Starting to Homeschool – Where to Start!
Over on Facebook, a reader said, “trying to figure out how to homeschool my 7th grade daughter any advice would help…”
For those who are new on their homeschool journey and/or new to our blog I’ll share some resources with you that will hopefully help you as you embark on your own journey to find curriculum, resources, and to make this educational adventure an amazing one for your family!!
I can almost feel the stress that comes with that question — How do I figure it all out?! It can feel a bit overwhelming to know just quite where to start!
First, be sure you know what is legally required in order to homeschool. In our state, we have to file a “Notice of Intent to Homeschool” with our local school district by mid-August. Be sure you know what you are required to do in your state and get that done.
Then second, breathe deep! You are going to have an amazing year! It feels overwhelming to plan out your first year… To be honest, it can feel overwhelming to plan out any year after that too! You’re going to have worries and doubts, but you can do this!
Take little steps at first. Don’t spend lots of money on curriculum just yet. Get a feel for what subjects and topics your child/children is interested in and go from there.
I have a number of posts I’m going to recommend as you try to decide what you want to cover this year:
How to Start Homeschooling: This post has links to a lot of different resources here on the blog. It has general advice… as well as links to finding curriculum.
What do I teach?! What do we cover?!!
It is hard to decide what to teach and what to cover in your homeschool. It takes some thought and discussion with your kids. You’ll want to figure out what they’ve covered already. And, you’ll want them to weigh in on what they’re interested in. In our family I still offer suggestions about what we cover, but I continually ask the kids “what about this…” or “what about doing this project/activity…” That way they feel invested and excited about what’s to come.
Homeschooling is everything from the books you and the kids read and curriculum you follow to the experiences you have that are not so “traditional.” Kids will learn from anything and everything you do — museum trips, nature walks, co-ops, historic sites and on and on. It will be fun, exciting, and enriching for your kids and for you!
A couple of years ago I created some checklists of the general topics I hope we cover in elementary and middle school. One of the challenging (and lovely!!) things about homeschooling is there is no set/mandatory curriculum to follow. That means your family has TONS of flexibility. That can also feel overwhelming if you’re a new homeschooler just starting out.
I’ve shared the links to these fairly often over on Facebook, but for those of you new to the blog you might find these helpful.
There’s one for science, history and language arts. These checklists are free!
- Homeschool History Checklist – This list has some of the topics I hope we cover through the years. As the kids get older, we circle back around and cover the history topics again in more depth (and using literature). This also has various approaches to teaching history — with simulations, portfolios, creative writing, plays and more…
- You can also check out some of the units we’ve done… this past year I made charts with links the posts in our various science units (Earth science activities, Cells unit, Biology Unit, Ocean Unit, Simple Machines, Digestive System, etc. etc.) :
- And similar charts with our History Units and Packets. We have tons of free history resources (Civil Rights Movement, Genghis Khan, Ronald Reagan… etc.)
- I have a similar resource list of all of our language arts grammar sheets back in January. I never got around to making a new tab above, but you’ll find TONS and TONS of free grammar sheets (comma rules and practice sheets, apostrophe and quotation mark practice sheets and more!) here: Homeschool Language Arts
- You can check out the curriculum materials we use for language arts in this post. It will pretty much stay the same this fall for spelling, grammar, and literature (just moving up levels with the same series):