How to homeschool: Links to help you get started

Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

I was CLUELESS about homeschooling several years ago. It seemed like something “strange” people did with their kids.

My, my–how life has changed.

But even after I decided to give homeschooling a try–it was kind of tough to figure out HOW. I felt as though I was floundering in a dark wilderness without a flashlight.

In case you’re considering homeschooling and need help getting started–I thought I’d put together an overview of links that consolidate information in one place.

This way you can spend an hour or two reading a few articles to get a grasp on the topic. Then you can take it from there.

Understanding homeschooling

* Homeschooling 101: What Is Homeschooling

I wrote this article for Parents.com a year ago, and it gives a quick summary of the history of homeschooling and specifics of how families make homeschooling work.

Deciding if homeschooling is right for you

* Should I homeschool or not? Part One (and here’s part two)

Misha wrote these excellent posts two years ago for those trying to figure out if homeschooling would be a good fit for their family.

Finding resources and curricula

* The Best Homeschooling Resources Online

Another article I wrote for Parents.com, this piece gives a summary of educational philosophies, important legal details, and mentions some of the largest curriculum publishers.

Legal issues

* Home School Legal Defense Association

HSLDA was started by a group of lawyers in the 1980’s. This handy map I’ve linked to allows you to find your state and read about the laws in your area and what is required to legally homeschool there. They have a separate page with international information, too.

Conferences

* I got my first introduction to homeschooling by attending a local conference. As a newbie to the topic, it helped me gather a lot of information in a short amount of time. Some of the biggest conferences coming up this year will be organized by Great Homeschool Conventions.

* Often statewide organizations host an annual conference as well. Homeschool World has a handy site where you can select your state and find the groups most active within them.

Network with others

* Find a Yahoo group for your state/location

Yahoo groups have been one of my best resources for finding like-minded people nearby and for discovering the field trips and activities happening around us.

I like to receive a daily digest of messages by email, which means I can quickly scan the postings from that day to see if there is anything coming up of interest.

A quick read

Last year I released a short ebook called Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom. It’s a starting point on the journey of releasing some of the stereotypes we may hold about education, which helps when considering an alternative path like homeschooling.

The best part is that the ebook is free to subscribers of this blog! Head here to find out how you can get your free copy.

Other helpful series

* 10 Days of Homeschooling 101 – From my friend Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

* Getting Started in Homeschooling – From my friend Jessica of Life as Mom

Find out how to homeschool (in less than 2 hours) – a free printable

It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of the Internet when researching homeschooling (or any issue, for that matter.) One click leads to another and before you realize it hours have passed you by.

For those of you looking to get the info you most need and head on your merry way, I’ve put together a one page printable that takes you through the links I think most valuable, allowing you to learn how to homeschool in under two hours.

Many of the steps only take 15 or 20 minutes–so you can spread them out over a period of days or go through them all at once.

Head here to download it!

Originally published on January 14, 2013

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. This is a helpful post. I’ve looked around some at the homeschool resources, but as my littlest is about to start out in 4k next year, I’m diving in to make the final decision: homeschool or private classical school. Thanks for all the links.
    sarah’s latest post: On Becoming a Morning Person

  2. Helpful links – especially for the article you wrote quickly summarizing the different homeschooling approaches. The different approaches are what quickly bogs me down.
    Steph’s latest post: Rotating Books & Stuffed Animals

  3. These are great. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Stacy @ A Delightful Home’s latest post: How to make a banner to highlight your goals

  4. Thanks, this is perfect to pass on to parents who ask me how to get started homeschooling :)
    Anastasia @ eco-babyz’s latest post: On Sugar and Grain Addiction… [Cure Tooth Decay]

  5. An excellent, thorough-but-not-overwhelming primer of a post, Jamie. Thanks so much for this! A great post to send people when they don’t know where or how to start.
    Tsh Oxenreider’s latest post: The gathering that helps you make friends, right where you are

  6. Thanks so much for all the great feedback! I hope this post takes away just a teeny bit of the overwhelm we so easily feel when tackling something new.

  7. We just started homeschooling, and this is really helpful. Thank you for gathering the information in one place.
    Nicole’s latest post: Home tour: The school room

  8. Stephanie Lynn Stevens says:

    I was homeschooled. I have homeschooled my own kids. My oldest is in 6th grade and yet I was not able to relax and enjoy homeschooling until the past couple of years. I had such anxiety about doing it “right” and the ebb and flow of life (5 babes in 10 years, multiple moves, and a few major crises) kept me frustrated. Melissa Wiley’s Tidal Homeschooling series and the advice of Renee Tougas at her blog FIMBY were lifechanging. I feel like homeschooling is realistic and fun for the first time.
    Stephanie Lynn Stevens’s latest post: Want to Get to Know Me Better?

  9. Thank you for the resources! I’ve been homeschooling for 4 years now, but with every child I add to our “class day” I’m still looking into how others organize their day, choose curriculum, and make it work! Thanks for all the help in one place!

  10. I can’t thank you enough for this post…what a HUGE help! Can’t wait for our first home school convention in Cincinnati this spring!
    Heather Doyle’s latest post: Monday Morning Madness

  11. I just recently realized I’m seriously interested in the homeschooling route for my boys. My oldest is only four, so right now we do preschool lessons, but who knows what the future holds. Thank you for some great resources!
    Olivia’s latest post: I’m breaking up with facebook

  12. May I suggest another link? The Secular Homeschool Community (www.secularhomeschool.com) is a wonderful resource for those of us who are not religious (or not typically/Judeo-Christian religious). Many resources for homeschoolers are overtly religious in orientation (including Great Homeschool Conventions and HSLDA), which is great for those homeschool familes who are Christian but makes them not-so-great resources for those of us who are not. The Secular Homeschool Community helps fill in that gap for those of us who need the support. I’m sharing it here in case any of your readers might benefit. :) xo
    meghann’s latest post: broken

  13. Simple Homeschool has been my biggest helper thus far!!!
    Debbye’s latest post: 3 Things You Can Learn From HuffPost Live’s Sleep Like a Baby Segment

  14. Jamie, long-time homeschooler and reader of this blog :) Finally got around to reading your e-book on Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom and all was excellent and soooo much of my same experience. I was thinking again today about the importance of creating an inspiring environment…after many years, I feel like it is easy for my environment to begin to get “stale”. I study and I pursue my own interests in front of my children. I think I would just like some fresh inspiration myself in this area…is there a post on Simple Homeschool for “creating the inspiring environment”?
    Aimee’s latest post: On Puzzles and Games

  15. Thanks so much for this! We have been considering homeschooling for a while now but had no idea where to start and most internet searches just yielded confusing or really expensive results! I took the survey that was sent out a while back (I subscribe to the Simple Mom RSS) and had suggested just this for this site. So glad it happened and you’ve got another RSS subscriber from it! Thanks again!!

  16. I wish I had read this before I started homeschooling! Great resource list.
    Rachael D’s latest post: Learning in the real world

  17. Love the printable! What a fantastic idea. I am going to share this with my friends and keep it handy for the newbies who come to me with questions. Thank you!

  18. This is such a relative post and a great help to parents who are considering homeschooling. I wish I had seen this when I was making a decision a few years ago. The internet is a blank hole of information – your site is a great resource for newbies and veterans alike. Thanks!
    amy’s latest post: Keys, Dreams & Freedom

  19. **relevant post.. not relative! Oops!
    amy’s latest post: Keys, Dreams & Freedom

  20. Oh! What a great resource! Wish I had seen this in the fall when I spent 2 months researching homeschooling! There’s SO much information on the web and in books that it was overwhelming, and I spent hours reading up on it. We decided to go for it, and started in January, and I found out about this website, and it’s been really helpful as we start this journey!

  21. This is AMAZING! Thank you for all the time and effort put into this page. I am so excited for tonight when my kids go to sleep! I will devour these links.

  22. Although I’ve been homeschooling for five years, I’ve recently changed directions in how we’re going about it. Renee Tougas gives fantastic, practical advice at http://fimby.tougas.net/. Check it out! You could spend hours upon hours perusing all the information she’s written.
    Shelly’s latest post: Here’s Why Public Schools Should Be Grateful for Homeschooling

  23. Bridget Haag says:

    I am looking for a homeschool conference in Kansas or Kansas City area. Does anyone have suggestions.

  24. Such a timely post for me! I’m thinking about homeschooling my 2nd grader next year and vacillate between feelings of confidence and total self-doubt — and I haven’t even started! Right now, I’m trying to decide if I should ease into things with a boxed curriculum (looking at k12 at the moment) or go the whole well-trained mind route.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and after reading it, I always come away thinking, ” I can do this!”

  25. “I felt as though I was floundering in a dark wilderness without a flashlight.”
    I think all of us felt like this when we first approached homeschooling, I know I did!
    This is a terrific resource!!
    Bekki@a better way to homeschool’s latest post: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

  26. Hi Jamie
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. When my twins were born, I started researching which school to send them to, and which education philosophy I was drawn to. Funnily enough, I first read about homeschooling on Wikipedia. I read four of John Holt’s books, and I was converted. Keep up the good work. J

  27. GREAT suggestions! Beginning a homeschooling adventure can be quite overwhelming at first!
    Allison’s latest post: FREE Copywork Printable: 180 School Days of Literary & Inspirational Quotes

  28. Hello,
    My name is Esther Boersma and I am going to try homeschooling for the first time this year in grade 10. I have so many questions- where to begin?

    I want to go through for nursing but do not want homeschooling to affect my chances of that. When I finish high school, how do I apply to colleges and universities and show what I have learned. I was reading a bit about the GED Test- is that what you would recommend? How do I show them the credits I have earned (because i have full expectations of receiving more credits that the minimum)?

    The other question is what can I all count as a credit? I have heard that to obtain credit, you need at least 110 hours of work. I am taking a cooking course and wondering if that can count (it iss for homeschoolers). What about equestrian care and animal care (lessons, riding and grooming and feeding) and piano (does it need to be lessons? I currently don’t take lessons but song write all the time. I would like to take guitar lessons though). If something like guitar lessons counted, would it just be the actual lesson or could time practicing count as well? say over the course of several years I earned 220 hours, could I count it as two credits, or is there a maximum of one per subject like that? I have hundreds of community hours- could that ever count, or even getting together with homeschooling groups? To graduate, I know that you have to have a physical education course- how do homeschoolers obtain that? Can I exercise on a regular basis and keep track of the hours to get a credit that way? Some high schools offer home ec courses. I know Kuntz has books on learning how to quilt, knit, sewing and crotchet. If I did a few of those, cooking, cleaning and other things, could those ever count as a home ec credit?
    Sorry, so many questions! I know I am stretching the limits with a few of them, but hey, I thought I may as well ask. Thank you so much- and I’ll try not to bug you again! God bless,
    Esther

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