Starting to Plan
Once you’ve made the decision to homeschool your family, it’s time to make a plan. Remember back to when you were expecting your first child? You probably made plans then too, for how your family would operate with the new baby. Later you changed your plans…again, and again, and again! The same thing will be true with homeschooling. It’s good to plan. It’s also good to know that plans will change.
Before, or as you start, it’s helpful to…
1. Enlarge your circle. Meet home schooling families at a local support group.
2. See resources. Try to see curriculum being used in a home, as you consider what to borrow or buy.
3. Draft a Simple Assessment. Write a simple assessment, no longer than one page per child, of where each of your children is academically, and in other areas of their lives that are important to you.
4. Learn the legal requirements. What will your state, country or province require of you, legally? It may be very little. It may be complex. In some states, the exact requirements are straight-forward. In others, they can be hard to interpret. Seek legal information and advice, especially if you are planning to withdraw a child from public school.
5. Understand Learning Styles. Write down how you think each of your children tends to learn best. The general areas of learning styles are a) learning through hearing, b) learning through seeing/reading, or c) learning through doing. Think about your children’s learning styles as you look at curriculum.
6. Set Goals. Write down, as simply as possible, your goals for each child for this year. Also write down your own reasons, as a parent, for why you want to homeschool and what goals you have for yourself for this year, as a new homeschooling parent. On your list, describe how you would like to interact with your children each day including the quality of your tone of voice, your level of eye contact, your patience level, your ability to listen, and your enjoyment of your children.
7. Choose Curriculum. Buy or borrow curriculum but don’t over-buy. You are just getting started! Our online store offers thousands of choices at best-of-web pricing.
8. Look at your home. Clear away space where you can all work together, and spaces for each child to be able to work quietly and individually.
9. Generally plan out one week. Write down the subjects you’d like your children to work on each day and for what hours. Plan which hours of the day you expect will be free-time for your children. Schedule several family activities during the week, a few at home, and a few away from home, or outside. Include in your week time for the family to pick up the house, cook, and go grocery shopping. As you homeschool you will change these plans and schedules, but it’s good to have at least one week mapped out.
10. Record Your Children’s Work. Plan how to record what your family is doing. You can use a calendar, keep a notebook of representative work, and you can also come in to our site at www.home-school-inc.com. Our free PER services will help you stay organized and create a school record for your children.
11. What About College? Colleges today welcome homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled students tend to be well-prepared for college and other institutions of higher education. In our “Community,” we have a section called “College Corner.” Here, we offer you help and resources for thinking ahead to college applications and requirements as you plan the high school years.
12. Note Your Expectations. Expect homeschooling to be a positive adventure! Write down a few of your expectations of what it will be like to homeschool. A month after you start, spend a few minutes to look at your list and see how the real experience compares. For most of us, the experience was far different than we imagined. It was far better, because it was so wonderful to be with our children. However, in the short run, less was accomplished than we expected. But, in the long run, much, much more was gained than we expected!