How To Start Homeschooling Right Now
If you’ve landed here I assume that you want to learn how start to homeschooling! Well, the good news is that setting your child up for homeschooling can be done relatively quickly. Children are natural learners and you’ll be surprised what your children can learn without you even teaching them. However, initial enthusiasm can get you by for probably a few days, maybe even a month but you will need to add some structure and tick a few legal boxes to get ready to homeschool.
All four of my children were homeschooled and have now gone to university and are working. Some of the information you’ll read here took me 20 years of homeschooling to discover.
Don’t expect to absorb all this information on how to homeschool in one sitting. Why not bookmark this page for your future reference?
Tips To Get You Homeschooling
I’ve spoken to so many people who unexpectedly found themselves needing to know how to start homeschooling, so I’ve condensed my message into what I think are the essentials.
Decide Why You Want to Home School
Determine your motives for homeschooling. This will impact so many of your choices.
Investigate homeschool methods. This will affect your curriculum options and save money in the long run.
Find Out About State Requirements
Homeschooling is legal all over Australia but different requirements when it comes to homeschooling. Check out the links below to learn more about each state’s requirements.
Find a Curriculum
One of the hurdles all new homeschooling parents have, whether it’s short, or long term homeschooling, is knowing what is appropriate for their child. So, make a simple start. You will learn as you go.
Follow a basic guide at first for your homeschooling curriculum. As you get a feel for homeschooling, you will become more comfortable with what you are doing and you can make changes along the way.
Get to know how you like to teach and how your child learns. This will help you choose a curriculum in the future.
Don’t rush off and buy everything recommended. Get free trials or samples when possible. Resist the temptation to purchase your curriculum from the newsagent or book store. There are many homeschooling resources that will suit your needs better.
The Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabus will give you some guidance if you plan to DIY your curriculum. However, most newbies find these documents overwhelming and prefer to buy a pre done curriculum. The three most popular homeschool curriculum providers in Australia are:
- My Homeschool
- Simply Homeschool
These providers have free trials and also help you prepare your registration documents.
How To Get Lessons Happening
In homeschooling you quickly learn that subjects can easily be merged together to make lessons more efficient and less time consuming. An English lesson can also be a science, history or geography lessons. It can even be an art lesson. And so that is why we encourage the reading of books on a wide range of subjects. Inspire your child to read fiction and non-fiction. We have tonnes of booklists on different topics that may interest your child.
You don’t necessarily need textbooks.
In primary school, math and English are the two subjects that take up most of the curriculum. So these are the two areas that you need to focus on. Thankfully these subjects are quite easy to teach, and you don’t need a lot of resources to do it.
In high school most of the time is spent on maths, English and science and then the other subjects.
For more ideas on teaching these core subjects look here:
How To Do Homeschool Tests and Assessments
Now I know if you’ve just come out of school you are probably addicted to worksheets and guided lessons (I know that’s an assumption and excuse the generalisation if that isn’t you) but the exciting news is – you don’t actually need worksheets to prove your child learnt something! Some of you don’t believe me – I know!
If you are looking for some friendly homeschool exams Charlotte Mason had some great ideas.
There are many other proofs you can have when you homeschool and because you are not mass teaching you can do a few other things that are much more enjoyable for the child and you get to assess on the spot if what you hoped they are learning is actually sinking in.
Set Up A Homeschool Schedule
Homeschooling takes a considerable commitment for it to work, especially in the early days. Work out how much time you can devote to homeschooling. Be prepared to make some sacrifices.
Even if you are only homeschooling for a couple of weeks or months, it is still a good idea to set up some sort of homeschool schedule. Having lessons in the morning and leaving afternoons free is a good homeschool habit to begin if you can.
If you have just brought your children home from school, then suddenly having them home certainly throws a spanner in your regular routine. Consequently, you probably don’t have the time to allocate a big chunk of your day to the task of homeschooling. It doesn’t seem feasible that you could provide supervised teaching for the whole time that a school does. You might be working from home, or you might be sending your kids off to grandma’s, or you may just be caught up in the reason you find yourself emergency homeschooling. But the issue is, your kids still need to be educated! And if they will be home for an extended time, it is wise to set up some strategies.
The good news is the academic part of homeschooling can be done in a short period of time (which makes a lot of parents wonder what happens at school). You’ll be pleased to know that you probably only need to allocate 2 hours a day to homeschooling, maybe even less for your kindergarten and first graders. Your kids can focus on school for a while, and then do some natural learning.
How To Start Homeschooling With Natural Learning
Homeschooling uses natural learning. This teaching method allows your children to discover and learn according to their own natural interests. Of course, this is within reason (they might decide they want to go to the moon next week). Free time can be used to pursue hobbies, read books, go outside and explore, try out new bike tricks, or teach the dog a new trick.
For my children natural learning included: cooking up a storm/yummy mess, teaching themselves art, making their own website and blogs, hair styling techniques, (which has now become a business), nail art painting projects, making a Lego movie, sewing, learning the guitar, and photography. You’ll find they can get quite passionate about these projects.
Natural learning is not to be confused with unschooling, that’s a different philosophy.
Conversation learning is BIG in homeschooling. And it is often the way we help our children understand many things. Getting in the habit of explaining ideas and encouraging them to ask questions are all on the spot lessons that don’t take preparation. And you’ll be surprised how much your child retains if they actually want to know the answer.
Find Other Homeschool Families
Making connections with other homeschool families is a win win.
Don’t worry about socialisation. Network with other homeschoolers. Get to know real life homeschoolers. Go to homeschooling events. Try inviting another homeschool family over you might connect with and find out what they do.
Homeschool groups are in most regions around Australia. Just ask around or look for a Facebook group. One word of caution – watch out for rubbish homeschool advice – it’s around.