So you’ve been thinking about this homeschooling thing for a while now. In fact, you’ve probably been doing a lot more than thinking. You’ve prayed, done the reading, had family conversations, and set some goals. You’ve even looked at curriculum. But are you ready? How do you know if you are? This homeschool checklist will help you decide whether you’re ready to take the plunge.
Have you checked your state’s regulations for homeschooling?
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) explains which regulations apply to your state. Some states merely require parents to give notice that they intend to homeschool their children. Others may require homeschoolers to perform annual standardized testing to make sure that children are learning normally. You’ll want to know these requirements ahead of time.
Have you laid out your reasons for homeschooling?
Remember, it’s easier to commit to something when you know why you’re doing it. Consider writing out your reasons and displaying them—if nothing else, that will help you explain to a concerned friend or relative why you’re doing this.
Where will you turn for homeschool support?
Your homeschool support system can help you stay on your feet even on the hardest of days. Whether it’s just a chat with a friend or an expert to address your darkest fears, you’re going to need someone to turn to.
How much time will you devote daily to homeschooling?
Many homeschool families have their children do work between four and five hours a day. That’s both lesson time and homework. But what about you? How many hours do you have to devote to homeschooling your children? If you don’t have much time to devote to it, you may need to choose a curriculum that includes video lesson options or that can be self-taught. Or you can devise a schedule that lets you spread out your work. You could homeschool year-round or choose a six-day homeschool schedule, so you can spend less time each day on homeschooling.
What are your children interested in?
Many new homeschoolers are really excited about getting to tailor their children’s education to their interests. Now’s the time to really figure out what those interests are so you can be ready to do that.
What best describes the curriculum that you believe will work for your family?
Are you homeschooling on a tight budget? Do you have the budget but not the time to teach? Assuming you believe a strong biblical worldview is vital, should you use a curriculum built on that perspective or will a secular publisher do just as well? Do you prefer to do the teaching yourself, or would you rather use video lessons? These are all questions that will help you narrow down your curriculum choices.
How will you keep yourself organized?
It’s a challenge to manage all the stuff. If you have three kids, all in elementary grades, then they each have up to eight subjects. Each subject has two textbooks—usually a textbook and an activity book. That’s forty-eight textbooks—not counting any teacher editions, notebooks, binders, and whatever else they need. And it’s not only a question of space. What about organizing your time? The plan you have now doesn’t have to be permanent, but you need a workable schedule to at least get you started.
Have you laid out some short-term goals for your first few weeks of homeschooling?
Goals are pretty important, especially at the beginning. If you set a few easily reachable goals to start with, you can get off on the right foot and put yourself in a goal-oriented mindset for the future. Your goals don’t even have to be really serious. You could set a goal to finish one lesson a day, or to walk around the house like a duck once a day. That’s silly, but it’s good exercise too.
Use this printable checklist to work through some of the questions above.
Hopefully, you’re feeling confident and ready to get started on your homeschooling journey. Your first few years are going to be wild and crazy (plus moments that you wouldn’t trade for the world). But if at the end of it all, your children have a strong relationship with God and are using the abilities He’s given them for His glory, won’t it be worth it all?