With all the back to school uncertainties COVID has caused, many families are turning towards homeschooling. I’m not talking about what we all just experienced last spring. That wasn’t homeschooling. That was pandemic schooling.
The homeschooling I’m talking about is where you get to choose what you want to teach your children, when you want to teach it and how you want to teach it.
As a teacher by education, I choose to homeschool my children. Why, you might ask? ‘I don’t educate my children at home so that I can do school with them. I homeschool because I want to do life with them.”—Unknown. Don’t get me wrong, not all homeschool days are peachy, but I can’t ignore the call to do life with my kids.
Over the past 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve learned a thing or two. In fact, I had a friend reach out the other day and say, “Oh, if only I could sit down and pick your brain for a few hours.” Well, after picking my own brain, I present to you my 5 steps for homeschooling families.
#1 Let Go of Everything you know about education. This might just be the most important step!
Homeschooling is not public school at home. In fact, it works much better when you throw out the public school mentality and embrace the fact that homeschooling is not supposed to look or feel like public school. You get to choose what your home learning looks like and how it feels. Really visualize the environment you want to create and then create your vision.
#2 Know your state’s homeschooling laws
Depending on where you live can really impact how you homeschool. Each state varies in their rules and regulations for homeschooling families. Colorado, for example, has moderate homeschool regulations. You can find the details by going to your state’s Department of Education website, or https://www.cde.state.co.us/choice/homeschool.
#3 Locate support groups, Co-ops, or Charter Schools
There are a plethora of online resources available to homeschooling families! In fact, you can follow along @homeschool.elevated on both Facebook and Instagram for extra support from yours truly. Get in those support groups, ask your questions and learn from other homeschool mamas. I’ve also enjoyed joining a Co-op or Charter school that’s specifically designed for homeschooling families. These are typically held once a week and provide classes, field trips, socialization, and support. Colorado is blessed to have many of these located throughout the state!
#4 Discover your teaching & learning styles
It’s so important to think through what you want in a curriculum before you begin purchasing. Discover your teaching style first. Discover what your kids want to learn and how they learn. Doing a little thinking and research will help you make a solid purchase that you can use over and over again for years to come.
#5 Explore Curricula
Exploring curricula is the last step for a reason. By completing tips #1-4 first, this will narrow down your search and take a lot of the overwhelm away. Another recommendation is Cathy Duffy’s book, 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. This book will help you discover your teaching style and allows you to explore curriculums focused on that style. Next, get in those support groups and ASK specific questions about the curriculums you’re considering to ensure it’s a good fit for your family.
Most of all, you can do this! You are enough. There’s not a better teacher for your child than a loving, invested parent.
Shereé Cardon is a teacher by education turned homeschool mom of 4. She helps families establish elevated, efficient learning in their homes. She is the founder of Homeschool Elevated, a resource for homeschooling families across the globe. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.