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Are you starting to think about homeschooling? If so, good for you! Millions of Americans are already homeschooling their kids. Homeschooling is a way of life. When you are looking at how to start homeschooling, there are so many facts to consider. Like any good parent, most people do research before they just jump into something. Instead of making you search the whole Internet for the low down on homeschooling, I decided to put together a good resource for you right here.
How to Start Homeschooling – 8 Thing You Need to Know
Best Resources for Beginners
Homeschool.com – It makes sense that one of the best websites out there is called Homeschool.com for homeschooling. Check it out, lots of cool resources for homeschool families.
Special needs homeschooling – If you are homeschooling because your child has special needs, you will find that this resource is a good one.
The Homeschool Mom – You better believe that a homeschooling mom is one of the best resources for homeschooling beginners. She has everything you need to get started.
Easy Peasy All in One Curriculum – When you’re ready to dive into homeschooling and just need a free curriculum, check this out. Completely free!
Homeschool Share – A great resource for homeschooling families. Everything from resources to unit studies to a blog!
Starfall.com – Trying to get your kid interested in learning? Starfall.com has been the saving grace of many homeschooling families over the years.
Homeschooling Creations – This is an amazing website! Tons of resources and printables for homeschool families.
New or Old Curriculum: What to buy?
If you have decided to go the curriculum route, you may be wondering where to start. First of all, this is a huge part of homeschooling. You are about to choose a curriculum that your family will use for the whole year. There are perks to buying a brand new curriculum and perks to buying a used curriculum. Here are a few sites to help you decide if you’d like to buy a used curriculum.
Academic Superstore – This website allows you to shop by brand and category.
Second Harvest Curriculum – Yes, they make buying second-hand curriculum super easy.
I also shared my My Top Places to Buy Used Homeschool Curriculum
Amazon or eBay are also great platforms for buying your homeschool curriculum used. A lot of homeschool families like to pick and choose from various curriculum creators. This allows them to build up a homeschool curriculum that works for them.
Facebook garage sale groups are where you are going to find your best deals on used homeschool curriculum. Scope out the groups to help you find an awesome deal.
Most Popular Homeschool Curriculums
If you’re going to buy new, you may be wondering what the most popular homeschool curriculums are. Here we go!
Alpha Omega – A Christian homeschooling option. They have several different curriculums our oldest is currently using their Monarch is all online. We have used their Horizons as well which is parents let with workbooks and my kids enjoyed that too.
My Father's World – This curriculum covers mostly history, geography, social studies, and science and helps you fill in the other subjects from there.
Abeka – A rigorous, but thorough Christian homeschool curriculum option. I will say I love this curriculum my kids learned a lot but it's very intensive almost like you are still back in the classroom. Lots of work for Mom and Dad too.
Saxon – If you’re looking for a strong homeschooling option for math, Saxon is very popular.
K12.com – A secular homeschool option that correlates with the public school system.
Connections Academy – A public school option that allows you to teach your child right at home.
Sonlight– Another popular and very thorough homeschool curriculum based on Christian values.
Creating Your Own Curriculum
Not all box curriculum is going to completely work for your kids. Sometimes you have to mix and match. Don't be afraid to use one company for math that something else for reading and yet another for history!
Also, one kid might to well with one math curriculum but another kid needs one from a different company! That's ok too!
No matter how much we love we are always mixing and match something! With 5 kids we have been through so many here are a few of our favorites.
Math U See – my son loves the hand in accept on math and actually being able to see the math helps him.
Life of Fred – My older two have taken to this math is story form very well. We use it with their online math.
Explode the Code – My kindergartener was struggling to master putting letter sounds together to start reading and this one gave her that push and she lives it.
ABC Mouse – With curriculum up to second grade my younger ones use them as a game but still Kees them learning.
The story of the World – History in story form and my older 2 love it.
The Breakdown on Unit Studies
You may be wondering what a unit study is and how you can apply this to your homeschool. A unit study is when you decide to study one major topic for an extended period of time. A basic example of a unit study may be on dolphins. For example, you may study anything and everything “dolphins.” Here are some resources to help you create or use a unit study during your homeschool.
I shared a post on What is a Unit Study? Plus a Few Ideas, because I was constant, asked what a unit study was when I mentioned we were doing them.
Here is an excellent resource with “The Big List of Homeschool Unit Study Curriculum.” You will find tons of good information here about unit studies.
If you’d like to plan your own homeschool unit study, I found this “5 Simple Steps to Plan a Unit Study” resource. Check it out.
Check out all the free unit studies on the Internet. If you are wanting to teach your kids a particular unit study, you can probably find it for free on the Internet. Here is a good example of 50 free unit studies.
We too have put together several unit studies:
Thank You Thanksgiving Lesson Plan(This is a mini-unit lesson)
The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners Lesson Plan (This is a mini-unit lesson)
Finding a Homeschool Co-op
As you decide to homeschool, you may also decide your family wants to join a homeschool co-op. Some homeschool co-ops are something you pay for. You drop off your child and their classes are provided for them. Another type of homeschool is one where it’s strictly volunteer-based. Everyone volunteers to help the co-op run smoother.
These resources from HSLDA can help you find a local homeschool group near you.
When you want to start a homeschool co-op, AOP has a great breakdown of how to start a homeschool co-op.
CO-ops are not for everyone. We choose not to do them as our schedule isn't very routine.
Related: England Homeschool Activity
Protecting Yourself as a Homeschooling Family
HSLDA is one of the top ways you can protect yourself as a homeschooling family. They have all the law breakdowns. They have actually been advocating for homeschooling families since 1983. Not only do they encourage you to homeschool, but you can also join. Members can get unique services like legal protection, homeschool consultants, advice, and even discounts.
Not everyone agrees with homeschooling and when you do it there could be run-ins. This is the best $100 a year I spend knowing we have legal protection if needed!
Related: Washington DC Homeschool Activity
A Few Other Tips on How to Start Homeschooling
Save Gift Cards – I earn free gift cards rough out the year and save them to buy curriculum with.
Use Teacher Discounts – You are a teacher so make sure you are using that discount!
Take Advantage of the Free Printables – There are so many free printables on every subject! Just search for Pinterest! We also share our free printables in our blog shop.
Top Tricks and Tips to Homeschooling Your Preschooler – Homeschooling doesn't just start with Kindergarten.
16 Kids Educational Movies for Your Homeschool Movie Day – Homeschooling isn't always perfect some days I just can't so we take a movie day.
How to Homeschool When You are Sick – Parents get sick too and sometimes it can throw a wrench in your plans!!
10 Local Field Trips for Your Homeschool – We love field trip days and they don't have to be huge events!
What I Have Learned Homeschooling My Kids – Even Mom and Dad are learning while homeschooling!!