Have you decided to start homeschooling? Here’s what you need to know as you get started homeschooling your children.
There are a lot of moms out there who are just beginning their homeschooling journey and have tons of questions. Some have yet to start and are in the planning and pondering stages. Quite a few have already gotten started, but feel like they don’t really know what they are doing. And there are still more who have been doing it for a while and still feel completely lost.
While there are plenty of things I wish someone had told me about homeschooling, I also realize many moms just need to know they are going to a good job. The specifics will sort themselves out.
This homeschooling thing is a daunting task.
That said, there are a few things you should consider in the early days of your homeschooling efforts – perhaps even before you get started.
Table of contents
#1 – Why are you choosing to homeschool?
When you finally make the definitive decision to homeschool, you probably don’t feel very definitive. But ultimately, you need to know why you are homeschooling and move forward with confidence.
You will get questions from others – relatives, friends, people at church, random strangers. You will even get questions from yourself. Homeschooling isn’t all sunshine and roses, so you need to be firmly planted when the storms of questioning and doubt hit.
But, I’m going to tell you straight up – the answer to why you homeschool will probably change over time. It did for me. That’s ok. Just keep moving forward.
#2 – What are the laws in your state?
This is one of those things I really don’t like to talk about because it drains the joy out of nearly every homeschool mom. However, you really need to know the laws in your particular state because every state has different laws regarding homeschooling and you do not want to be caught violating those laws if you can help it.
Most home schools are considered private non-accredited schools. HSLDA has state-by-state information regarding homeschooling so you can be certain you are fulfilling the requirements of your state.
My word of caution here is to not let your state laws stress you out. Many homeschoolers believe their state laws to be more stringent and confining than they actually are.
I live in a very lenient state that does not require much in the way of reporting; however, many homeschoolers I run into here believe our state requires testing and other things it actually does not require.
HSLDA can help you make sense of your laws and keep your homeschooling experience from being a nightmare.
#3 – Where will your support come from?
Homeschooling is not easy. It is important you prepare now for the support you will need later.
Support can come in many different forms: your husband, your mom, your church, a local support group, blogs, online communities. And never, ever forget, the best support for you is the Word of God. When everyone else seems against you, God’s Word stands firm and builds you up in running the race and striving toward the goal ahead. Don’t walk into homeschooling unequipped. (Two books of the Bible that speak to the homeschooling mom are Psalms & Proverbs – read them often!)
#4 – What are your daily goals?
It is important to know where you are going every day with your homeschooling efforts. Know what subjects you want to teach, know what your teaching style is, know what you would like your days to look like, and know what you want to accomplish. Also, know life happens and you will always need to be reevaluating your daily goals.
READ > Homeschooling and the Three Year Learning Curve
#5 – What is your end goal?
Daily goals are great, but they become meaningless if you aren’t looking toward an end goal.
What are you hoping to have accomplished by the time your children are finished with their homeschooling years?
Where do you hope they will be in their relationship with Christ?
Are you looking toward college, trade school, something else?
READ > Preparing Your Homeschooled Child for College (even if they don’t go)
Are you preparing now for where you want to be at the end?
Run toward the prize – it will help you stay focused.
#6 – What is your budget?
Have you counted the cost of homeschooling? This isn’t just about your financial budget, but also concerning your time and energy, your relationships with others, as well as those within your family.
Homeschooling costs. Even if you find a way to homeschool for free, you still must understand that there are other costs involved, and learn to budget for those costs.
Don’t let your marriage fall apart because you are too busy homeschooling the children.
Don’t let your relationship with your children suffer because you are too busy being a schoolmarm.
READ > How to Balance Being Mom and Homeschool Teacher
Be prepared for friends and family who don’t homeschool to question what you are doing. Remember a gentle answer turns away wrath.
Learn to budget your time and energy to avoid burnout.
Be strong in the Lord!
#7 – Keep learning about your children!
Your children are blessings that keep on growing! They are not static and unchanging, so don’t school them that way.
Watch for those sparks of interest. Feed the good stuff, avoid feeding the not-so-pleasant things. Talk with them often. Learn who they are, and who they want to be. Never, ever forget in Whose image they were created!
Looking for encouragement as a homeschool mom? Check out my Homeschooling page here on Raising Arrows!
originally published in March 2014. updated in April of 2023.
Rach D says
This is a great post Amy. I agree that homeschooling is a very daunting task & we need to be diligent to prepare adequately.
Do you mind if I share this post in a round up I am doing to share with friends/family considering homeschooling? Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough (http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com)
Certainly – share away! 🙂
Rach D says
Thanks so much Amy! I would love to drive more traffic to your awesome site 🙂 I am always inspired here…
Michelle @ Moms Are Frugal says
This is a great list. Even though I have been homeschooling I need to remember why I started because somedays it is questioned.
Rachel Bueckert says
What you said: “Don’t let your relationship with your children suffer because you are too busy being a schoolmarm.” I struggle with this every.single.day of homeschooling! I’m constantly having to run to my bedroom and kneel for prayer b/c I just don’t know how to handle the next five minutes with my 9 yr old. With my husband passed away, I feel increasingly powerless if my son should choose not to cooperate, especially with the other three little kids watching his actions. I’ve always struggled to maintain authority in a school setting, where he takes me seriously, and getting his attention. So I get stricter and turn into drill sergeant mom to compensate. Then my actual mommy relationship with him feels tense. I feel like I can’t win! I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except to say that that bit of encouragement in that statement rang true for me on this particular day. So, thank you. 🙂
((HUGS)) This is a common thing for homeschool moms. I probably need to talk more about this. I know I could benefit from focusing more on mothering!
I am prayerfully considering homeschooling. My three-year-old will begin school fall of next year. This post is probably the most helpful advice that I have come across. I appreciate your godly wisdom and honest remarks on homeschooling. Thank you. I really enjoy your blog, and my preschoolers (I have a 2-yr. old as well) have both benefited from your resources.
Blessings in Christ,
Thank you, Jenna! One of the main purposes of Raising Arrows is to help moms know they don’t have to make it difficult, but they do need to be purposeful. 🙂
Thanks… We’re starting homeschooling next year, and appreciate the advice.
Thank you! I have been looking for this advices.. Blessings from Colombia
Jen Gutz says
These tips are very helpful!
I am also a mother of two kids enrolled in the home school program of georgia edu for preschool. I appreciate your advice since this will be our first school year to do the homeschooling. Hoping for positive feedback from both my kids and the school. More power to your blog!