Homeschooling - I Have No Idea Where to Start
Making the decision and actually taking that jump into the homeschooling journey can be terrifying. Most parents I talk to don’t lack the desire to homeschool but lack confidence and don’t know where to start. Can I encourage you for a second? Don’t pass on homeschooling just because you are nervous or afraid. If you have the passion to homeschool, everything else will fall into place. Will it be easy? Not every day. But will it be worth it? Definitely!
So what’s the first thing you should do once you commit? Think about what you want the experience to look like for your kids. You might think about...
Your personal learning style and preferences. Why yours? We tend to deliver instruction the way we like to receive it. But we need to be cautious because our kids might not learn in the same ways we do. There’s a great learning style survey here with descriptions of and suggestions for each learning style. You’ll want to choose a curriculum that meets your needs as an educator while at the same time meeting the needs of your children
What are your homeschool goals? Do you want to individualize? Mirror the brick and mortar school? Have tons of hands-on learning? Do unit studies? Take some time to think through what you want for your kids and choose an appropriate curriculum accordingly.
Getting your children involved and ask them some questions. What are their educational goals? What kinds of learning experiences do they enjoy? Struggle with? Which has been the most beneficial?
"Meeting students’ needs where they are is not a fixed point. It’s a moving target..."
Once you’ve got an idea of what you are looking for, start looking at curriculum. I suggest initially choosing a curriculum that offers all or most of what you want to teach and has detailed instructions for the parent educator. Keep it simple. As you get more comfortable and familiar with teaching, the curriculum, your child as a learner, and your personal preferences for your homeschool, you can then start to modify and adjust as you are comfortable.
You can find all kinds of homeschool curriculum online. So much so, it can be very overwhelming! Here’s a word of caution, however. Many of the homeschool curriculums I’ve looked at are either very expensive, outdated, or contain many errors so be sure to get samples from the companies that pique your interest. Don’t feel like you need to jump on the bandwagon of a certain curriculum just because you are overwhelmed in finding the right one and don't know what else to do. There are plenty of quality curriculums available! (EVE unit studies, anyone?) It may take a few years for you to settle in on that perfect fit but that’s okay. Meeting students’ needs where they are is not a fixed point. It’s a moving target and we always have to change and adjust what we are doing to meet our child’s needs in a particular period of time.