How To Survive Your First Year Of Homeschooling

One of the best ways to assure your first year of homeschooling is successful is to be well prepared in many areas. These tips will help.

Whether you have planned a more structured or less structured homeschool environment, there will be certain things that will require some planning. Here are some of the major items that will need to have some time and effort extended to guarantee their success. Remember that successfully getting through the first year of home teaching will be reached by initially getting through the first day, week, and month.

By the time you are actually to the point of beginning to teach and set up your homeschool, be sure that you have checked the homeschooling laws in your state. Each state has its own requirements and your job will be much easier if you know what is required from the beginning. Some states mandate that a daily log be kept of classes and topics. The number of school days required also varies, but often is 180 days. Some states will be counting by hours instead of actual days. Find out if you will need to request permission to homeschool from your school district, and if you will need to keep a portfolio of the student's work. If a portfolio is required, does it need to be handed in to the school district for the superintendent to inspect at the end of the school term? Does your state require a visit to an evaluator at the end of the school year?

The first thing to do when you have the legalities researched is to be prepared. Familiarize yourself with the curriculum you have chosen and be sure to be aware of extra materials you will need for the course. Find out how many pages will need to be done each day or week to get to the end of the course in the number of days you are required to have a school session. Your very first decision will be whether you will be choosing the curriculum piece by piece from the publishers of your choice, or joining an umbrella school, Christian or secular, or a charter school.



While you are finding out how many pages need to be covered each day, it is a good time to decide which days the non-daily subjects will be covered each day, including things like art, music, physical education, etc. Get an idea about materials you will need to teach a day or weeks' worth of lessons. It is quite stressful to wait until morning to check on what you might need for teaching the day's lessons.

Set aside a time to do the daily lesson plans. Doing a week at a time seems to work best for most home teachers, but you may want to expand that and do more at one sitting. A lesson plan book works well for this. Sit down with the entire curriculum you will be using and make note of what will be done each day.

Anything that you can think of to make the school day go more smoothly should be discussed and implemented. Which daily chores can be assigned to which child? Which child will help prepare breakfast and lunch on certain days? Are there any lessons that older children will be able to help the younger ones accomplish? This, of course, is for families with more than one child, but most of these tips can be easily adapted for a one-student household as well.

One of the most important non-education related things that you will be doing is figuring out how to make things like chores go as flawlessly as possible. Ask the children for ideas on how to accomplish this. They will be glad to help come up with ideas, plus it gives them responsibility and "ownership" of the plan. They will try harder to make it work if they have a stake in the outcome.

Another thing to consider ahead of time to avoid stress later is to think about what kinds of questions and comments people will be making. Most parents who decide to teach the children at home realize it is a good idea to share the plan with neighbors and family members ahead of time. This does not guarantee people will understand or support your decision, but it will at least help to avoid a neighbor reporting your children as truant from school.

One thing that may very well help first year survival is to join a homeschooling group or form one if a local group does not yet exist. This kind of support from other parents doing the same thing as you are doing will be important to you in various ways. Most likely some of them are veterans with the home teaching and will be able to give you tips as well as offer support as you begin this journey. A group is also a good idea for the children to be able to attend activities, meet other home taught children, and often help to plan and manage meetings and activities.

There is one thing that often gets lost in the shuffle of beginning to homeschool. No matter how hectic the days will be getting, or how many chores are waiting in addition to the teaching, it is very important to set aside some private time for yourself. This could be something as simple as an uninterrupted bubble bath each night, or perhaps a Saturday night "date" with your spouse. Whether your private time is spent actually getting out of the house, or is simply an hour set aside for reading or phone calls to friends, you will find that it will be a very important part of surviving your first year of homeschooling.

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