How to Start Homeschooling

The Chinese have a saying, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The saying applies to homeschooling. The best time to start homeschooling is from the
beginning. The second best time is now. But exactly how do you start?


Start Planning your Next Homeschool Year

How to Start Homeschooling

1. Birth

There is a school of thought that maintains you begin homeschooling at birth. This means you’ve begun homeschooling when you read your baby good books, play nursery games, or count toes. And don’t forget the importance of talking to your infant.

While babies can’t understand much now, you’re laying the foundation for grammar, vocabulary, and speech.


2. Preschool

Preschool is a more obvious time to start homeschooling. Depending on your child’s needs, you can begin working on letter sounds and counting. But don’t worry if your child isn’t ready for reading yet. Many kids aren’t ready until 5 or 6. (here are all our FUN ideas to homeschool preschool)

Concentrate on fun activities instead of a heavy load of academics. Pull out the paints, build pyramids, and read good books. Take walks, explore the neighborhood, and enjoy field trips. At the same time, connect with your local homeschool group and learn more about homeschooling in your area.

Enjoy a relaxed preschool at home with your child.

3. Kindergarten and First Grade

Many families add formal curriculum as the kids reach kindergarten and first grade. Begin by looking for reading, writing, and math curriculum. Later you can add science, social studies, or history. Don’t rush to pile hours of schoolwork on your children.

In fact, if you’re looking for a rule of thumb, give your children no more than an hour of formal schoolwork for every grade. A first grader should have no more than 1 hour of formal sit-down work; a second grader should have no more than 2 hours.

This doesn’t count the fun educational activities. Don’t put a time limit for nature hikes in the woods, swimming in the local pool, or enjoying arts and crafts. Young kids still learn best through play!


4. Pulling Kids Out of School

If you decide to begin homeschooling an older child and pull them out of school, resist the urge to panic and jump straight into hours of schoolwork a day. Kids need a detox time. You need time to enjoy the homeschooling lifestyle.

Begin by allowing your children to enjoy being at home. Encourage them to read, work on projects, and write letters to family. Connect with local homeschoolers and join a few field trips.

After a few weeks you can slowly ease into homeschooling. First add reading to your homeschool day. Make it enjoyable by making tea or hot chocolate and curling up in the living room together with a good book. You can read funny parts together, enjoy reading great literature aloud, or simply read quietly.

Begin keeping a journal about your homeschool adventures. Kids can draw illustrations of animals. They can write blurbs about field trips. You’ll end up with a portfolio of your educational journey.

Next find a math program that fits your family’s needs. Begin to require math everyday along with the reading time. Just like beginning to homeschool with a kindergartner or first grader, you’ll slowly add more subjects as you go.

Remember the goal isn’t to recreate school at home. Instead allow homeschooling to flow out of your family’s lifestyle. Read good books, keep a journal, and solve a few math problems.

Enjoy your family’s new journey.

About the author


Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6. Her goal is to help moms simplify their homeschools so they can give their kids an excellent education and thrive at home. She blogs at Classically Homeschooling.

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