Earlier this week a friend of mine who is considering homeschooling asked me something I hear quite often: "Where do I even begin?"
I offered her a few suggestions, and I'll repeat those here in case you have the same question as well.
1. Get familiar with the lingo.
Charlotte Mason? Classical education? Eclectic? Traditional? What does it all mean? The Curriculum Choice has an excellent summary of many of the most common philosophies of homeschooling. Although you'll likely feel drawn to one or two philosophies immediately, you don't have to choose one right away. Learning about the different options will give you an excellent foundation in forming your own philosophy and will help you understand the homeschooling books and catalogs you'll be reading.
2. Read some good books about homeschooling.
There are so many books written about homeschooling that new homeschoolers often don't know where to begin. I'll offer a short list of my favorites.
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell. This offers a complete overview of homeschooling, from planning to graduation. It's an excellent first book to read about homeschooling.
- Books by Ruth Beechick. These are by far my favorite books about homeschooling, and they represent the philosophy that I identify with the most.
- Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp. The title might sound overwhelming, but what I gleaned most from this were the goals of learning for each subject. It really helped me think outside the box of the scope and sequence.
3. Find another homeschooler to talk to.
Do you have a friend or acquaintance who homeschools? Ask her questions. She'll likely be more than willing to help.
If you don't have someone locally whom you can talk to, find a homeschool blogger (or three) that you like and strike up a conversation. Most homeschooler bloggers I know would be excited to answer your questions.
Just be aware that all homeschoolers are different; what works for one family may not work for another. Your mentor should be willing to share her personal experience, but still allow you to make your own decisions.
For Further Reading
Over the last two years I've also written a few articles that address some of the main concerns homeschoolers may have when they're just starting out. You may or may not find them helpful, but I offer them to you in the hope that they might at least be of some benefit.
- Curing Scope & Sequence Syndrome
- 4 Easy Steps to Help You Fail at Homeschool
- The Secret to Homeschooling Success: Teach Your Children to Fish
- How to Choose the Right Homeschool Curriculum
- Choosing a Phonics Curriculum: Not All are Created Equal
- How to Homeschool Your Kindergartener
- What About "Socialization"?
- How to Help Your Children Hold On To Their Beliefs