To the first time homeschool mom, gaining confidence to take control and learning how to shape your journey are priority.
Quickly, I’m going to show you the most valuable how-tos, but there are a few important things I need you to know about me first.
This IS about you, but it’s important for you to know where this tried and true advice is coming from so your foundation is stable, solid, and works for the long-term.
Don’t set up your homeschool course on wild guesses, but on what works.
Although you get the benefit of my numerous years of homeschooling (well past 22+ years) and successfully graduating three homeschooled teens, I have also successfully mentored new homeschoolers.
First Time Homeschool Mom
For ten years, I conducted workshops in person with new homeschoolers.
That experience is priceless in knowing exactly what you need now and what can wait until later. Right now, everything may seem important, but organizing your priorities is how to successfully make it through your first year and beyond.
Look at these SOLID 5 steps for new homeschool moms which you may or may not know.
Know What IS and What IS NOT Homeschooling
(don’t buy curriculum yet)
Wait! Don’t buy curriculum.
I want to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars by you knowing what is and what is not homeschooling.
Many first time homeschool parents have a very narrow view of what is education and to many it looks a lot like public school.
Although, I’m not telling you to throw caution to the wind, I’m saying you need to know if you’re truly homeschooling or just following the public school model at home.
With Covid present now, new homeschoolers are getting a clearer picture of what is public school at home. However, many are not sure what is homeschooling.
Look at this quick list of 4 ways to identify the homeschool lifestyle; you want to fully benefit from the voluminous information about homeschooling.
Tips for First Time Homeschoolers
- The BIGGEST difference from knowing if you’re just changing the geography of where your child learn is who is in CONTROL. Yes, YOU want to be in control of your time, your curriculum, your approach, and your schedule. This doesn’t mean you can’t get all the help you need from curriculum with daily lesson plans. However you decide what is best for your family instead of an online public school official deciding for your kids. For a more in-depth explanation, read The Great Homeschool Hoax – Public School At Home.
- Homeschooling means that you can use ANY means available to you to teach your child and not just workbooks. Look at 45 Ways to Define Homeschool Curriculum – Is Your Definition Holding You Back to expand your definition. Use the resources you already have available.
- Homeschooling or learning takes place many times outside four walls and not in front of a computer always. Again, you decide based on your family’s need.
- Homeschooling means that curriculum doesn’t teach anything, but that YOU do. It’s not as scary as it sounds. The scary part is choosing which laid out curriculum to use. You have lots of excellent curriculum choices which take you by the hand and are great for new beginners. Here is a Big Ol’ List of All-In-One Homeschool Curriculum (a.k.a Boxed) which has subjects laid out day by day.
After getting a pulse for what is truly homeschooling so you benefit from the freedom, you need to know your homeschool state laws.
Step 2. Not Just Know Your State Law, But Know How to Meet It.
(don’t buy curriculum yet)
It’s quite easy for me to tell you to go look up your law, but that does you no good when you’re not sure how it works day to day.
I have a list of different state laws I created on my Facebook Group. It not only has homeschoolers from each state explain the homeschool law, but they also give you practical how -tos on how to meet it.
Too, you can find the homeschool laws on HSLDA by clicking on the map for your state.
IF you don’t have facebook or need more help to know how to meet your state law, email me, PM me, or comment here and I will help you to understand it.
Step 3. Learn that Homeschool Curriculum is Organized by Homeschool Approach.
(don’t buy curriculum yet)
Next, this step is the most overlooked of ALL the steps and it’s the one that is the most sanity-saving tip for the first time homeschool mom.
Conquer the overwhelm of choices in the homeschool world by knowing that curriculum is organized by homeschool approach will save you tons of grief, time, stress, AND dollars. Believe me, take a bit of time to read them and know them.
I know you’re eager to get started homeschooling, but the worst mistake you can make is to use a resource which brings you daily stress.
Homeschooling for Beginners
Learning which approach suits your family gives you time to cut the curriculum hunt to manageable.
For example, if you know the workbook approach did not work for your wiggly learner, but that a Charlotte Mason or Unit Study approach may, then you’ve narrowed your curriculum choices.
Increasing your success the first year comes from knowing which homeschool approach aligns closer to your child’s needs.
Although there are many approaches in the homeschool world, not all are equally popular for various reasons.
Here are the most popular Top 5 Approaches New Homeschoolers Need to Know which will get you off to a much better start.
Another step to ensure that you’re doing this right is to assume that you’re child is in the current grade level.
Step 4. Don’t Assume Your Child Is In the Next Grade Level Just Because He Was in that Grade Level In Public School. (BIG Mistake)
(don’t buy expensive curriculum yet, but do use easy or free curriculum in the beginning)
I know countless new homeschool families I’ve helped which feel that reviewing lower grade levels is a waste of time. It is not.
I’ve now brought my New Homeschooler Boot Camp online to help many more new homeschoolers. You will benefit from learning the detailed how-tos.
How to Start Homeschooling
Look at these superior reasons why beginning your homeschool journey by reviewing lower grade levels or easy concepts solidifies a strong start;
- Kids become masters of material by reviewing concepts they may or may not have mastered. I’m not saying do this for the whole year. Take it easy in the beginning so you know exactly what your child knows and doesn’t know;
- When kids can quickly master concepts, it builds their confidence for starting something new;
- Many homeschool teachers are surprised by what their child does not know. Using inexpensive or cheap curriculum gives you time to explore and delve into what your child knows and doesn’t know;
- Using cheap or inexpensive curriculum allows you a longer period of assessment which does not include testing. Tests are one way, but they don’t give you a larger picture; and
- When you use inexpensive curriculum in the beginning as you learn the weaknesses and strengths of each of your children, you’ll spend your hard-earned dollars wisely.
Practical Advice For First Time Homeschoolers
Last, but not the least important reason to use inexpensive or free curriculum is that you get your teaching feet wet without wasting valuable resources.
Learning which subjects your child’s need to review and which subjects he may be one or even two grades ahead in makes for a successful start. That is how you know you’re doing it right!
Look at this list of inexpensive or free curriculum to help you gauge the true progress of each child, get your teaching feet wet, and understand the big picture of what your child knows and doesn’t know.
Inexpensive Resources for New Homeschoolers
- Discovery K12
- Ambleside Online
- Easy Peasy All-in-One
- Easy Peasy High School
- Khan Academy
- Old Fashioned Education
Although any inexpensive workbook will give you a place to start while not spending a lot of money, some homeschool families prefer the ones I have listed below.
Don’t forget too that the Dollar Store, Sam’s, and Wal-mart are great places for finding inexpensive worktexts to start guiding you on what your child knows and doesn’t know.
Another one i love to recommend is like a Summer series which most public school parents would use during the summer to keep their kids’ skills sharpened.
The summer bridge series is great to use to kick off your year because they have a bit of each subjects area in the book. You get a better pulse of what your child struggles with.
Too, I find the series give parents an idea of what their child wants to learn or piques his interest.
Also, Evan-Moor , Spectrum, and Brain Quest cover a wide range of subjects and concepts. Some homeschoolers end up keeping a few books for review, to round out other subjects a child may be struggling in, or to use stand alone in a subject.
Brand New Homeschooler
Lastly, the most important step of all while you’re doing this is to deschool.
Step 5. Deschool.
(buy SOME curriculum NOW)
Take the kids out of public school one day, begin homeschooling the next day; it’s a common rookie mistake. And it seems almost impossible to change to a relaxed mindset when you jump from one stressful situation into another one. Deschooling is the first step for any new homeschool family.
Watch my video How to Deschool – Are You Doomed If You’ve Never Deschooled. Ins/Outs of How to Deschool! Are you doomed if you never have deschooled.
Also, my post Deschooling: Step One for the New Homeschooler (the Definitions, the Dangers, and the Delight) gives you the reasons why deschooling is important.
I would love to mentor you through my online self-paced New Homeschooler Boot Camp as I’ve had for numerous new homeschoolers who a decade later are still on the road homeschooling.
There is definitely a right and wrong way to begin your homeschool journey and you’re already taking the road less well traveled. Don’t make it harder than it has to be by adding stress and jumping into it.
Taking time to educate yourself first will save you tons of stress and money down the road.
I am here for you if you need my help. What is your current struggle right now?
Also, look at these other super practical, tried and true tips!
- The Ultimate Guide for New Homeschoolers – An Easy Beginning!
- How to Mesh Your Personality With Homeschooling When They Collide
- Homeschool Critics: How Do You Know You’re on Track?
- 100 Reasons Why Homeschooling is a SUPERIOR Education
- What to Expect When You Expect to Homeschool (25 Silliest Questions Ever)
- Why Buying Curriculum Won’t Make You a Homeschooler (But What Will)
- Is Homeschooling Making the Grade? It’s in and the Grade is ALL Fs!
- 10 Biggest Homeschool Burnout Triggers (and how to cope)
Hugs and love ya,