Homeschool – How To Start
What Homeschool Means To You
Homeschool, roadschool, worldschool, unschool, new school, old school, ok-just checking to see if you’re still with me! Feeling lost already? There are many names for schooling your kids outside of an institution. They all have one thing in common: the ability to educate on your terms. For our family that means giving us the freedom to travel.
Research, Reviews, and Videos, Oh My!
If you are anything like me then you can’t stop thinking about how you plan on educating your kids while…(fill in the blank). I spent about a year racking my brain about how I planned to homeschool and what method I would use to do it. This included internet research, reviews, calling friends, podcasts, reading blogs, YouTube videos, and forums-overwhelming to say the least. But after doing that for a while I learned a lot and got comfortable with the idea of doing it. I put a lot of pressure on myself, especially having a child who was entering high school.
Just Breathe, You Got This
Remember, every family does it their own way and makes it their own journey. Whatever way you choose is the right way for your family. Don’t stress, have fun, enjoy the process. A rhythm starts to happen after a while and you continually build on that, even if you are floundering a little in the beginning.
Homeschool Teaches Real Life
It is truly amazing what your kids learn in the process of daily life, not just the “books.” They have so much interaction with schedules, communications, financial obligations, interactions with the community, store transactions, dealing with service people, neighbors, etc. My kids now can handle bank transactions for me, pump gas, and make customer service calls to representatives if there is a problem with the Xbox. The real-world situations are so educational, they learn exponentially.
Our Experience With Homeschool
As for our primer experience with homeschooling, we are going through a charter school at this time, which is popular in our state of California. You must be a resident of the state to enroll. This has been helpful at getting our feet wet with homeschooling, but we may eventually switch to private homeschooling altogether. There is a certain amount of red tape that comes along with using a charter school and protocols that need to be followed.
A benefit of the Charter is the Facebook group we belong to through the school, which is filled with ideas for curriculum options. I will share ones that are very popular with many parents, but honestly, there are way too many to list and get into. I am still new and have only used some.
Please note with the curriculum listed below, when using Charter schools the course work cannot be religious-based if you are using the state funds to purchase them. Parents still listed them as an option, some are and some aren’t. You can always research them further.
Curriculum List To Get You Started
This list I have provided are some of the curriculums or ideas that either I am using, have researched, or heard about on forums. Many I have never used, but you could research ones that sound interesting to you. Also, a good resource for curriculum reviews is Cathy Duffy Homeschool Curriculum Reviews. She has in-depth extensive reviews full of information.
Language Arts (Some have math available, too):
The Good & The Beautiful-Currently using with my 1st grader. I really like it, it is all laid out nicely, easy to follow, and a nice variety of poetry, art, literature, creative writing, handwriting, etc.
Bookshark for Language Arts (including reading, writing, phonics, & creative writing), and history.
Blossom & Root-Full curriculum
All About Reading for phonics
Lakeshore Daily Journals (math, sight words, reading comp)
Moving Beyond The Page-(Need to supplement with phonics for the earliest 3 levels of their program, cursive around age 8, and math for all levels
Explode the Code
Teaching textbooks-Online Math. Parents say you have to go up a grade higher than your student’s normal grade level.
Math U See-Currently using this with my 1st grader, it’s rigorous, but we like it.
All About Math
Kumon Workbooks were recommended.
Up Above The Rowan Tree-Secular, Charlotte Mason style
Time4Learning-full online curriculum
Khan academy-free online resource
Prodigy-Educational math app
Schmoop-curriculum-Best for middle school/high school age
Rod and Staff-Science, English, Reading
The Story of the Worlds for History
EasyPeasy – Free online curriculum (not accredited)
Spangler Science Kits
Homeschoolsciencetools.com (tadpoles, butterfly gardens, dissecting kits)
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Pandia press
Evan Moor History pocketbooks
History Odyssey, by Pandia Press.
Beautiful Feet Early American History
Evan Moor history pockets.
Little Passports for social studies
Pearson My World
Educational (Subscription) Boxes
Kiwi crate 5-8 with STEM projects,
Green Kid Crafts Eco-friendly discovery boxes, Ages 3-10
Groovy Lab in a Box STEAM activities for ages 8 & up.
DIYhappy kits ages 3-11.
Little Passports a global adventure for your kids.
Early Explorers ages 3-5
World edition ages 6-10
USA edition ages 7-12
Junior Explorers ages 5-11.
Brainy Kit a Montessori subscription box for ages 4-9,
Wonder Crate https://www.wondercratekids.com/
Food and Cooking boxes
Raddish kids a cooking club for kids ages 4 and up, (no food included)
Kidstir fun cooking kit each month includes recipes, tools and additional items. (no food included)
Books and Literature
Ivy Kids for kids ages 3-8. Excellent bang for your buck!
GiftLit a unique book a month subscription ages range from baby to adult.
The Extras In Homeschooling
The other part of the homeschooling equation is the other stuff. This includes reading literature, art, music, history, physical education, language, etc. It can be as simple as journaling what you see in nature, bike rides, reading, etc. From a traveling perspective, it is fairly easy to achieve all of these subjects.
Here is a link to another post I did giving information on the different methods of homeschooling, titled How Homeschooling Works. It might help to give you some background because in the homeschooling world you will hear these terms floating around.
A reference for homeschooling that really resonated with me was an article by Jenn Miller titled Worldschooling in 5 Easy Lessons: A Primer for Petrified Parents. This is such a fantastic article especially when you are private homeschooling (no help from a Charter school) and new to the whole thing. I still love to reference this article. Jenn was even kind enough to answer some personal questions I had about educating my children.
A Little Note On Unschooling
I am enjoying a podcast hosted by Pam Laricchia called Living Joyfully With Unschooling. Even though I don’t fully unschool (that is a whole topic on its own), I love the idea and process around it and incorporate aspects of it into our daily life.
By the way, if you are unfamiliar with the term “unschooling” or this is your first time hearing it, just note, it doesn’t have the negative connotation that the name might carry. I have learned a lot through the episodes I have heard, and it has allowed some grace to me as a parent that I am not destroying my children by schooling them outside a facility.
Please forgive me for not having more personal experience to share. As of today, I have been homeschooling for exactly 1 ½ months. I plan on doing a follow-up post on the road ahead to share whatever insights I gain to help you on your journey.
Thanks for reading.