Homeschooling: How to Begin

How does a family even begin to start teaching their child or multiple children at home? Learn through playing!

As a former full time teacher, with experiences ranging from preschool to adult education, I always used the summer time to plan out my school year. Perfect! It is summer, so time to plan!

I have transitioned from teaching a whole room of middle school students to now Pre-K for my 2.5 year old son. Isn’t it great-easy commute and I already know everyone in my class? This is all wonderful, but even though these are amazing perks to the job, remember to treat it like any other job outside the house. Your child is counting on you to provide structure, learning experiences, and most importantly your support.

Playing to learn sounds fun, and might get your kids more engaged and excited, but even play needs structure.

Here are ten questions to ask yourself before officially getting started with homeschooling:

  1. Simply, why are you homeschooling?

Is it out of necessity or is it your passion? Either way, make it your new passion. How? You know your child better than anybody. Make your everyday with them full of teachable moments, but also remember you are not only a parent in his or her eyes but a teacher. Teachers are celebrities to their students, the good ones at least, and I think that sounds pretty fulfilling to me.

2. What is your long term goal as parent and homeschool teacher?

Goals. We all need them, and setting at least three long term goals for yourself, will help your child better achieve their learning objectives and age-appropriate milestones. For example, my long term goals for my son involve teaching his Pre-K learning goals, having 20 minutes of planned instruction each day, and creating a routine we follow each week.

How are you going to measure these goals, and keep track of your learning objectives?

Print out your goals and know them backwards and forwards. For older students this could even be making sure you are teaching the Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, or the standards of the state your reside in currently. Create an excel sheet or print out a template that has all of the goals, learning objectives, and standards listed. Simply make sure you address at least two in each lesson with as many objectives as needed, and mark it in your spreadsheet as taught and another mark when mastered.

For my Pre-K student, I will solely focus on one goal, but also review and reinforce other past goals.

3. Have you researched different homeschool techniques and teaching methods? Which one will you adopt?

There are many different ways parents homeschool, but really it depends on you and your child. It is good to think about their learning style, their strengths, possible challenges along the way, and what can you do to provide a safe and nurturing environment that best suites the both of you?

Ask yourself: What Type of Homeschooling Method are You?

What will your learning space look like?

Personally, I have our learning space in a cozy spot in the kitchen, but learning can happen anywhere in the house, in our backyard, or outside in the world. Learning can happen anywhere, but make sure you have a designated spot in your house that will provide consistency and a functional place to learn.

Learning Space Ideas: calendar, whiteboard, work station (desk or table), supply cart, busy bins, iPad with storage space

There are so many different school supplies, but what are the essentials and age appropriate?

Everyone should have a printer, ideally a smart printer that connects with your phone. Also, a laminator that has good reviews and will last you a while. We also have markers, crayons, counting bears, recycled materials for projects, roll of paper, scissors, tape, sticky notes, wall post-its, and lot and lots of craft materials

What will be your daily schedule?

Everyone schedule will be different, and that is okay. I have included a few FREEBIES provided by other blogs to help you figure out a schedule that works best for you and your child:

Playdough to Plato

Exceptional Thinkers

House Mix Blog

How will you plan out your lessons for each day?

Buy a planner! Desk calendars and a personal planner are excellent tools to keep you on task and motivated. I have a dry erase calendar in my office that helps me stay on track with my son’s Pre-K learning goals. I focus on one goal a week, and continuously implement what he has learned in his future lessons. Google Calendar is also a great way to save your lessons, even if it is just the learning objective and activity.

Post the daily schedule on the wall, but the lessons should be a living document that is changed to accommodate your child and his or her skill set. It is okay if your child did not master a skill, because reteaching will always be apart of every lesson. That is the exciting part-we never stop learning new and old information!

What are different ways to motivate your child to learn at home?

Going full circle-play to learn! I haven’t even really got into the fun stuff yet-how to play to learn. In my next post, I will talk with you about fun activities you can do with your child and resources that will inspire you to really get passionate about homeschooling.

When will you start?

Start the planning process now, and get your child used to the learning space. Casually start involving those learning goals into your child’s play time. This is relevant with all ages, because as long as we are having fun we are more open to learn.

So excited about your journey as a homeschool parent, and we are here to help you with any questions you may have. Teach with passion, and your child will become a more passionate lifelong learner!

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