Start homeschooling now

Start Homeschooling Now

Start homeschooling now? Are you kidding me? In the middle of a school year, when we have already established all our schedules and routines? Do you think I should upend our lives and start this homeschooling stuff now? Keep reading, if you dare, and I will lay out some reasons to consider starting to homeschool now and how to get into action and make this happen. And don’t forget to grab your copy of our Starting to Homeschool Checklist!

Why should you start homeschooling now?

Why start homeschooling in the middle of a school year? Can’t I just wait until the next school year to begin? Since homeschooling has many benefits, we should evaluate whether we should wait for our children to experience those benefits. While waiting may be an option, I think you will find several compelling reasons to begin homeschooling now instead of waiting.

You feel like your child is falling behind

If you feel that your child is falling behind in the classroom, why wait until he is further behind to address the problem? If the school or the teacher is unwilling to listen to you or address your concerns, don’t continue down the path to failure. Your child deserves the opportunity to learn and succeed. If a classroom setting will not provide that opportunity, then take matters into your own hands and begin homeschooling now.

Your child is being bullied and nothing is being done to correct that

No child ever deserves to be bullied! Continued exposure to bullying can easily damage your child. Bullying will affect his self-worth, self-confidence, and personal relationships, both now and in the future. Bullying will destroy his curiosity and his love of learning. Be proactive. Remove your child from the situation and then begin the process of nurturing and educating him in a loving environment at home.

Your child does not feel safe at school

Does your child feel safe at her school? Or are they spending their days at school in fear? Kids may be afraid of illness or violence. They may be scared of threats against them. They may even be frightened of failing, showing their lack of understanding of a problem, or even just stating their opinion. Your child should never have to live in fear all day just because they went to school!  

Your child is not being academically challenged and feels as though he is wasting his time

Is your child utterly bored with school because he is not challenged academically? If you have discussed the issue with the school and nothing changes, it may be time for you to act and start homeschooling. Many children thrive when they are challenged and exceed our expectations. If his school is not challenging, consider homeschooling and creating the academic challenges your child needs.

Your philosophy, worldviews, morals, belief system are being undermined, mocked, belittled

Do your child’s school and teacher support the values you strive to teach at home? Or do they undermine and belittle your beliefs, worldviews, and moral teachings? You teach your children to be honest, treat everyone around them with kindness, value hard work, and respect the right to differing opinions. Are those the same values taught at school? Or are those values mocked and belittled? Is the school supporting your family values or attempting to undermine those character traits? How will the competing value systems affect your child, his thinking, and his education?

Starting to homeschool checklist

Get your FREE copy of this checklist to get started homeschooling!

Yes, You Can Start Homeschooling in the Middle of the Year

It is not too disruptive

Yes, change is often disruptive. But we can learn to use disruption positively. Disruption allows us to adapt to significant changes. Sure, homeschooling is a BIG change for a child who has been in a traditional school setting. But use that change as an advantage: push the refresh button, start over, head in a new direction, begin a new journey. Address the change positively, and that will help the transition. Instead of talking about leaving school and friends, talk about new beginnings and new ideas. Focus on how this transition will benefit your child; what he can do instead of what he leaves behind. A proper focus and perspective can be a game-changer.

Think of it like moving to any other school

Do kids ever move from one school to another during the school year? Of course! It happens all the time. Moving to homeschool in the middle of the year is very similar. It may even be better! The student already knows the teacher and the other students (siblings). Will there be changes and adjustments? Sure – just like moving to any other school will bring changes and adjustments. Does the child need to like the situation? No, but if you explain your reasons for your decision and show them how homeschooling will benefit them, they can live with your choice for them.

How to Start Homeschooling in the Middle of a School Year

So, you decided you need to make this change to homeschooling. You have seen how this will benefit your child. You’ve talked about homeschooling, researched homeschooling, and decided not to wait any longer before starting on this homeschooling journey. How do you get started?

Get and follow the checklist!

Starting to homeschool checklist

Get your FREE copy of this checklist to get started homeschooling!

Follow the Rules

It is essential to follow all the homeschooling rules for your state whenever you choose to start homeschooling. Since each state sets its legal requirements for homeschooling, the rules differ significantly from state to state. So, find the rules for your state and follow them! Check HSLDA.org and also your state homeschool association.

HSLDA is a good source for summaries of state homeschooling laws: Find Your State Homeschooling Laws

Plan and Organize

You’ve decided to start homeschooling. Now, you need to work out the details of making it happen. Again, be sure to follow your state laws when setting up and organizing your homeschool. Then, consider the following four key areas to organize, plan, and set up your homeschool.

Calendar

Your calendar is an important place to start your homeschool planning. When is your first day of homeschooling? Will you follow the local school calendar or set up your own? What holidays will you take off school? When is your last day of schooling for this school year? Will you set quarter-end dates or just semester-ending dates? Do you have any vacation days scheduled? Some states require a certain number of school days; others require a specified number of hours. How will you structure your school days to satisfy those requirements?

Classes and Materials

Now, you need to determine the subjects or classes your child will be taking and the materials you will use to teach those classes. Will you use textbooks and workbooks? Or will you use digital courses and teachers? What worldviews do you want in the teaching materials you use? Is your child working at grade level, or do you need to backtrack a bit for him to catch up to grade-level work? And how do you even know that? Here are a couple of ideas to consider.

Scope and Sequences

Textbook publishers often provide scope and sequence pages that outline what the material covers, what pace it moves through the materials, and in which order the material is taught. When considering specific textbooks, locate a copy of the scope and sequence, read through it, and see if the material fits your child’s needs.

Placement Tests

Some publishers offer placement tests for their materials. See if you can find a placement test for that publisher online. If not, call and ask if they provide that service. Placement tests can be valuable tools, especially for math courses. They can also help determine if your child has the background knowledge for the course or grade level you are considering.

Don’t forget to order your materials!

Once you decide on the materials you want to use in your homeschool, be sure to order them! There are many sources for ordering your textbooks! My favorite source is Rainbow Resources. They have an extensive catalog that includes everything from textbooks and workbooks to educational games and toys.

My favorite homeschool curriculum and activity resource: Rainbow Resource Center

Recordkeeping

Depending on your state homeschooling laws, the records you are required to keep may vary. But here is a list of common records you should keep for your homeschool.

  •             Classes (Subjects) Taught and Grade Level
  •             Materials Used for each Subject
  •             Days or Hours of attendance
  •             Lesson Plans (some states may require these)         
  • Class/subject grades (quarter or semester or year) – This is more important for high school than grade school, although your state laws may require this for grade school students as well.       
  •      Standardized Testing
  •             Extra Projects
  •             Extracurricular activities
  •             Community Service hours and activities

Routine

Schedules vs. routines

In the world of homeschooling schedules and routines, I have always favored the “routine” approach over a schedule. What’s the difference? A schedule generally has specific times set for different activities. Breakfast is at 7:30; school starts at 8:00. 9:00 is math, 10:00 we study history, and so on. A routine is an order to your day, a structure that you can follow with more flexibility than a schedule.

In homeschooling, flexibility is a good thing! If you are working on a project that takes longer than you expect, it’s okay to keep going because you have flexibility built into your plan. You then move on to the next item in the routine when you complete the previous project.

Following a rigid schedule can lead to discouragement and feelings of failure when you don’t stay on schedule and run your day by the clock. A routine is much more forgiving, providing much greater flexibility.

What’s your routine?

What will your day look like? Remember, every family’s homeschool routine does not look the same! Set up your routine in a way that works best for you and your family. If everyone in your family loves getting up early, then start your routine early! On the other hand, if your family lives in East Coast time, but operates on West Coast time, work with that.

Whether you choose to start your school day at 7:00 am or 10:00 am doesn’t matter, as long as it happens! Do you factor in snack breaks in your routine? Play breaks? Mom’s coffee break? Do what works best for you! Do you need to work around appointments, practices, lessons? Make that all part of your routine.  

Get into Action

Get started! You can begin homeschooling even before all your textbooks arrive. Check out this post for some ideas on how to do that:  (LINK)  Let your first day be one of acclimation and adjustment. Be clear on what you expect from your child/children. Love them and work with them to get settled into this new routine. Play a couple of games. Work a puzzle. Read some books. Become a “together family.” As your textbooks arrive, start using them!

It’s not that hard to start homeschooling, even in the middle of a school year. Decide whether waiting to start makes more sense than starting now. Then, get into action! Check your state laws, make your plans, set up your routine, and get started. You can do this!

Get your copy of the free checklist for Starting to Homeschool.

Starting to homeschool checklist

Get your FREE copy of this checklist to get started homeschooling!

And check out these other posts for more ideas on starting to homeschool!

How to Conquer Your Homeschooling Fears

The Basics – Homeschool 101

Home School Benefits

4 Reasons You Should Not Homeschool

10 Ideas to Start Your Homeschool Strong without Textbooks

Carol Rhine Rhine Home School Services

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