Tips for Getting Started with HomeschoolingAre you thinking about homeschooling? New to the idea? Not sure where to start? Homeschooling is growing in popularity for so many reasons – schools are cutting services, special needs aren’t able to be met, the ever-increasing focus on testing… these scenarios and others are driving more and more parents to pull their kids out of traditional school settings and keep them home for their education.

The important thing to remember, as you jump into homeschooling your kids, is that you CAN do it. Nobody knows and loves your kids like you do. There is simply nobody better equipped to teach your kids than you.

As you begin your homeschooling journey, there are some things to remember. These tips will help you clarify your thinking as you start making decisions about how you’re going to teach your kids, and what you’ll want them to learn.

Don't limit your child's studying material to textbooks.

Introduce your child to other reading materials such as magazines, comic books, and newspapers. Have your children read articles that will help them keep up on current events. Discussing and analyzing these events will teach them lifelong analytical skills.

Choose books from all different genres. Exposure to great works of historical fiction can spur your kids on to want to learn about a time period in our country’s history, leading to a more authentic understanding of history that can ever take place in a history class.

Turn your life into an opportunity for learning to take place.

A curriculum is important, but homeschooling is about teaching them academics as well as life lessons. Aid them with their grammar when they are speaking or reading. Let them help prepare meals and learn how to convert units of measurement through doubling recipes. You will be proud of how fast your children can learn.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle. The choice to homeschool your children affects other things you do, as your kids are with you most of the time. You have a unique opportunity to find learning everywhere. And, while I’m not advocating you turn everything into a lesson, you can talk about why the sand is different on the shores of Lake Erie where you live and on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when you visit California on vacation one year. Real-time hands-on learning sticks. It’s authentic, engaging, and real.

Plan learning activities on family vacations. Include trips to different historical landmarks, zoos, museums or science centers. You can even set aside a whole day of your vacation for learning activities. You and your family will have a great time together, while learning about something new, exciting, and fun.

Create opportunities to allow your kids to get together with others.

Socialization is the joke of the homeschool community, since it tends to be the first thing people new to the idea ask veteran homeschoolers about. There’s a misperception that since homeschooled kids aren’t part of a regular classroom, they don’t get a chance to see other kids.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many clubs, co-ops, classes, play dates, and other activities to join in, that once you find your community as new homeschoolers, you’ll have to pick and choose what to take part in or you’ll never actually be home. Plus, the interaction isn’t limited to same-age peers as it is in a traditional school setting.

Homeschool socialization tends to reflect the real world more than a school setting that’s segregated by age ever could. Kids can gravitate towards peers that have similar interests, and build friendships upon those. Just like I choose other homeschooling moms of various ages (one of my best friends is a decade younger than me!), my kids can play with others who like the same games or activities as them.

Homeschooling can be such a great thing for your family. You can pick and choose the types of materials to use, embrace a lifestyle of learning, and find true friendships for both you and your kids.


About the Author

Colleen KesslerColleen is a former teacher of gifted children who hoped for nice, average kids. Since things never quite work out as planned, she now stays at home to homeschool her highly gifted kids, trying desperately to stay one step ahead of them while writing about their adventures {and messes} at Raising Lifelong Learners. You can find her avoiding housework by playing on the trampoline or going for hikes with her kids. 

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