Getting started in homeschooling can seem overwhelming. The good news is that it is okay to start small. Homeschooling is a learn-as-you-grow adventure.
Keep your horizons limited at first. Deal only with the challenges that are truly relevant now. If you have a 5 year old there isn't any point in stressing out about how you'll cover calculus. You have years and years to find resources, information, tutors, etc. Don't try to plan too far ahead when you are first starting out. As you research homeschooling styles and available resources, take the time to digest what you discover. Figure out what fits comfortably into your family's life.
One of the first things on your list should be finding a Local Support Group. Like many activities, homeschooling is easier to do with the support of like-minded inviduals. Local support groups are your key to developing social connections with other homeschoolers as well as tapping into the wealth of resources available in your community.
Before you charge off buying workbooks and an expensive curriculum, take some time choosing a Homeschooling Method. Consider Your Child's Learning Style while evaluating the various approaches. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschooling families. Some families prefer a more structured approach, using a formal curriculum or thematic unit studies, while other families allow their children to direct their own education. Most families fall somewhere in between on the spectrum of possible choices. Don't be afraid to change if the course you've chosen doesn't seem to be working well.
Organize and structure your home to facilitate learning opportunities. A small investment here will have huge pay-offs. Kids are much more likely to embark on their own projects if they have a space to work and easy access to materials.
Don't spend too much money to start with. Judicious use of the library and internet can provide most of the materials that you will need. Talk to others and carefully examine curriculum materials before buying them as they tend to be very expensive. Funds may be better spent on memberships to science museums than on a set of text books.
Remember to breathe. Take time for yourself. Don't be afraid to take a day off, or even a short vacation after the first few weeks. Children who have been in school often need a lengthy deschooling period before they are ready to work with the different rhythm of homeschooling.
If you are withdrawing your child from school because of a difficult situation there, be sure to read the Homeschooling from Crisis page.
Beginning to Homeschool
Tips for getting through the "Oh No!" stage after deciding to homeschool.
A general homeschooling resource site.
Information and support for Christian homeschoolers.
A large collection of articles provided by the National Home Education Network.
A resource guide to issues specific to homeschooling children with hearing loss.
Making the Decision
Factors to consider when deciding to homeschool a deaf or hard of hearing child.
State Laws & Support Groups
A state-by-state guide to homeschool laws, including laws specific to special education.
Finding emotional and social support.
If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. - Francis Bacon
©2000-2013 Barbara L.M. Handley