S6E131: 7 Steps To Begin Homeschooling (Or Unschooling)


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7 Steps To Begin Homeschooling

Thinking about homeschooling? Or are you ready for a homeschool refresh? Here are 7 steps to help you begin homeschooling.

1. Get clear on your WHY.

What are your deeper reasons for homeschooling? How is this connected to your family's core values and purpose? When we are clear on our reasons to homeschool and opt out of the main system, the decisions we make in the future will be in integrity with our family and our children. (Check out my episode: https://imhomeschooling.com/getting-started-101-values-and-guiding-purpose/ For example, if our reason to homeschool is because our child is struggling at school because of an unsafe environment, (possibly because of a bullying issue), then our main "why" is safety. But going deeper, bringing our child back into an environment built on love, trust and building connection is our true focus. With a focus on love, trust and re-connection our choices in our homeschooling environment should first be all the ways we can build that.

2. Take the time to become a student yourself.

Learn more about homeschooling styles, how the brain works, parenting, childhood and learning. Take in podcasts, books, webinars, chat with other homeschoolers and learn other points of view. Better yet, take this time to get to know your child better. What do they love? What are they curious about? The most important part about taking this time to learn is that you will begin to model life learning to your children. (My interview with Dr. Peter Gray is a wonderful place to begin)

3. Learn Your Local Regulations.

Homeschooling is not legal in every country. Check out your local education regulations and requirements. This website lists international homeschool laws: https://hslda.org/legal/international. I also recommend you check out local homeschool advocacy groups.

4. Visualize your ideal homeschool.

Have your children visualize and map out their ideal homeschool year. Does their vision match yours? What about your partner's vision? Does your vision look like hours bent over workbooks and the rest of your family's look like adventure, play and creative pursuits? Use whatever works for you to lay out your vision; A poster, video reel, journal. What would it take to start building toward this vision?

This is also a good time to learn about and begin DESCHOOLING. (I explain Deschooling more in this episode but I also recommend checking this episode on DESCHOOLING) Briefly, Deschooling is a process of letting go of the singular beliefs we have attached with learning and kids. Beliefs that learning has to be done in a certain way, within certain times, within a certain kind of environment. Deschooling means possibilities. It’s a time to deconstruct the expectations, concerns, worries, beliefs around school, learning, and education. This takes time. Here are a few reflection questions that I recommend you use to begin:

  • What is the difference between school, education and learning?
  • How do I define success? Where does that definition come from?
  • What did school look like for me? Was I successful? Did I feel like I failed? Where and why?
  • How did they make me feel?
  • If I could change those failures or successes, what would that look like?

5. Supplies? Curriculum?

Before we rush into purchasing anything, I suggest you begin the first 4 steps. Take the time to play, explore and find out more about your children and your homeschool dreams. When you are recognizing interests, curiosity and values, matching supplies and deciding on which (or if any) curriculum becomes easier and longer lasting. This is because it becomes a choice aligned with YOUR family, not someone else's expectations or decisions.

You may see that your child that needs many hours of movement or outside time in a day will not benefit from a curriculum that requires 3 hours of sit down bookwork. You may find that when your child is given space to read on their own terms, with stories that appeal to them, their love of reading may actually spark. And you might also find that creating an environment that feels safe and sparks joy is where you want to focus your time. I share a few of our Natural Learning Resources in this episode.

6. Connect With Others

Begin to reach out to others that are farther along on this homeschooling path. Learn from others. Hear their stories. Ask questions.

Also, learn more about yourself. Homeschooling is often described as holding up a mirror to ourselves. To what we love and do not love. That can be confronting and it can be overwhelming if we are at home with each other all of the time. Make space for you. Even if that begins as 10 minutes each day. Trust me, much of the teaching we do is actually through how we model and live through our everyday. Our actions and re-actions become very important to our homeschool life.

7. Repeat

Rinse and Repeat. This is not a checklist that you move through each item and then take off the list. All of the steps (with the exception of possibly 3) serve not only as a start to our homeschooling or unschooling process, but as a refreshment if we ever feel weary.

More Support & Community

If you are looking for more support in your homeschool journey- I've got it for you! Check out my Patreon Community where I offer monthly Live Q&A on all your homeschool, unschool and self directed learning questions. For the summer of 2022- this live support is open to ALL Patron levels. You also have access to my downloads, special videos, insights and interviews with my family! https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekids

Honey! I’m Homeschooling Club on Clubhouse App offer free weekly discussion groups and support.

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