How to Start Homeschool

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Not Sure How to Start Homeschool?

Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to start your homeschool? I am sharing with you the steps that I took to start our homeschool. Read on to see how you can start your homeschool in 6 days!

When my son was 3 years old, I started looking into how to homeschool. Particularly, how to start homeschool.

After visiting a couple of homeschool websites, I was lost with all the homeschool jargons and was overwhelmed with the amount of information out there on homeschooling. I simply did not know how or where to start.

So many times, I wondered if I would be able to do this. I don’t have an educator’s background, I don’t have the time to look into all of this, I don’t have the patience for this…I had SO many reasons why I shouldn’t and couldn’t homeschool my children.

Shortly after our move from California to North Carolina, I decided that I would try my best to learn all that I can to start homeschool. No procrastinating, no excuses.

After a week (or so), I gathered enough information from friends who homeschool and my other friend, Google, and I listed out the steps that I needed to take to start homeschool.

These are the steps I took to start our homeschool and I hope they will help you in your homeschool journey.

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    TIME

    Please allow 6 days, about 2-3 hours each day. Some may need more time, some may not. Adjust to your own pace.

    DAY 1 | RESEARCH & SUPPORT

    You have two tasks, (1) research homeschool laws and (2) join a support group. 

    1. HOMESCHOOL LAWS

    It is very important to know what your state’s (or country’s) homeschool laws are and abide by them. Do what is necessary to start your homeschool properly.

    You may have to send in a notice of intent to operate a homeschool and there may be other specific requirements such annual testing and notification, just to name a few.

    1. Go to your state’s Department of Education website or here.
    2. Read through and take necessary actions (if any).
    3. Print out a copy (keep in homeschool binder).

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      2. SUPPORT GROUP

      I highly suggest checking out one or two homeschool groups in your area. You can usually find homeschool groups locally by searching on Facebook or Google. Just type in [your city] and “homeschool group” in the search bar.

      Join online support groups for additional support.

      Sometimes, I have questions that pop up in my mind and I want to ask someone before I forget! That’s where online homeschool groups come in handy for me. I can often find answers quickly to questions like which homeschool printer should I get or seasonal book recommendations for the kiddos.

      I invite you to join our FB group! It is dedicated to new homeschoolers and those who are thinking about homeschooling.

      It’s a small group right now since we are just starting but your questions will be read and answered faster.

      You can PM me with any questions you may have and I will try my best to help you!

      DAY 2 | HOMESCHOOL BUDGET

      Just to give you a ballpark figure, the average cost of homeschool is $700-$1800 per child, per year (source). You can certainly spend less or more than that, it really depends on your family’s specific needs.

      I like to have a budget for homeschool simply because we are a one-income family and I want to spend wisely. Some prefer to set a budget after they have an idea of which homeschool method and curriculum they want and that’s perfectly fine too.

      I find that by having a budget first helps me narrow down my choices when it comes to choosing homeschool curriculum (which can be overwhelming).

      Please check out my step-by-step guide on How to Budget for Homeschool here.

      If you prefer not to go through the detailed work of budgeting for homeschool at this point, you can simply just set aside a certain amount per child, per year.

      For instance, you could start out with a budget of $200 per child, per year. As you go along, you can determine if you have to increase that budget or not.

      This way you at least have some kind of a budget, which is better than none in my opinion.

      DAY 3 | HOMESCHOOL METHOD

      There are two main tasks to do here.

      (1) Go through and familiarize yourself with the different types of homeschool methods and think about what may be best for you (as the teacher), your child (as the student), and family (as a whole). 

      (2) This is also a good time to think about the mission and vision of your homeschool. 

      Homeschool method is a style of teaching and/or learning. 

      Here is a list of common homeschool methods (with my own simple definitions along with appropriate links that describe each method better):

      1. Traditional – school at home, mimic traditional style of teaching from regular schools.
      2. Classical Conversations – Christian-based, learn in three phases: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.
      3. Charlotte Mason – Christian-based, cultivate good habits early, lots of home & nature learning. Uses living books over textbooks.
      4. Unit Studies – teaches a combination of several subjects using one topic at a time. Interest-led.
      5. Eclectic – combine two or more homeschool methods, also called relaxed homeschooling.
      6. Unschooling – children not forced to learn. Child-led learning. The child learns at his/her own timing and chooses what he/she wants to learn (or not learn).

      This is by no means a list of homeschool methods in its entirety, rather they are the most common methods of homeschooling. Several others are not mentioned for the sake of simplicity.

      Here is another list of homeschooling methods (or styles) I often refer to. It is thorough and easy to understand.

      For some, this may take more than a day to solidify. You may have to do some trial and error. See what works and what doesn’t. Don’t let this overwhelm you. In time, you will begin to identify which one (or two, or three) works best.

      DAY 4 | HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM

      First of all, there are A TON of homeschool curriculum out there. A TON. I was really overwhelmed the first time I browsed through a homeschool curriculum catalog.

      It is generally easier to choose your homeschool curriculum once you know your homeschool method and budget because your choices will now be narrowed.

      Please read my post, How to Create Your Homeschool Curriculum, where I go over my 5 steps to create your homeschool curriculum.

      Also, I HIGHLY suggest checking Cathy Duffy Reviews. She has been reviewing homeschool curriculum since 1984. I find her website up-to-date and she is very thorough and unbiased (in my opinion). 

      How to Start Homeschool Guide

      DAY 5 | ORGANIZE HOMESCHOOL (PAPERWORK)

      I suggest creating a simple organization system for all homeschool-related paperwork when starting your homeschool.

      These are the 3 systems I use to organize paperwork like attendance, lesson plans, as well as all the kids’ worksheets and homework.

      Homeschool Paperwork

      HOMESCHOOL BINDER (FOR PARENTS)

      Most everything you need as a homeschool parent/teacher will be filed here.

      Be sure to check outmy step-by-step guide on How to Create Your Homeschool Binder (FREE printable binder cover & spine).

      1. One 1″ 3-ring binder. This is mine, I like the heavy duty ones with a one-touch slant ring. But, if you have no preference just look around your house or get it for a buck at the dollar store.
      2. One set of 5-tab dividers. You may have one in the office already. You can use 8-tab dividers if you prefer.
      3. Label them however you want, whatever will be most helpful for you.
      4. I am labeling mine:
        • Calendar & Attendance
        • Weekly Lesson Plan
        • Curriculum
        • Extracurricular (sports, music, art, etc.)
        • Resources
      Binder cover and spine

      HOMESCHOOL CRATE (FOR CHILDREN)

      Credit: This is an idea I am using and liking from Kristi Clover, you can read about it here or watch it here. (Specifically her crate system). 

      1. One Sterilite File Crate. *It doesn’t have to be the exact same one, just any filing crate that the kids can have easy access to on regular bases (in my opinion open crates are better than the ones with lids, especially if you have little ones).
      2. Hanging file folders.
      3. File folders, one color for each student. *I have two kids so I purchased two different colors, but at $17 a pop this will add up if you have more kids. If you can afford it, go ahead. If not, I suggest using regular manila folders and write their names on the label part.
      Homeschool Crate

      HOMESCHOOL ACCORDION FILE (FILING AWAY PAPERS AND PROJECTS)

      I use an accordion file to file away work that the kids have done.

      This is a great way to file away what the kids have done throughout the year, you can easily pull them out to look at for fun or if you have to meet up with an evaluator to showcase what your kids have been doing. 

      What gets filed? I choose special artwork or crafts (bigger artwork that will not fit in the accordion file will have a picture taken and printed out to file), core curriculum worksheets, or quizzes and tests that your state requires proof of.

      It’s portable and easy to organize. I found an old one in the office so I just used that. 

      I organize our accordion file by month (January to December) for now, and I am using one accordion file for both kids per school year.

      TIP: Remember to put their names and dates on the project, homework, or tests for easy filing.

      *Links to items necessary for this portion of organizing your homeschool are either from Amazon or Walmart (NOT affiliate links). I check the prices between the two and link the lowest one. Prices are at the time of my writing, so they may change. My suggestion is to look around your house first if you don’t have them then purchase.

      Homeschool Portfolio File
      Homeschool Accordion File

      DAY 6 | ORGANIZE HOMESCHOOL SPACE

      Everyone’s home is different and the way we like things to be organized will also vary.

      My general advise is to have a home for everything (toys, crafts, pencils, crayons, drawing paper, construction paper, homeschool crate, glue, etc. ) and LABEL as much as you can. Bins, baskets, bookshelves are what we use to house many of our homeschool supplies.

      Check out my video on our most updated homeschool space (we’ve moved) and how I put it together on a budget.

      I am not a super organized person, but I do have a home for everything and that makes it easy when it comes time for clean up. When we have little ones, it’s just not realistic to keep our homes like what you see in magazines (at least not for me and I’m OK with that).

      We homeschool mainly in the dining room but we read and play with toys in the living, playroom, and bedroom as well.

      Below are some pictures of how I organize most of our homeschool supplies.

      Here is a collage of where I store most of our homeschool supplies, curriculum, toys, and crafts.

      More Homeschool Organization

      This is an Ikea Kallax shelf that we use for books, legos/blocks, and toys.

      Homeschool Bookshelf

      I use this 3-drawer Sterilite cart for all our craft and art supplies.

      Homeschool Craft Cart

      I use small cup holders that can hold pens/pencils and whatnot.

      Homeschool Organization

      I use this bookshelf from Ikea to store my homeschool binder, homeschool curriculum, and some office supplies.

      Homeschool Organization Bookshelf

      THAT’S A WRAP!

       Alright, these are the steps I took to get our homeschool started and I hope they help you out.

      My goal when starting homeschool is to cover the necessary bases and keep it simple.

      Please let me know in the comment section below if these tips were helpful to you and also please share any other helpful tips that you may have for starting a homeschool!

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