How to Start Homeschooling

In the wake of the covid pandemic more families are considering homeschooling than ever before. Experts estimate that the number of homeschooled students could double or even triple in the upcoming year. The good news is that there has never been a better time to start homeschooling. There are an abundance of resources and support systems already in place. Not to mention homeschooling is now readily accepted. The bad news is that there are an abundance of resources. It can be difficult and time consuming to filter through all of the choices to find a curriculum that works for you.

Although the task may feel daunting, I encourage you to stick with it. Over the next few weeks I will guide you through the process of selecting curriculum and getting started. The more effort you put into creating a unique family curriculum or a unique curriculum for each child in your family the more the children will thrive.

By clicking on the links within this blog you can find descriptions of many of the resources that have worked for us. As I walk you through the process I will be doing a major update and reorganization of this blog to make finding resources even easier, but keep in mind that your learning philosophy, the way your children learn, your children's ages and their learning style may be different from mine. That's okay, because there is no right or wrong way to homeschool. I will describe resources that have worked well for us, but also note resources that come highly recommended by other homeschooling families. As a future reference, the best place to go for reviews and description of various homeschool curriculum is Cathy Duffy Reviews.

What is a curriculum? Curriculum refers to resources used to teach your children. That could be anything from random chapter books, a math work book, a deck of cards used for playing Black Jack 21 to teach addition, a biology textbook, a program for teaching phonics to young children or a complete package of grade-based resources for teaching all subjects. Curriculum can be on-line, video based, or rooted in books. It can cover a single subject or an entire grade level. It can be written to the student in a step-by-step manner so that a child can work independently or it can be written for a teacher. It can be religious or secular. Curriculum can be college-prep, life-skills based or focused on a special interest. It can be free, cheap, or quite costly. It may be written for specific age groups or grade levels or meant to satisfy a range of ages. Finally, it can be created by someone else and purchased, or it can be a variety of resources you assemble.

Before purchasing curriculum, the two most important things to consider are your learning philosophy and the learning style of your child. Learning philosophy refers to the structure of your curriculum. For example, a Montessori philosophy involves a prepared environment filled with educational manipulatives that the child can access based on interest. A unit study philosophy covers all subjects in the context of one topic such as the human body. Descriptions of more educational philosophies can be found here. By taking this short Homeschool Style Quiz you can gain insight into your favored philosophies. Many commercial homeschooling supplies align with a particular philosophy of teaching. Therefore, knowing which philosophies of education you are interested in can greatly help focus the search for educational materials.

The other important factor to consider when selecting curriculum is how your child learns. While most of us are able to learn through a variety of different inputs, there is often a method which stands out. The main modes for learning are visual, auditory and physical. This Learning Style Quiz will help determine the learning style of your children. Some philosophies of education and curriculum work well with some learning styles and some with others. For example, since a Montessori philosophy is hands-on and led by the child it works well for physical, logical and solitary learners. More information on learning style can be found here.

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