I remember the first time I heard about homeschooling. I was completely surprised! There are kids who don’t go to school each day? Their parents teach them at home? Is that even legal? *mind blown* Very soon I found out that not only was it legal, but it was actually fairly common — and it ended up being exactly what my husband and I wanted to do in our family.
Fast forward 15 years and we are heading into our 9th year of homeschooling, with our oldest moving into 7th grade. Lord willing, we’ll homeschool through high school, too! But I remember in those early days being so unsure of how to go about educating our children.
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There’s a lot to learn about homeschooling and it can sometimes feel like drinking from the information fire hose! Every year now it is my pleasure to walk parents through the steps to get started on their new homeschool journey. You don’t have to do this alone!
Perhaps you’re just starting to think about homeschooling. Maybe you’re in your first year or so and are still figuring out the ropes. Either way, my hope is that this series of posts here at Proverbial Homemaker will help you started homeschooling with confidence!
How to Start Homeschooling in 10 Steps
It’s really easy these days to get overwhelmed with all the things you have to know in order to homeschool successfully. But if you’re looking for a simple checklist, I’ve got your back. Here are 10 steps on how to start homeschooling that will help you navigate those options well and start your first homeschool year strong!
1) Pray for Peace and Guidance
Don’t skip past this point. Really spending time seeking the Lord in our homeschool is something that gets brushed aside WAY too often, and it’s definitely the most important step.
Thank God for the opportunity to teach and train your kids at home. Ask Him for peace and clarity as you venture into this new journey. Pray for guidance in both the big picture and in all the details. Keep coming back to prayer each step of the way!
[Read: The One Thing That Saved Our Homeschool (Plus Tools for Homeschool Prayer)]
2) Determine Homeschool Laws & Requirements
Every state has different homeschool laws. You’ll need to research your state laws and know what is required in order to meet them. HSLDA and your state homeschool organization are the best places to find this information.
[6 Things You Need to Know About Homeschool Requirements and Laws]
3) Deschool! Break Out of the Box and Find Homeschool Freedom
Unless you were homeschooled yourself, you’re likely to fall into the trap of trying to replicate public school at home. It’s ok. You’re not alone. But NOW is the perfect time to break out of that public school box!
Homeschooling comes with so much more freedom and flexibility. Spend some time “deschooling” and building up your own unique homeschool groove.
[Read: What is Deschooling & How does it Work?]
4) Understand Learning Styles & Your Children’s Needs
When you homeschool, you are creating a custom education for your children that they’ll never get in a public school. You become a student of your child, maximizing their strengths, coaching them through their weaknesses, and helping them grow.
Knowing their primary learning style (auditory, visual, or kinesthetic) can really help in crafting their education and choosing curriculum as well!
[Read: Learning Styles in Children (and strategies for teaching each one)]
5) Explore Homeschool Methods (but don’t get stuck in one)
There are several ways to teach your children and methods of homeschool education. Classical, Charlotte Mason, traditional, unit studies, Montessori, and so on. You can think through your own goals and preferences to evaluate which ones best suit you and your family.
Just remember that homeschool methods, like curriculum, are simply tools available to you for educating your children. You don’t need to worry about picking the “right” one and locking into it for life.
[Read: Homeschool Methods & Homeschool Styles: Which One is Right for You?]
Do you tend to make great plans but not follow through? This is for you! The Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System is a course and printable planner that guides you through setting up a system that works best for YOUR unique homeschool and personality.
6) Choose Homeschool Curriculum & Resources
Picking a curriculum is usually the FIRST thing new homeschoolers want to figure out. That’s ok, too. It’s pretty fun to do and spending time browsing will help you become familiar with what resources are available to you.
Eventually, however, you’ll slap down some hard-earned cash for materials. Knowing what your goals, budget, teaching style, learning styles, and worldview considerations are ahead of time can really help you make a good choice.
[Read: How to Choose the Perfect Curriculum]
7) Create a Homeschool Schedule (or not)
If you search online for how to start homeschooling you’re likely to come across beautiful school rooms and color-coded schedules with all the subjects and students neatly laid out. If that’s your jam, you can totally do that! We get to do what works.
But if you’re worried that you’re not organized or self-disciplined enough to homeschool (fist bump) don’t worry one bit. Every homeschool looks different, including how (or even if) we schedule our work! Keep playing with different ideas until you find the approach that helps you thrive.
[Read: Homeschool Schedule Tips + Our Year-Round 4-Day Week Homeschool Routine]
8) Plan Your Homeschool Year (at least a little)
Again, there is a lot of flexibility and variety among families when it comes to homeschool planning. Some folks like to schedule out their entire year. That may depend your personality, state homeschool laws, other responsibilities, and what materials you’re using.
Personally, I like to draft a rough sketch of the coming year, plan some projects and field trips each quarter, and then just write down what we actually DO every month. But at the very least, I recommend doing step #10 below as part of your yearly planning. (Detailed post coming soon.)
[Read: Easy Tips for Planning the Homeschool Year]
9) Define Your Homeschool Goals & Vision
Now, this is something that you would think should be earlier in the process of how to start homeschooling. However, when you’re just starting out, you may not quite KNOW what your goals and vision are. Not to worry.
Prayerfully working through all these steps will help you craft your goals and vision/mission for your homeschool. They will become your North star, guiding you back to sanity and peace when the day (or week) gets rough or you hit major challenges.
[Read: Vision for Your Homeschool – How to Write Your Mission Statement]
[Read: Setting Your Homeschool Goals]
10) Relax, Homeschool Mom!
Yes, it’s new territory and you’re on a learning curve. Yes, you’ll have some detours along the way. But you’ve totally got this.
Homeschooling isn’t EASY (nothing worthwhile is) but it’s really not nearly as complicated as you think it is. You don’t have to get everything “right.” This is a journey and a learning experience for you as much as it is for your kids and it can be GREAT!
One day, just like with parenting, you’ll look back on these first years with the confidence of experience. Take things in baby steps and remember to show yourself and your children heaps of grace!
[Read: Has Homeschooling Overwhelmed You? 7 Ways to Find Relief]
More Tips For Your Homeschool Journey
- Great Ways to Get Dads Involved in Homeschooling
- 25 Ideas for Homeschool Organization in a Small Space
- Our Current Homeschool Curriculum Choices
- How to Homeschool With a Biblical Worldview
- 7 Ways to Incorporate the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method
This Post Has 61 Comments
Myra20 Jul 2020
Prayer is what keeps me going!
Margaret Hadam-Hay20 Jul 2020
Perfect timing with these giveaways, as I’m sitting here working on our calendar and schedule! Very excited to be home schooling full time, and to have everyone on board. As my husband said, “it’s freeing”.
Lisa Teodoro20 Jul 2020
Love Beautiful Feet! Your 10 points of starting homeschooling are spot on. Hopefully we can reach and encourage many others in this journey!
Dawn20 Jul 2020
We are entering our 6th year of homeschooling, with 2 kiddos in school and 2 more coming up soon! This was a whole new world to us, and I’ve probably done more things wrong than right, but I’m thankful for the veterans. Thank you for your sites!
Jan20 Jul 2020
We love homeschooling! It has brought us close together as a family.
Kristi20 Jul 2020
Love all the detail you put into these steps! Really needed this 10 years ago 🙂 Finding the balance of my kids’ learning style with my teaching style/homeschool method was key for us finding curriculum that works for us. Unfortunately that took me a few years to nail down but now we have a good system and just need to keep flexibility as the kids grow and change.
Sandra20 Jul 2020
This sounds so exciting!! I love the picks and excited I follow you!
Amanda E20 Jul 2020
These are great ideas. I’ve been homeschooling for years (my oldest will be In third grade this year) and I still need to go back and revisit some of these suggestions now. Thanks for the reminder!!
Julia Clayton20 Jul 2020
We have been homeschooling for three years and I have to say my biggest challenge still today is finding a yearly schedule that best fits our family. As a former public school educator, I struggle to get out of the mindset of a traditional school calendar. Also, the times we take off, the lack of routine really doesn’t make it all that of an enjoyable time. Even after three years, so many things to work on!
Beth Anne Witmer20 Jul 2020
We are starting to homeschool this year. Our son is 5, technically wouldn’t start kindergarten until next year, but he is ready for kindergarten work. So we are starting gently and slowly. I am soaking up all the information I can about homeschooling and love learning and finding new things.
Charissa Reed20 Jul 2020
My first is in kindergarten and I started him in pre-k. So far it has been rough but I think I know what the problems might be so hopefully things will get better with time
Sandra C20 Jul 2020
Thank you for the information it help to have it sorted out to help make my decision.
Christine20 Jul 2020
This will be our second official year homeschooling, all three kiddos. Thanks for these tips!
Meaghan20 Jul 2020
It is so important making prayer the most important thing, God has made things so much clearer for me when I have sought Him. Currently roadschooling whilst in our caravan on a trip around Australia with hubby and our five kids. We follow a Charlotte Mason inspired approach and love nature study. Thank you for this super helpful post!
Sarah Parke20 Jul 2020
Homeschooling for 10 years now, 3 kids, 10th, 7th & 1st. I love it, keeps me busy, but so much fun watching them learn and grow. Love all the learning and growing I get to do with my kids.
Kelsey20 Jul 2020
Thank you for this! I am just starting my homeschool journey and I’m loving it so far!
Ninive20 Jul 2020
Prayer and this blog post are what is keeping me motivated right now. After weeks of chemo and radiation, I haven’t started planning our homeschool year yet so I think this year will be a minimalist homeschool year. Very helpful post!
Tauna Meyer21 Jul 2020
I’m so glad it is an encouragement to you! Praying for you now!
Sarah20 Jul 2020
Thanks for the encouragement! It is easy to get in rut and forget what the most important things are!
Alexandra David20 Jul 2020
I have 8 kids: 3 graduated already, one is too young for school yet. I lean heavily on the Lord, but love the time we spend together and the unique relationships the kids develop with each other.
Leanne20 Jul 2020
Hi, Tauna!!! I will be beginning my seventh year homeschooling this September! I just graduated my first child in June. We began in the public school system, but two of my children have special needs, so I felt that bringing them home with me would be best since I could provide them with more individualized attention. It has been pure joy homeschooling, and I regret not starting at the preschool age. We will be learning about Ancient Rome in history, mammals in science, percents in math, and we will be using The Good and the a Beautiful for language arts. We will learn about Antarctica in geography along with Sir Ernest Shackleton. We will be trying for the first time from Not Consumed To Every Nation missionary study. I am hoping to get to three unit studies: the U.S. National Parks, Leonardo DaVinci, and Frederick Douglass. We will sprinkle in some poetry, art, and nature study, as well. I find the summers to be an exciting time to order and receive curriculum, and plan for the upcoming school year. With the pandemic, I feel very blessed to be at home with my sweeties. I wish you all the best with the upcoming school year!!! Take care, Leanne
Tauna Meyer21 Jul 2020
You too, Leanne! 🙂 Have a great homeschool year.
Tauna Meyer21 Jul 2020
Heather L21 Jul 2020
Thanks for having information out there in regards to homeschool especially for newbies!
Shelly21 Jul 2020
This is our 4th year homeschooling and I feel I have finally hit my stride. Can’t wait to get our lessons underway!
Zorah F21 Jul 2020
It is indeed important to “pray for peace and guidance” before starting your homeschooling journey. We have fortified our vision for homeschooling through intentional PRAYER. We have been homeschooling for 5 years now and our motivation for homeschooling has always been kept in perspective through PRAYER. Embracing our God-given purpose to homeschool our children and being faithful to His calling in educating and shepherding our children to God’s truth has sustained us through the years.
Julie22 Jul 2020
Thank you for summing up how to start a homeschool that is peaceful. I appreciate being able to share blog posts like this with friends who are considering homeschool. We love the peace & freedom homeschool has brought to our home.
Shelby22 Jul 2020
Thank you for all of your help to help those of us that are new or still trying to find their way in homeschooling! I love your point about prayer. I sometimes get so caught up in trying to figure it all out and forget to pray.
Naomi22 Jul 2020
Thank you for the great tips! I tried to kinda homeschool in January but didn’t plan anything out. Now I’m planning and prepping for this Fall. I’ve got one boy going in to 3rd grade and another starting kindergarten. I’ve chosen to use Gather Round Homeschool.
Jessica Brantner22 Jul 2020
There have been so many great resources here and I have shared this post with several friends considering homeschool this year!
Christina23 Jul 2020
Thank you, this is a great reminder even as a returning homeschooler!
Sidni23 Jul 2020
We are so very grateful that we had decided last year that we would homeschool our daughter for Kindergarten. When the pandemic hit, a lot changed, but at least our schooling plans didn’t. We are going to use Memoria Press, and then supplement with other programs. Still researching!
Malisa23 Jul 2020
Appreciate your quick Homeschooling 101 article. We’ve been homeschooling since my rising 6th grader was a kinder and everything you say here is helpful for those just beginning their journey.
Shannon23 Jul 2020
Hi! We started our homeschool journey unofficially 2 years ago with pre-k and officially last year with kindergarten. We’re taking it a year at a time and while it’s rough occasionally, we are loving it!
Karla23 Jul 2020
I recently found your blog and great timing! It’s always exciting to hope for a win =) I have a six and four year old and we’ve been homeschooling since birth, haha! Many around me homeschool and I was inspired to do the same. I love being with my girls and watching them grow and watching them watch me grow, gosh! We’re just going with the flow at this point. My six year old is starting to read and the four year old is right behind her. There have been so many books, podcasts, blogs, and friends that have helped me to continue the journey in prayer and perseverance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Donna H24 Jul 2020
Learning as we go! So thankful to be on this homeschool journey!
Beth Turner24 Jul 2020
I love following you on FB. Having Christ at the center of my homeschool is a priority. We’ve been homeschooling for about 7 years! I never thought I’d do something so crazy but I’ve truly been loving it!
Jeniffer24 Jul 2020
We are starting our 11th year homeschooling!
crystal24 Jul 2020
It’s going to be interesting this year. I also think it’s going to be fun and adventurous. We have a lot of subjects on the list to learn about that maybe their grade or school doesn’t offer.
Zenia McWhirter24 Jul 2020
This is a great blog post. Some great tips. I need to sit down and write out my vision for our homeschool and our goals. Thank you for the reminder and the amazing tips!
Mel A24 Jul 2020
Great tips! Thank you!
Sarah H25 Jul 2020
This is my first year homeschooling with my husband’s full approval and support. He’s always allowed me to do it, but it was always “my thing”. God has been working in his heart and I am so excited to start this journey with his support!
Melissa Moore26 Jul 2020
We’re still at the beginning of our homeschool journey, as we are still working on kindergarten, and we are still working to find the best rhythm to our days.
Emily26 Jul 2020
Love this! We’re in our second year of homeschooling 🙂
Mary26 Jul 2020
I’m still in the beginning of homeschooling. We are loving it so far.
Emily Welch27 Jul 2020
This looks great! We’re starting year five of homeschooling and are adding our third boy this year who is starting kindergarten. We’re so thankful that our homeschooling journey is helping normalize our lives right now since our schooling is not a source of stress for our family like so many other families are experiencing.
Hannah27 Jul 2020
I’m really intrigued by SkillTrek. Manual skills are something both my husband and I agree that our children need. Neither of us are handy and we pay for it when it comes to the house and car!!! My school aged children are 11 and 12 now, but when they were 8 and 7 I still hadn’t taught them to do any chores. I suddenly woke up and realized that by the time I was that age, I was doing plenty of clean up, plus even bathing, dressing, feeding, watching younger siblings. Since the Lord hadn’t given us more children after the first two, there was nothing to force me to delegate tasks to them. So I started late teaching them household chores. They still aren’t very thorough, but we’ll get there someday. Now that the Lord has blessed us with two more little ones, who are only 2 and newborn, I’m looking forward to starting earlier with them when it comes to skills. I can teach household chores and cooking myself, so I’m hopeful that if we subscribe to SkillTrek, we can pick and choose what they learn there, focusing on the skills I can’t teach.
I love the academic aspect of homeschooling and we could happily spend our whole day reading and narrating/discussing, without ever truly being productive and working with our hands. So I have to make a conscious effort to include those activities. This summer I’ve been forcing myself not to even think about putting books in front of their faces, but I’ve been focusing on teaching them to cook instead. They’re very interested because I let each one pick what he wants to learn how to cook. It’s been awesome because what I hate about cooking for the family is 1) planning the menu and 2) dreading the fact that pretty much whatever I make (unless we have pizza or spaghetti all the time) at least one person will not be happy. This way, for two meals a week, I don’t have to choose what to cook, and I know they are making what they like.
Nena28 Jul 2020
I have learned alot about homeschooling from your site Tauna! thanks
Andrea Wilson28 Jul 2020
Thanks for this great list of advice. We have been homeschooling for 3 years…..and it really is a team effort!
Megan Whitcher28 Jul 2020
Thank you for the effort you’ve put in to this blog. It has been a source of reassurance for me as a newer homeschool mom. Our first year was full of ups and downs, but we’re excited to try some new things and just have fun this coming school year.
Samantha Kessler30 Jul 2020
First year homeschooling here and I find myself stressing about the scheduling part. I need step 10! It’s something that doesn’t come easy to me but it’s needed.
Phyllis31 Jul 2020
Love these start a new school year post. Been homeschooling for 4 years with only child at home. Thanks for all your encouragement.
Kristi1 Aug 2020
Great advice! We are entering year 8 of homeschooling and I still remember my first year and wondering what I was getting myself into!
Tami2 Aug 2020
We have been homeschooling our youngest child from the start. He is entering 2nd grade and we are still figuring things out. This year we are doing Montessori math, Orton Gillingham language arts, and mostly Charlotte Mason everything else.
Cheri H3 Aug 2020
I am just entering the time of homeschool life where I am homeschooling 2 kids now. To some of you this doesn’t seem like a big deal but with my personality type it is. Next year I will have a third child added to our homeschool. It seems overwhelming at times but beautiful at other times as I remember this great gift that God has given our family! Not all families are able to homeschool therefore I dont take this gift lightly. I am so grateful for these kinds of posts that encourage us homeschooling moms (and dads) and equip us with tools that we may need on our journey! Thank you!
Amy3 Aug 2020
We are beginning our third “official” year of homeschooling, and are having so much fun with it. This year I’ll have a 2nd grader, a kindergartener, a 2 year old and a newborn. It might be our most chaotic year yet, but we are excited.
Lora M Ellis4 Aug 2020
Honestly, sort of feels like a mess. I have 9th, 8th, 6th, 3rd, 3rd, and 1st this year. We homeschooled through numerous moves, births, two adoptions, yet this homeschooling through a pandemic (while my husband is also getting his master’s degree) is THE WORST!
lboaz7 Aug 2020
This is such a great post for new AND returning homeschoolers. <3
Carrie8 Aug 2020
This is our first year homeschooling after several years of preparing and praying. I finally feel confident to teach my unique children in the ways that best meet their needs! Thank you for the tips!
Judith Martinez9 Aug 2020
My oldest started kindergarten at home in 1997 and I often still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing but I keep plugging along. I wish I’d done a better job with my older kids but I still don’t regret choosing to educate them at home. I have four children left at home ages 17 down to 8.
Salma Khan12 Apr 2022
I love that you make it non-stressful by breaking it up into really small blocks! Our little girl is approaching preschool age and really seems to love to learn so these ideas are great. Also we have some water wow books that we LOVE but I have never seen those alphabet cards you posted! Will definitely be getting some of those!