The Discerning Blog


Homeschool... Where to Start?!

Homeschooling comes saddled with questions, fears, expectations, and dreams. You may be wondering (if you're like the rest of us!)

  • Can I really teach my child?

  • I don't even know where to start!

  • Who do I think I am to even consider this? I'm not a teacher!

  • Where Do I start?

  • How do I know what to teach?

  • How do I know if we're doing ok?

  • What if I screw this up?!

Change your Doubt to Success - Plan for Success!

Most of us start by trying to find the right curriculum - but where we need to start is with the WHY! There is nothing you will do with your life that will be more rewarding - or challenging! On the hard days you need to know you're still on the path to success.

Get your free printable Purpose Planner Here!

Purpose Roadmap Plan Worksheet
Download PDF • 377KB

Start with Your Purpose.

1. Why do you want to do this anyway? Everyone has their own reasons and those reasons determine how you set out and what your roadmap will look like. This is the "Why Not just leave them in public school question"

2. What do you want to gain? This is the other side of that coin. It is not about what you will opt out of, but what you hope to gain that really matters. Take some time to really dig deep here. What can you foster if you homeschool? Consider more than academics.

  • What are your family goals?

  • What does your family culture hold dear?

  • What skills or abilities do you value in life, relationships and emotional wellness?

3. What obstacles will you have? This is important. You are making a life altering decision so take some time to consider what hurdles you'll have to overcome to succeed. Consider how you will deal with those obstacles. This is a real world eventuality so make a plan to confront obstacles head on. Be sure that your partner is on board. You need the encouragement and support only your partner can give. If you are a single parent homeschooler do your very best to find a homeschooler who can be a support to you.

Get your free printable Purpose Planner Here!

Time for a Road Map

Every big trip needs a map. Yours will not be the same as anyone else's! You can ask for advice and help everywhere but in the end you have to chart your own course considering your skills and teaching style, your child's abilities and learning style, your own goals and your own obstacles.

Homeschool is all about having your own plan instead of lumping

everyone together on the same plan.

  1. How does your child learn best?

  2. When do they learn best?

  3. When do you function best?

  4. What type of personality do each of you have?

  5. What are your child's personal interests?

  6. What long term goals do I have for my child's education? (high academics, love of learning, create a reader/thinker, foster a love of service, teach a love for faith... ) Please note that you can have more than one goal. For example, love of learning does not preclude academic excellence.

  7. What short term goals do you have? (life skills, filling gaps, character building...)

Do some research! What can school look like? There are many different approaches to education (and most of them do not look like "school"!) You can learn more here.

What does Success Look Like? You have to have some way of measuring your success. When it comes to this consider what success looks like in a week or month. We can all dream about the "perfect" student or the "perfect" successful adult but on a more practical level this is self-defeating. You will never succeed!

If I am growing strawberries and my measure of success is a bowl of strawberries and cream I am going to have a lot of very disappointing days before that one day comes! Success comes in stages!

Consider what success looks like on a smaller scale. A successful week may have disastrous days! (just being real here!) Success may include:

  • finishing most of the lessons required for that week or month

  • spending 15 min connecting with each child daily

  • having your child ask for help before melting down

  • listening to an audio book while you all wash walls

  • making a meal plan together and sometimes sticking to it

Make sure success includes lots of words like "often", "sometimes", "started to", "willingly" The measure of success is not a perfect child or perfect year. It is the accumulation of small successes that create a well rounded child that can manage their time, emotions, and abilities AND a parent who can model learning, growth, and burgeoning self-discipline.

You will fail - we all do - but that does not make you a failure! Build failed attempts into your success model!

What supports or resources will I need to succeed? This isn't a solitary journey. Who is on your team - how can you build a team? If you are deficient in math or writing skills find a friend or family member who can help with that. Do what you can and find or pay for help in areas where you feel inadequate.

Get your free printable Purpose Planner Here!

The Beginnings of a Plan

1. The legalities. Check into your local homeschool groups to find out what is required in your area. Find out:

  • enrolment requirements

  • reporting requirements

  • what subjects are required

  • how you are to keep records

2. Your Budget. Yes homeschool costs money. In most / many areas there is no funding for this (and where there is funding it often comes with many strings attached)

It's time to be reasonable. In the real world, we do not have unlimited funds no matter how important the need. How much can you set aside for homeschooling.

Money Budget vs. Time Budget. Know that you usually pay either with money or time. If your time is limited you will need more money. It is possible to homeschool for free but it means you will have to put more time into lesson planning and preparation. Make sure you allot actual money for the things that are most needed (for example if you cannot teach essay writing or high school math you will need to spend more time on other things so you can allot more money for classes or tutors to help your student - unless you know a good friend that will help for free)

3. Curriculum Options. We are Finally here! Do some research now on different options that fit in with your homeschool philosophy, and budget. Be sure to note costs, and time commitment per week for you and for your student.

Curriculum is Big Business - but remember that money spent does not mean education achieved.

It is vitally important to be conscious that curriculum is Big Business! Every curriculum company wants you to buy more subjects. They have curriculum for spelling, grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, cursive, fiction writing, essay writing, comprehension, critical thinking and more. You do Not need a separate curriculum for each and every area of a discipline to be doing a good job. Every single curriculum takes time; they all want to be considered a complete and value added product. You cannot do it all. Actively choose what areas you want to focus on or choose a curriculum that just covers it all in one.

Congratulations! That was some good hard and emotional work! Next up is the Plan!

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