Starting to Homeschool?
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As a homeschooling mom of 20+ years and a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant, I get many phone calls from moms (and sometimes dads) about how to start homeschooling. Having a grasp on why they want to homeschool is often the starting place for making decisions going forward. If you are considering homeschooling, asking yourself some of these questions might help you make some clearer choices for your family.

• Are you new to your state and already homeschooling? Or are you new to homeschooling? Either way, you will want to be aware of state regulations.
• Have you filled out the “Notice of Intent” if your state requires one?
• Have you chosen to use an umbrella program?
• What are the grades/ages of your children?
• If the oldest is in elementary school, does your child enjoy and succeed in certain subject areas but struggle with others? Has he moved along through concepts, but have trouble recalling in a testing situation? If so, curriculum decisions will be based on where he is now and how he can best move forward.
• If you have younger children, have you thought about having them learn along with the older child while you are doing lessons? Will you do school while the younger children are napping? Managing different age groups can be tricky, but God's grace and years of experience have taught me how to homeschool several at once. Looking for an experienced homeschooling mom to help mentor will give you support and ideas to implement in your own home. HomeWorks Consultants mentor and encourage homeschooling moms to make homeschooling work for them.
• If you have a middle school child, is she struggling with any school subjects? Now is the time to work on those areas to reinforce and encourage good study habits. It a great time to go back and review and reteach concepts that might be weak in order to move forward.
• What were the children doing last year? Were they in public or private school? Are they at grade level, and if not, how can you help them make progress?
• If in high school or late middle school, does your child know what she wants to do after she graduates? If she does know, will she need to develop any special skills? For example, to be a doctor/veterinarian, she will need an excellent math and science program. A foreign language is also helpful.
• I often recommend that a family consider joining Homeschool Legal Defense Association to find out about their state requirements, get information on struggling learners, high school and college requirements, and more. Most umbrella programs and some support groups are able to offer a discount code for HSLDA.

After we discuss these questions, the next one most parents usually ask is … “How will I get all of this done?” We discuss the possibilities of keeping with the traditional school calendar or creating a calendar that is more flexible for their family. I am often asked what our family does and I explain that we “do school” four days a week all year round. Our goal is to start on July 1st and we do school four of the five weekdays each week. I take my free printable academic calendar (July through June) and print out the full year first to mark off the days that we will NOT be doing school; such as vacation, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and planned trips. Then, I download and print out the monthly calendars and put a number in pencil on Friday that we plan to do school. See photo for example:

July 1st is a Saturday, so on July 7th I write a “4”; on the 14th I write an “8”; on the 21st I write a “12”, and on the 28th I write a “16”. This continues on each week and month until I get to the week we go on vacation; I skip the numbering on that Friday. Then, continue on numbering until Thanksgiving and then Christmas, and so on until I get to June 30th. I find that I can easily fit more than 180 “school days” with time off built in. This has been a good plan for our family, as I want the children to be doing some school in the summer each day so that important concepts are easily remembered. We usually do a half lesson of math and one other subject throughout the summer, so that the school days are a bit lighter in the fall through spring. I tell my children that the more schoolwork they get finished before Christmas, the less they have to do after the New Year … It is always a good motivator.

What questions do you have about homeschooling? A HomeWorks Consultant can help you get started or help you implement good curriculum choices, scheduling, or other support. We have a nationwide network of homeschooling parents/consultants available to answer your questions or you can contact me here to see if we can help you get your questions answered and begin your family on a successful and enjoyable homeschooling journey!

Meet the Author

Belinda Parrish - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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