Last time we discussed how you need to pray, breathe, and understand why you are going to homeschool. Now you are ready to begin some research!
Start with you and your family. What does your current lifestyle and daily schedules look like? How is homeschooling going to become a part of your new normal? This will vary depending on if you are a single parent, are working, stay-at-home, or have a spouse that works third shift and wants to spend some time with the kids when they wake up each day.
Now determine who is going to do the majority of the teaching. Will your spouse, close friend, or grandparent teach certain subjects on a regular basis, such as math or language arts? Are there co-ops, Homeschool Assistance Programs, tutoring, or other homeschool classes in your area for your child to attend for some of their education? While there are many homeschool parents/grandparents that do all of the teaching themselves, do not feel like you HAVE to do it all yourself. You have options.
Now you will want to research the homeschool laws in the state that you live in. This is very important as the laws do vary in the United States, and especially in other countries. Did you know that some states are more restrictive than others and it is even illegal in some countries to homeschool?
Discover what the legal requirements are where you live such as: Do you need to file with your school district? Create a student portfolio? Have a supervising teacher? And what about standardized testing?
I have homeschooled in three states and each had a different set of laws to follow. The state I began homeschooling our children in had the freedom established to homeschool with very little limitations or accountability. Another state we moved to seemed very intimidating to me when I first researched their stricter homeschool laws, yet it ended up being my favorite place to homeschool!
Next, research the different learning styles and mentally place each child into their style. This may change over the years, so don’t permanently label them. This information will help you select your curriculum as well as teach your kids more smoothly.
Learning styles are the ways that each of us naturally learn best. Visual learners retain information through seeing it such as reading, writing, pictures, and videos. Kinesthetic people learn while moving their bodies by touching, making, or taking apart things (it’s difficult for them to sit still for long). Auditory learners remember what they hear – through verbal lessons, music, and lectures. Logical learners love facts like math, science, reasoning, and systems.
So which one of your kids is a Visual learner? Kinesthetic? Auditory? Logical? This is important to know so you are not trying to fit your square peg child into a round-hole type of curriculum and teaching style. You and your students will end up frustrated. You want to teach your children as efficiently and effectively as possible. I had two children who had opposite learning styles so I learned to adapt my teaching style while choosing and using the same curriculum for both of them.
Now research the different teaching styles and determine which one fits you best. Are you a hands-on person? A free-spirit? Traditional? Classical? Love living books where learning comes from reading fun and fact filled stories? Want to unschool with unit studies and follow their independent learning interests, so when they are into baseball or birds you create lessons centered on that? You will learn how to teach from your strengths and personality along with their individual learning styles for the benefit of your family.
As you gather the answers to these questions you will begin to see the big picture of what your homeschool may look like. You will tweak some things as time goes on. Knowing the answers to your research will help you establish your homeschool, select your teaching materials, and have a happy homeschool!
Next we will discuss planning!
I love God, family, friends, and encouraging people. I enjoy helping others in the education world from my experience in my job and from when I homeschooled my kids. As a wife, Mom, soon to be Grandma, and the Education and Homeschool Web Merchandiser, I hope my blog articles are helpful to you as we live life together.