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Quickstart Guide to Homeschooling

by Jeanne Faulconer
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Jump into homeschooling with the simple action steps in our Quickstart Guide to Homeschooling! (If you aren’t familiar with homeschooling, start with “What is Homeschooling?”)

Black background with text Quickstart Guide to Homeschooling 1-2-3 TheHomeSchoolMom.com

There are two types of people when it comes to starting something new—the kind that jump in feet first, and the kind that research and read and research some more. For the researcher, we have our “Get Started Homeschooling Guide,” and for those wanting to just jump in, we have this, the “Quickstart Guide to Homeschooling.”

Quickstart for New Homeschoolers

  1. Read about deschooling
  2. Deschool
  3. Then start homeschooling
  4. Don’t consider “summer” to be your deschooling time (it’s also not necessarily an ideal time for a trial period of homeschooling—it’s just summer)
  5. Read the rest of this article

Quickstart for All Homeschoolers, New and Returning

  1. Be legal
  2. Consider starting slowly this year
    • A few days a week
    • A short time each day
  3. Evaluate homeschooling based on your children’s response
  4. Find your people. Attend or create a social event:
  5. Think on these homeschooling truths:

The desire to learn and knowing how to learn is more important than accumulated facts or skills.

Quickstart for Unschoolers

  1. Remember unschooling is not un-everything.
    • How will you partner with your child?
    • How will guide your child?
    • How will you facilitate for your child?
    • How will you respect your child’s personhood?
  2. Keep deschooling.
  3. Live! Learn! Love!

Curriculum

Notice I didn’t mention curriculum to anybody.

That’s because most of you all think the curriculum is the most important thing anyway, so you’re all obsessing over choosing curriculum, and you don’t need a reminder.

So instead of a reminder to choose a curriculum, let me offer you the article “How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum,” which explains the many things to consider when choosing a curriculum. Maybe you don’t even need one!


You might also like the free homeschool planners by TheHomeSchoolMom. They work for a variety of homeschooling styles as well as helping you plan other household activities that are important to a homeschooling family.

Homeschooling is Not School

Finally, to everyone, remember that homeschooling is not school. Make homeschooling your own, and make it about connecting with your children, which is what provides the context for all the learning!

Many of us have a school model of education in our minds because that’s how we grew up. Experienced homeschoolers know, there are many “school things” that homeschoolers do not have to do. 

Enjoy your children, and aim for them to enjoy learning. Anything less won’t provide the full benefit of homeschooling.

Want more information? Visit our homeschool blog, where you can find hundreds of posts on dozens of topics related to homeschooling!

TheHomeSchoolMom may be compensated for any of the links in this post through sponsorships, paid ads, free or discounted products, or affiliate links. Local resource listings are for information purposes only and do not imply endorsement. Always use due diligence when choosing resources, and please verify location and time with the organizer if applicable. Suggestions and advice on TheHomeSchoolMom.com are for general information purposes only and should never be considered as specific to any individual situation, nor are they a diagnosis or treatment advice for any kind of medical, developmental, or psychological condition. Blog posts represent the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of other contributors or the publisher. Full terms of use and disclosure

Comments

  1. Tonya Ingram

    I am a semi-retired math teacher interested in offering tutoring to home schooling groups. I’m not sure how to connect with them here. Can you help? Thank you!

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Tonya,

      Check out our local and state resources. You may want to advertise or exhibit at state conferences or offer a free workshop for homeschoolers in your community. Most homeschoolers arrange tutoring on an individual basis rather than through homeschool groups. Some teachers form classes for homeschoolers, which can be well-attended if you live in a place where there is a large enough population of homeschoolers. It basically works like any other business: create a website, network to find potential local customers, advertise, provide a good service, and count on referrals from satisfied parents. In addition to perusing our local listings, you might also ask at your library if they know who the local homeschool leaders are. You could talk with them about how to reach homeschoolers in your area.

      Good luck!

      Jeanne

  2. JOSE ZURITA

    My son just arrived from south america and I’d like to know if I could sign him up for homeschooling. He is 18 years old and I was wondering how to get started.

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Jose,

      Welcome to your son! Homeschooling in the U.S. is typically geared toward kids ages 5 – 18. It can be tricky to figure out how to legitimize a homeschooling education after age 18, but we do have an article about homeschooling to complete high school at age 20. Many 18-year-olds in the U.S. take courses at their local community college rather than homeschooling. Your local library may have suggestions for finding adult education programs in your area, as well. Additionally, every state in the U.S. has different laws for education, and in many places, there is actually no “sign up” for homeschooling. You may “sign up” with a particular curriculum company or online/distance learning school, but those “sign-ups” are with those companies or schools. In other states, you do have to notify local school authorities to “sign up,” but that’s only for minor children, not people who are 18 year old or over. Good luck as you and your son discover the best route to advancing his education in the U.S. I’m not sure homeschooling is the way forward for him, but you can find the right path!

  3. Roberta Ader

    Is there somebody that can homeschool my daughter or help me homeschool her.

  4. Camile Hyacinthe

    I’m interested in home schooling my 5 and 12 year olds. How can I get started?

    • Teena

      How do i get started

      • Jeanne Faulconer

        Hi Camile,

        Get started by reading and taking the steps in our Getting Started article.

        Good luck!

        Jeanne

        • Roberta Ader

          Can you help me.

          • Jeanne Faulconer

            Roberta, TheHomeSchoolMom does not provide individual homeschool coaching. The volunteers at your statewide homeschool group may be able to answer your individual questions and help you find resources.

            Homeschooling can feel hard to get going because it requires parents to be “self starters” in ways that feel brand new. We may have previously thought of “schools” as the ones who do everything and provide all the instructions to us as parents.

            With homeschooling, we have to figure things out for ourselves. There is no substitute for reading the articles, finding out the law where we live, contacting organizations in our state who may be able to help, and following up.

            Good luck!
            Jeanne

          • Maria Kolodziej

            I am searching for organziations that do home schooling in Suffolk County

          • Jeanne Faulconer

            Maria, find homeschoolers in a specific area by checking our local and state homeschool groups.

  5. Farasha Ridwani

    Hello!!
    I’m a wife and mother of 6 ages 11, 9, 7, 6, 5 and 7 months. Recently our city placed safety officers in the schools that carry assault rifles and I just can’t wrap my head around my child being exposed to that. We want to homeschool again but I am clueless about the legal aspects and technical aspects as far as testing and grade levels. Also college scholarships.

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Farasha,

      People consider homeschooling for many reasons, and unfortunately, the atmosphere in public schools is one of those reasons. You are not alone in your concerns.

      It is important to homeschool legally, and you can do that in every state in the U.S. and many countries around the world. If you are going to homeschool, you need to do some research about the homeschool laws where you live, so you won’t be clueless. There are different laws in each state, but like other homeschoolers, you can figure this out with the resources we have provided. Testing is not required in all states, and again, you need to find out if testing is legally required in your state. If it is required, you’ll find that in most cases, there are tests you can give at home for relatively little expense, or there may be alternatives to testing.

      If your children are college-bound, in addition to providing education to them yourself, you will want to help them have transcripts and “outside evidence” of their ability to succeed. College scholarships are often awarded to homeschoolers based on many of the same achievements that apply to public school students: good grades, community activities, leadership, test scores, volunteer service, athletic accomplishments, participation in the arts, and more.

      Good luck making your decision about homeschooling!

      Jeanne

  6. Tiahara Minick

    Hi,
    I am a mother of four and I am very interested in homeschooling my 3 year old and my 6 year old. The only thing hindering me is not knowing if I would be able to do it with a 18 month old and a 7 month old in the house. It seems way more challenging with babies at home but I am not pleased with the public school system. I also want my children to learn based more on our christian beliefs. What do you advise?

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Tiahara,

      Many people do homeschool with babies and toddlers at home. Homeschooling is a family affair! When I homeschooled with a baby, I used a baby sling and a backpack to help keep my little ones close. I did a lot of homeschooling from the couch where we could all snuggle together and listen to stories. When my older kids were working on their letters or artwork, the little ones were finger painting. I did have to think of ways to keep the little ones involved at their level or give them something to do to entertain themselves. Here are some of my other suggestions for homeschooling with little ones.

      Keep in mind that while it is a challenge to have the youngest around while you’re homeschooling, you save yourself some effort by not having to follow the school schedule, which might require you to get all the children out to attend school or school activities. You do have more flexibility. For example, you can go to the library at a time that works for you. You can make the most of the baby’s naptime instead of sitting in a carpool line, and so on.

      Many people make it work, though you might have to try for a few months to find your groove!

      Good luck!

  7. Crystal Garcia

    Hi, I am really considering homeschooling my child. How do I get started to becoming a homeschool mom?

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Crystal,

      Homeschool moms get started by reading up on homeschooling. Read each of the steps above, and click on each link to read the articles that the links connect to. Use the information to know what to consider and what actions to take as you decide whether to homeschool. Good luck!

  8. Almaz

    Hi there am looking for my autsim boy home school please let me know if you guys does home school services call me or email me [REDACTED].

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Almaz, TheHomeSchoolMom’s service is providing information about how to homeschool. If you need homebound services for a child who is enrolled in school, you should ask your school division. If you are looking for someone to homeschool your child, you need to find out if that is legal where you live, and then you need to look close to home for someone who is willing to provide what you are looking for. If you are seeking special services because your child has autism, you should contact your local community services board to see what is available. It may go by a different name in your state or community. A social worker who works in your county may be able to help you.

  9. Madiha

    I sat down today to actually plan the upcoming first month of homeschooling for my two kids aged 7 and 5 but luckily I found your website. It’s amazing and tells me not to plan anything rightnow. It’s time to deschool and enjoy with my kids:)
    My only concern is the 3 different levels I have. My youngest is 2.5. I hope I can cater to their individual needs as my youngest won’t let us do anything…I donot want to be a judge around the house solving their issues amongst each other.

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Madiha,

      Yes, you can delay planning “school” when you first get started, but remember that “deschooling” does not mean “don’t do anything.” You do still want to involve your children in enriching activities. Make sure you read about deschooling here at TheHomeSchoolMom. You will find suggestions like reading aloud, taking nature walks, playing games, encouraging dress-up play, going interesting places, making art, and more.

      During this time, you will begin to see how homeschooling might work best for them, which will help you pick resources and activities.

      And yes – ENJOYING time with your kids is the way to start things off right! How wonderful! You will even learn more about how to keep the youngest one entertained while you are doing things with the others. This is what the deschooling period is all about!

      Enjoy your family!

  10. Desiree

    Hello! This is my first year of homeschooling my child. Any tips or advice you can give for Momma’s who are new to this? I literally opened up 18 more tabs to find more information. It’s amazing you have this website to help other homeschooling parents out.
    Thank you!

    • Jessica

      I can relate about the 18 tabs! 🙂 I’ve bookmarked and favorited so many links and information that it’s a bit overwhelming. But this website is extremely helpful and insightful.

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Desiree and Jessica,

      I’m glad you’re finding the website helpful.

      We wrote this really abbreviated Quickstart Guide to kind of boil down essential first steps.

      Desiree, I truly would look at all the articles we have on deschooling first – and carry out some of the ideas that we have in our article called “How to Start Homeschooling: Tips for Deschooling.”

      There are many cool things to do there with your kids. I know that this does not sound like “homeschooling,” but I promise investing time in these things will get you off to a good start.

      Just follow the other steps here – find out how to be legal, start slowly, assess how your kids are responding, and look for other homeschoolers in the places mentioned in the article.

      But mainly – do the deschooling things so you can connect with your kids in non-schooly ways. Remember, it’s LEARNING that’s important – not necessarily “school.”

      Good luck!

      Jeanne

  11. Laura Authement

    This is my real first attempt to homeschool. We can no longer afford tuition and I am disabled. Your website was a great first step! Thank you!

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      So glad the information you found here is helpful, Laura. We wish you the best in your first year of homeschooling!

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