How do I get started?

Are just about to start homeschooling for the first time? Have you taken the plunge, but you’re a bit lost for ideas on how to start? Here’s some encouragement and ideas to get you started.

To find what you legally have to teach in Texas and how to withdraw your child from public school, please refer to our article “How do I homeschool legally in Texas?” For information about the various styles of homeschooling or choosing a specific curriculum, please refer to our article “What curriculum should I use?”

Scroll down to read this article OR click on the appropriate link in the list below to jump to the section you want to read.

Getting started is half the battle
Don’t panic!
You’re going to do great!
Things to do while you get organized
Where to homeschool

Getting started is half the battle
If you’re like most folks who are considering homeschooling or just getting started, you’re more than a bit scared. The best advice I can give you is to stop, take a few deep breaths, and relax. Breathe.

It’s okay to be apprehensive or even terrified. You’re not alone! Most of us have felt that way off and on. Our family delayed homeschooling because of that fear. Now our only regret is that we didn’t have the courage to start sooner; homeschooling was so much easier and rewarding than we thought it would be, even with a special needs child.

If you’re not nervous, awesome! You’ve got a step up on most of us!

Don’t panic!
Have you pulled your child out of school in the middle of the year due to an emergency, sickness, or bullying? That’s what happened to us. You might be looking your child in the eye, remembering that you have no plan or curriculum, but you know you have to keep going forward. You’re doing this for a good reason, so hold fast to that determination.

If you need to, stop and breathe! It’s going to be just fine. While you’re making your decision about the type of homeschooler you want to be, grazing through stacks of curriculum, just take it one day at a time. Don’t rush out to buy the first curriculum that someone recommends because you’re in panic mode.

You’re going to do great!
Let me assure you that no matter how you homeschool your child, you are going to do a better job than a traditional school. You’re going to be giving your child significantly more attention, you care more about your child’s success, and you know your child better than anyone else possibly can.

You’re also going to be able to do more in less time than teachers in a brick-and-mortar school can. Keep in mind that much of the day in traditional school is spent teaching children to stand in line, sit still in their seat without talking, keeping the classroom under control, explaining everything until the very last child gets it, and so on. Not to mention, the children are asked to learn in the way the teacher wants them to, not considering if it matches their learning style.

You can do a whole lot better than that!

Things to do while you get organized
Here are few ideas of what you can do immediately, for no cost. These are great activities to do while you are getting organized, choosing curriculum, and deciding how, when, and where you’re going to homeschool.

  1. Take trips to the library. Check out the biography section, educational videos, historical fiction, books of experiments, how-to books (catapults, anyone?). Local libraries often have reading incentive programs, movies, and other community events. If you don’t have a computer at home, libraries offer internet access. Some local libraries, such as Groves, stock homeschooling books and curriculum. The possibilities are limitless!
  2. Visit local historical landmarks and find books or videos about them. Here’s a list of field trips around Lubbock suggested by LHN members.
  3. Visit a museum and attend their classes. You can study fossils, make your own book, and other hands-on, interactive classes. Lubbock has the museum at Texas Tech, a windmill museum, Buddy Holly museum, and Silent Wings military museum. There are many other museums in Lubbock and the surrounding area, including a petroleum museum in Midland, fossil museum in Crosbyton, and so on.
  4. Visit the Texas Tech University International Cultural Center and attend some of their field trips and classes. Read a related book to expand the opportunity. For example, take a field trip such as “The Ellis Island Experience” (which we ended up doing yearly for a while, because it was such an amazing event) and read The Orphan of Ellis Island before going for a nice book tie-in. (Okay, I admit this option usually costs $2 per child, but it’s almost free!) There are many other field trip opportunities, including large educational events, such as Ag-in-a-Bag.
  5. Cook. Cooking is just chock full of math problems. (Don’t tell your children that, though!) Measurement conversions, adding and subtracting fractions, etc. Not to mention chemistry and science… Craft your own recipes for an exercise in instruction writing.
  6. Go online and look for children’s crafts or subject activities. Many websites let you print out activities, coloring sheets, and instructions and templates to make puppets, crafts, etc. One of the best ways to find useful material is to search by subject and add “curriculum,” “lesson,” “practice,” or “activity” to your search. For example, search for: “Thanksgiving Day” curriculum, “ancient Greece” lesson, “multiplication tables” practice, or “Blueberries for Sal” activity. Insert the subject, book, or concept that you’re studying. You’re going to be amazed with how much advice and how many websites with curriculum are available free on the web! Use your favorite search engine and surf away.
  7. Go to a park and identify wildlife and plants. Have a picnic. Feed the ducks. Breathe.

Those are just a few ideas. There is so much available to be done at little or no cost. Do these fun and educational activities while you research how and what you want to teach your children. Build memories and a joy of learning!

Where to homeschool
At the kitchen table? In the living room on the couch? In a school room at a desk? At the park? At the library? Each family finds solutions that work for them. What matters is that you school in a place that is comfortable for you and your child.

Next: Where can I learn to homeschool?

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