learn more about homeschooling in our state and resources.
It was a huge breakthrough for me. I highly recommend searching your community and state for any homeschool conferences.
Do Not Worry About What Anyone Else Thinks
This one is super important. Do not worry about what anyone else thinks!
You do what is best for you and your family. We are proud to be homeschooling parents. I can tell you homeschool kids are some of the most adjusted, socialized, smart, well mannered, and happy kids I have ever met. If you are ready to homeschool your kids, do it and do not look back.
Leave a comment if you homeschool your kids or are starting to homeschool this year. If you have any specific questions about homeschooling, leave a comment.