4 Tips for Parents New to Homeschooling

Starting your child in a homeschooling program can seem complicated. In the past, parents and guardians were largely on their own when it came to educating their children. This was both the greatest benefit of homeschooling and the most difficult aspect.

Nowadays, vast resources and online curriculum courses are available to parents who are interested in starting their children in an online homeschooling program. Below are four tips to keep in mind that will help you get started on the right path to finding the correct program and curriculum that meets the needs of your child.

1. Get In Touch

While some homeschooling parents prefer to stay completely independent, most first-timers homeschoolers appreciate having a network of support, whether in-person or online. If you don’t know many people already involved in homeschooling, get in contact with the Homeschool Association in your state. Furthermore, you can search on Facebook to find local, national, and global groups dedicated to helping homeschool parents.

You don’t have to be a vocal member of these communities to gain benefits. At first, it’s best to read the forums and discussion threads to learn the main topics and issues among your peers. Once you’re comfortable with the lingo, you can start asking questions and utilizing available resources, which are often free. In time, you’ll become a valued and experienced member of the community, regardless of how active you are.

2. Check Local Laws

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. It’s a trusted method of instruction in homes across the US and abroad. You have the right to educate your child in the best way you see fit.

Some states offer a great deal of freedom for homeschoolers, requiring no notification or evaluation before beginning. Others require some form of notice, while a handful require certifications and required testing.

The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a map of each state’s regulation status and explains the requirements throughout the nation. While it may be frustrating to comply with these rules, doing so will ensure your child maintains a successful educational path well into the future.

Homeschool Play

3. Learn How Your Child Learns

Everyone learns differently. You may have heard that there are 3 different types of learners: audio, visual, and kinesthetic. Some researchers say there are seven learning styles, while still others insist there are endless different types of learners!

Instead of putting your child into a simple category, spend some time discussing their preferences and evaluating how they best understand learning material. Do they prefer to read and study on their own in silence? Do they like having visual stimuli like videos and interactive media? Do they learn best completely on their own, or are they more suited to studying alongside a sibling or friend?

A child’s learning style evolves over time, and understanding their needs is an ongoing process. Part of the joy of homeschooling is watching your child grow as a student. Do your best and be open to changing your plans as you go along.

4. Start Deschooling

To deschool means, essentially, to unlearn the habits of public schooling. In traditional schools, we’re taught to raise our hands to go to the bathroom, sit quietly for hours on end, take required classes and courses we have no interest in…. It’s quite a world apart compared to homeschool!

If you went to public school as a child, these habits are probably ingrained in your memory. Deschooling is doubly important if your child has been a part of the school system recently. Make it clear to your new student that the expectations of public school don’t entirely apply in the home. You’ll set the standards and pace alongside your child.

With clear expectations, strong goals, and an open mindedness toward education, you and your child can thrive in a homeschool environment.

UPSTART Online Preschool Program

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of UPSTART but my opinions are my own.

A lot of time, detail, and effort go into education as I’m sure all of our teacher-readers can tell you. Am I right, teach? There’s a reason they only have to “work” 10 months out of the year. You guys all know how essential education is at an early development too. Often times preschoolers don’t get the developmental attention they need because (honestly we’re too busy just trying to chase them down to clothe and feed them) not many of us have time to prep new things to do each day.

There’s a new program out called UPSTART, which is an online preschool program to use at home. And. it. is. free. (Those are my favorite words.) It’s designed for the year right before kindergarten to make sure children are ready for school.  This is very nice for me because I currently have a little one prepping for kindergarten.

Okay, I have to pause and show you a little bit of my daughter’s recent work. 🙂

Preschool DrawingShe does love to play outside!

Christmas Tree Craft

Homemade Christmas ornament!

Preschool Tanagram

Tanagrams are so much fun!

Crayola Pastels

Oil pastels are the best!

The UPSTART curriculum is impressive – It uses an award-winning software from Waterford Institute. Within the software you’ll find thousands of educational songs, books, and lessons in the fundamental subjects: reading, science, and math. Wait for it – each child is given unique, individualized lessons on their skill level and learning style. This is so great. Individualized lesson plans are few and far between. Having this at home, for free, at your fingertips is basically unheard of. And all the homeschool families rejoice.

It works too. In 2013, a study showed that kids using UPSTART have 2-3 times higher learning rates than those who didn’t use the program.  This study is done by an outside source too, not in-house.

If you’re interested you can register for the program at http://waterfordupstart.org/. I think this is definitely worth investigating on your own!

Free A to Z Animal Handwriting and Coloring Pages

A-to-Z-Animal-Handwriting-Pages

Download free A to Z animal handwriting and coloring pages.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Relative Sizes of the Planet – Free Printable

Relative-Sizes-of-Planets

Research Planet has a free Relative Sizes of the Planets printable pack.  My daughter has always loved the moon so this was a fun way to expand her knowledge of our world.

Free Printable Homeschool Planner (200+ pages)

free homeschool planner

Joy from FiveJs.com has a free printable Homeschool Planner with over 200 different pages.  I love planners and I’m just starting homeschooling this year so this is perfect for me.  I hope you’ll find it helpful too!

By the way, if you’re a blogger you should check out FiveJs.com’s designs.  She’s the best!

Thanks, Money Saving Mom for the heads up!

Chalk Drawings for Kids – Umbrella

This post contains affiliate links to the best sidewalk chalk there is!

Chalk Drawing Umbrella Design

 

My daughter and I played outside with chalk for hours yesterday and we had so much fun!  {Check out our chalk whale if you missed him.}  She absolutely loves to draw with chalk and if it’s possible I think I enjoy it even more than she does!  I hope this inspires you to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Here’s our favorite sidewalk chalk: Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk.

What’s your favorite family-friendly outdoor activity?

Chalk Drawings for Kids – Whale

One item on my family’s summer bucket list is to play outdoors with sidewalk chalk.  It’s great for motor skills, imagination, and it gets us out of the house.  Check out this cute whale my daughter and I did this afternoon!  It’s in dedication to my daughter’s new favorite song, Willie was a Whale by Justin Roberts {We love all of his music for kids!}.

Chalk Drawings with Kids

I hope this is the first of many chalk drawings this summer so stay connected for other doable ideas!