So, you're thinking about getting started homeschooling? Woot woot! Congrats mama! That's exciting -and super overwhelming- so let's break down a few things.
How I Got Started Homeschooling
Two years ago I was in your shoes; contemplating pulling my child out of school but nervous. He started kindergarten at a Spanish Immersion school during the fall of 2019 (yes, I just felt you cringe since you know where this is going), and once covid hit in March of 2020 things basically blew up in my face. Distance learning was not for us; but let me calm your fears right now, homeschooling is almost nothing like distance learning! So if you had a miserable experience like we did, don't worry! Homeschooling is not the same.
But I digress.
So, along comes the summer of 2020 and I was seriously contemplating the idea of pulling my child out of his school. At this point he was going into first grade, I also had a preschool age child, an almost 2 year old, and a 4 month old baby. So when I say that I sat and seriously considered my options; I mean it!
The thought of getting started with homeschooling seemed super overwhelming! And the funny thing? I was homeschooled all my life 😅 So you would think it would come naturally, but no. There is a huge difference between being the student and being the teacher!
In the end I talked it through with my husband and after some hesitation on his part, he gave his blessing and support. So I officially filed a letter of intent to homeschool and removed my son from his school.
It. Was. SCARY.
How I Chose a Curriculum
One of the first things I did when I decided to homeschool was google "what is my homeschool style". At the very top of the search results there was a quiz and I took it. (No, I'm not kidding.)
I knew there were a bunch of different methods/styles of teaching and I needed some help with where to start looking when it came to choosing a curriculum. I took the answer they gave me (Charlotte Mason Style) and started researching.
In the end I decided to go with a curriculum my mom had used with us when we were teenagers and that I really loved called Sonlight. That was a BUST! While I loved the reading intensive curriculum as a teenager, as a mom of littles it was way too much for us.
So the following year I spent a good month looking into different curriculums on the market and truly doing my do diligence to make sure I chose one I thought would be a good fit for our family.
And I guess the second time is the charm because I #nailedit! (Lol not to toot my own horn but *toot toot*!)
I ended up going with Gather Round Homeschool Curriculum even though it was just getting stared because it seemed like one that would really fit our family; and it does! I'm happy to say that we are on year two of using their materials and still very happy with it!
But why did I share all this?
Mainly to tell you sweet mama, that it's okay. It's okay to try out a few curriculums, it's okay to switch it up, it's okay to change it up even mid-semester! Part of the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom it allows for each of us to teach in a way that fits our family best!
My suggestion would be to do some googling, do your research. Watch YouTube videos about why people didn't like the curriculum you're looking into; that's actually one of the reasons I ended up getting over my fear and ordering Gather Round Homeschool. I watched a video of a lady saying all the reasons it didn't work for her family which were basically all the things I was looking for!
What About the Legal Stuff?
Here's another thing you're going to have to google; the requirements for your state and/or country. The differ depending on which state you live in, so although I could touch on Minnesota's requirements, that doesn't do you any good unless you live in Minnesota.
My advice would be to google it and check out the specifics for your household. And while some of the lingo might be a bit scary, when you break it down it's usually pretty simple.
States mostly just want to know that all school-age children are accounted for and that they're getting a good education. Which is why I have stared purchasing a teacher's planner and keeping detailed ones of what we do each day as we go throughout our day. I would be proud to show anyone how hard we've worked and the information we've covered throughout the year.
What Do You Really Need?
I know some people are hesitant because they think they need lots of money, a fancy school room, a teaching degree, etc. But really mama I think the heart behind why you're choosing to homeschool is so much more important. Plus there are so many amazing open-and-go curriculums out there you don't have to worry about coming up with daily lessons or material.
And having some sort of designated school space is not a requirement to getting started with homeschooling! You don't need a fancy school room with all the bells and whistles. A table and some books will do! Actually, scratch that. Part of the joy of homeschooling is the freedom it offers! We've done school in our van while on a road trip, outside while enjoying the fresh air, at other people's homes, etc. So don't feel boxed in to the typical ideas of school and a school room.
I want to close with this; if you're thinking of getting started homeschooling, trust your gut and go for it! Mama, if it doesn't work out for your family -that's okay! You can always put your kids back in school!
And as far as the fears go...
Will I be good at it? Well, you won't know until you try!
Am I capable of teaching my children? Yes mama yes! 1000x's yes!
You are child's best advocate! You without a doubt have their best interest at heart. You are their greatest support and cheerleader. You are equipped to raise your children; don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I'm rooting for you!