Are you looking to homeschool your child? That’s great! Before you start, however, there are a few things to know about homeschooling, from researching your state’s homeschool requirements to understanding that you really are capable of homeschooling your child.
What to Know About Homeschooling
Here are just ten things to know about homeschooling before you start. We wish you and your family all the best on your journey!
1. You Are Already Homeschooling!
Did you teach your child how to walk? How to tie their shoes? How to ride a bike? Congrats, you are officially a homeschool parent.
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “That’s not at all the same thing as teaching my child upper-level math and science!” But why not? Sure, these subjects or others might seem daunting, but with the right curriculum and guidance from other homeschool parents, you can teach your child anything—just like you taught them to tie their shoes. By teaching your child subjects like math, science, history, and English, you are simply continuing the education you have already begun giving them.
2. Research Your State Requirements
Since laws regarding homeschooling vary by state, what homeschoolers must do to succeed can get confusing. Some states are highly selective in their standards; others are more relaxed. It’s important to be aware of your state’s homeschooling requirements so that you don’t run into any issues down the road. To learn about your state’s rules, visit HSLDA’s Homeschool Laws by State, which conveniently breaks down each state’s requirements with an interactive map.
3. Although Difficult, Homeschooling Is Doable
Homeschooling is a voyage, but that doesn’t mean it will always be smooth sailing. Expect obstacles along the way. There will be moments you doubt yourself and think there is no way to succeed in this endeavor.
Classical Conversations® helps make the homeschool journey doable by equipping parents with resources, an easy-to-follow curriculum, and support from a local community. But no matter what program your family chooses, you will still encounter life’s storms—so be prepared. Trust the homeschool process. Trust your curriculum. Trust your friends’ guidance. Trust yourself. Trust God. And before you know it, you’ll soon be at your journey’s end, having successfully prepared your student not just for college and a career but for all areas of life.
4. There Are Many Opportunities for Socialization
How can your child possibly thrive socially without being in traditional school? Well, there are many options out there for homeschoolers to socialize while learning, from homeschool co-ops to our own Classical Conversations Christian communities, where local families meet one day a week to learn together and do life together. This provides guidance and accountability for our parents and allows our students to socialize with each other, often leading to friendships that extend beyond our weekly Community Day. And, of course, there are always sports teams, art and fitness classes, book clubs, scouting organizations, and youth groups that your child can join to boost their social skills.
5. Not All Homeschooling Is Schooling at Home
Although your home will likely be your learning HQ, homeschooling doesn’t have to take place there all the time. In fact, there are many opportunities to study subjects you are already learning outside of the home. For example, you can study earth science at a local park, history at your state museum, and math during a grocery shopping trip. Although books are powerful resources, remember to train your children to learn from all aspects of life. So don’t be afraid to take advantage of the wonderful flexibility of all the “field trips” available to homeschooling!
6. You Call the Shots
If you choose to homeschool, this means you are in charge of your child’s education—no one else. This might seem overwhelming, but it can also be liberating, equipped with a trusted curriculum and the guidance of other homeschool parents.
Is a certain textbook not working for your family? Switch it out for something else. Does your child need more time to grasp a concept? Spend more time and attention when needed. Don’t want to teach math that way? There are other options. One of the great joys of homeschooling is that it allows you to tailor your child’s education to best suit your family’s needs, goals, and values.
7. Rushing Your Child’s Learning Won’t Help
One of the limitations of traditional schooling is that many students end up moving on to the next grade level before they are ready. Fortunately, homeschooling allows children to learn at their own pace. So try not to fret if your child isn’t understanding a certain math concept or isn’t able to memorize dates on the historical timeline “as quickly as other children” or “as is typical for their age.” With just a little more patience, often a switch will go off in their brains, and they’ll suddenly understand whatever it was they were previously struggling to learn.
8. You Might Not Get It All Done Every Day
Homeschool parents never lack for things to do. For instance, sometimes a science lesson leads to a multi-hour investigation of all living things in the backyard. As a new homeschool parent, be prepared for days you don’t finish everything you planned. There will be times you have to carry subjects over to the next day, or maybe even the day after that.
Of course, you don’t want to put everything off to the next day, but don’t feel guilty if you didn’t have time to read The Story of the World or work through Saxon algebra. You can get to these tomorrow. Now, if you find yourself repeatedly struggling to stay on track day after day, consult a fellow homeschool parent in your local community for advice, or see if your curriculum provides a day-by-day schedule for the academic year.
9. You’ll Reclaim Your Own Education
At Classical Conversations, we often say that parents reclaim their own education when they homeschool their children. Obviously, the focus of homeschooling is to teach your child, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn right along with them! Whether it’s a less familiar subject or one you majored in at college, you’ll certainly relearn forgotten bits of information and discover completely new ones. This makes homeschooling even more rewarding, as both you and your child participate as students together.
10. You Can Homeschool Your Child
For many parents considering homeschooling, the final obstacle to becoming their child’s best teacher is the fear that they aren’t qualified. If you can relate, know that you are enough. All you need are a few tools under your belt for the journey ahead—tools like a proven educational method, a curriculum that suits your family, helpful resources, and accountability from other homeschool parents.
Whether you choose to homeschool with Classical Conversations or not, these are tools every homeschool parent needs. And with them, you can homeschool your child.
There’s More to Know About Homeschooling
For parents completely new to the world of homeschooling, there is a lot to figure out before even getting started on the journey. Among many other decisions you need to make as a new homeschool parent is choosing the right homeschool program for your family. If you’re interested in learning more about Classical Conversations and our unique community-based homeschool programs, please click here. We’d love to hear from you!
May God bless your family’s homeschooling journey!