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Home Schooling: First Steps

So you’ve finally decided to home school, but have no clue where to get started… Just the mere thought of home schooling can be a very daunting task. Delving into the unknown can also create an element of self-doubt that fills your mind right off the bat. That, coupled with an overwhelming task of choosing and gathering curriculum, creating lesson plans, organizing supplies, and (possibly) teaching multiple grade levels can be quite disheartening.

As you prepare to begin home schooling, here are some of the steps of getting started: choosing and gathering curriculum, creating effective lesson plans, scheduling your day, organizing your home, staying the course, and more!

Whew! Sounds like a lot, right? Don’t worry; you can do it!

As you may have heard already, there is no one right way to home school. The information I am about to provide isn’t the end all, be all of home school advice or a rigid set of rules that must be followed exactly. Instead, I hope they are a tool that helps provide you with the means to get started in your journey. Take from it what makes sense for your family, and alter that which needs to be changed to fit the unique needs of your home school.

So lets get started, shall we?

1. Get a vision. The best way to begin your home schooling journey is to start with the basics. First, I suggest that you start off by creating a vision for your home schooling journey. By creating a vision statement for why you are home schooling, you’ll have a backbone to fall upon when doubt and indecision creep in. Define your home schooling goals: What you are striving toward, and why you are choosing to home school. Once you’ve laid this foundation, you will be more prepared for the trials that will follow.

2. Why are you home schooling? First I like to tell people to ask themselves a simple question: Is this something you feel called to do, and are there other reasons motivating you toward this journey? Taking some time to list the reasons for your choice to home school is a great way to solidify your decision.

Writing it down will also help remind you why you chose this direction and help get you back on track if you start to lose focus or get discouraged.

Here are some common feelings I’ve experienced over the years:

  • Did we make the right choice?

  • Would my children do better if they were in a more traditional school?

  • Am I teaching my children enough?

  • Are they missing something by being taught at home?

Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues home schoolers can face is the indecision and doubt factor. Of course, we all want what is best for our children’s education, and if things aren’t going as expected, we need a reminder of why we chose this path to start with. Knowing what the goals for our home school are, we can adjust what we’re doing so we’re moving toward those goals and not toward what someone else tells us we should be doing.

I highly encourage you to write down your reasons for choosing to home school and keep it somewhere handy so you can refer back to it whenever you find yourself doubting your decision.

3. Know the basic laws for home schooling your child. Home schooling is legal in Canada, but the laws surrounding it vary from province to province. You can find all of the laws regarding home schooling on the Homeschool Canada’s website, homeschoolcanada.ca. It is an excellent source to gather all the information you need to begin.

4. Take it easy. And last but not least, new home schoolers often try to fill each hour with subjects or outside activities, which can quickly lead to frustration and burnout. Keep in mind, home schooling is rarely six hours a day, five days a week. It’s okay to blend your child’s scholastic needs into your family’s regular routine.

I hope this information greatly helps you succeed in you and your child’s new home schooling journey together. Happy home schooling!

Erica is a wife, mom, and home schooler. She authors the home schooling website Confessions of a Homeschooler, confessionsofahomeschooler.com, where she offers tons of free printables, resources, ideas, and home school curriculum. She likes to spend time with her family, and dabbles in graphic design in her free time. Feel free to drop by her site for a visit anytime! 

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