Are you interested in homeschooling your children but don’t know how to get started? I put together this quick startup guide to help give you 10 key steps you need to take to get started with homeschooling.
I encourage you to carefully read through the following information, and to start taking action today.
Through your commitment of time, energy, and love, you will be preparing your children for a fruitful life and an eternity with God.
Step 1: Get Everyone Onboard
It’s important that there be a mutual agreement among husband and wife about such a big decision like Homeschooling.
The personal pressures of time, energy, and resources spent on homeschooling; the different educational opinions you might have with your spouse; and the outward pressures from your family, peers, and others will add up.
You need the support of both spouses to increase your chances of succeeding on your homeschooling journey.
Try to get everyone on the same page about homeschooling. Read Bible verses on education and child training. Ask other homeschooling families any questions you might have. Read books on homeschooling. Attend homeschooling talks and conferences. Seek for unity within the family at all costs.
Step 2: Know “Why” You Want to Homeschool
Deciding to homeschool your children is similar to going on a long journey. It will be filled with exciting moments of discovery, learning, maturing, and growing; but it will also be filled with unexpected challenges, outward and inward pressures, and times of frustration.
It is important for you to get clear on why you are choosing to educate your children at home. Remembering why you’re homeschooling will help keep you focused and motivated in your homeschooling journey, help you to persevere when things get difficult, and help you to be able to answer the questions you’ll face from others.
Stop right now and write down the #1 reason why you want to homeschool. Then write down 2-3 or more very important reasons below that. Learn to communicate these reasons with your family, friends, strangers, and with the school officials you meet when you are applying for homeschooling.
Here are some possible reasons why you might want to start homeschooling:
- Because the Bible calls parents to be responsible for their children’s upbringing.
- You want to give your children a truly Christian education.
- To protect your children from the morally twisted education system.
- To better equip them for adulthood, and managing a family.
- To give them practical social, technical, business, literary, communicative, and analytical skills.
- To allow them to pursue their unique talents and giftings.
- Your child has physical or learning disabilities.
- To strengthen our family relationships.
Step 3: Consider the “What” of Homeschooling
Now that you know WHY you want to homeschool your children it’s important to think about WHAT you are going to teach them. This is going to involve so much more than just preparing them for a career. Think about what they will need in order to fulfill all of the roles and responsibilities they may have as an adult.
- Basic Life Skills- All adult individuals need spiritual training, character building, communication skills, self-discipline, a love of reading, writing ability, a strong work ethic, decision-making & problem-solving skills, basic household skills like cooking & cleaning, creativity, hand-eye coordination, self discipline, time-management, basic arithmetic, and accounting.
- Family Skills- What skills are needed for the likelihood that your children will get married, and raise a family? Leadership skills, child-care, household management, communication skills, problem solving, and prioritizing, preparing a budget, etc.
- Calling Skills- (Warning, Trigger Point!) The Bible shows that boys and girls callings are different, and thus their training should reflect that. Boys need to learn how to lead, provide, and protect through: family discipleship, communication with wife, profitable trades, accounting, self & home defense, house and car maintenance, etc. For girls- child care, home management, culinary arts, arts & crafts, accounting, investing, scheduling, helping husband with business, etc.
These 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level skills should help clarify and define your homeschooling priorities. Start off by teaching them to do what you do on a daily basis.
Step 4: Know What to Expect
- 24/7 with your children.
- Expect your family relationships to flourish, and actually enjoy being with your children through the different stages of their lives.
- Expect to learn more as you teach your children than you learned while going to public school.
- Expect the first year of homeschooling to be a year of balancing new routines along with the need to be flexible. After a full year of homeschooling you will have a better idea of what to expect for future years.
- Expect to get asked all the time about your educational choices and people thinking that your family is strange. (Remember your reasons why, from Step 2, above)
- Expect your children to be more mature and socially stable than most of their peers, as they spend most of their waking hours with you and with others of various age groups.
Step 5: Be Careful of the Following Dangers
Homeschooling is a wonderful journey that will bless your family greatly, but you must be careful of the common dangers and tendencies that homeschool families face along the way.
- The tendency to re-create the artificial/burdensome classroom setting at home.
- The tendency to teach subjects disconnected from real life application.
- The tendency to compare your child’s learning progress to that of the public schools, other homeschool families, or even with your other children.
- The tendency to value academics over spiritual training and character development.
- The tendency to compromise your educational convictions because of pressure from family members, friends, strangers, or the education department.
- The tendency to idolize your homeschooling family, and compare it with other families.
Step 6: Find Good Educational Materials, Resources, and Experiences
Learning isn’t limited to a classroom setting, or limited to textbook use. We should strive to provide a more natural learning environment, and provide the highest-quality learning materials and experiences for our children.
Learning Environment: Homeschooling provides the best, and most natural learning environments available- both inside and outside the home. Whereas traditional schooling is primarily done in the classroom, which disconnects learning from real-world environments, homeschooling can be done in any room of your house, or outside of the home, at local events, museums, places of work, farms, churches, historical landmarks, stores, etc.
Resources: The educational resources we have as homeschooling families is limitless. Except for a few primary reading, writing, and arithmetic practice books, try to use real books whenever possible. Start with what you have at home, or at the grandparent’s home. Borrow and lend books with friends. Visit your local library and check out everything you need. Search online for the top books, articles, and video resources on the subjects you are learning. And finally, pay for books and materials that you think are worth having a copy of at home.
Step 7: Establish a Schedule and Plan for the year
Having a weekly homeschool schedule is similar to having a map for a journey. It will help keep you focused on what you need to do each day, and remind you what’s coming next. Not only will the education department ask for your schedule, it’s helpful for you to stay on course when starting out on the journey of homeschooling. Here are some of the things you need to decide in your plan:
- What subjects am I going to teach my children and when?
- Who is going to be doing the teaching?
- What resources are we going to use? (see step #6 above)
- Where is the homeschooling going to take place?
- What will their daily schedule look like? (see step #7 below)
- How will we measure the child’s progress? Testing, vs. Mastery?
- What part will both parents play in our child’s education and training?
Step 8: Get Support and Stay Connected
Find Like Minded families-
- Ask questions, help each other, encouragement, interaction with others. Be careful not to give up your family’s uniqueness by copying what every other family is doing, or simply sending your child to a group study program which mimics school methods and uses school textbooks.
- Visit Homeschool Groups
- See if your Church has other homeschool families.
- Join Online Homeschool Groups
Step 9: Start Homeschooling
It’s important to check with your local government’s regulations on homeschooling and see what is required. It’s not that your government owns your children, but you want to avoid unnecessary problems down the road.
- If you live outside the U.S. then check out the following link for information regarding homeschooling in your country of residence: https://www.hslda.org/hs/international/.
- If you live in the states, check out the laws here: https://www.hslda.org/laws/
Step 10: Persevere With Daily Prayer & Dependence on God.
Your children’s upbringing and education is a great responsibility. When you decide to keep your children at home it’s going to take a great deal of wisdom, strength, patience, and time. You will need to depend on God for every step of the way. Depend on God to help you when it gets tough, and give thanks to Him when your children begin to bear fruit from your hard labor. Pray to God daily for guidance and help. Remember that we are not saved through education. We are saved by the finished work of Christ Jesus, we depend on Him, and now we live our lives for His glory. Be strong, and courageous as you lead your precious children on the journey of homeschooling.
God has given you your children and He’s called you to be the one responsible for their upbringing. Even though homeschooling will be a challenge, God will give you the strength, wisdom, patience and love you need to do an amazing job. You can do it!
“Trust in the Lord in all your ways and He will guide your path.” (Prov. 3:6)