Easily navigate homeschooling your children with our complete Homeschool Guide!
There are so many things to consider – the best homeschool programs, virtual & online homeschool programs, homeschooling requirements, do I need an accredited homeschool program? …the list goes on & on.
So, let us help you find all the answers you need to have a successful homeschooling experience with your family. Find all the info you need below:
How to Homeschool Options
With so many homeschooling methods to choose from, it can feel overwhelming and confusing.
If you are beginning your homeschooling journey, there are so many options to consider. Don’t wonder, “How to homeschool my children…?”
It took me almost 2 years to settle into an eclectic learning method before I felt confident! Remember, no two families are the same, no child learns the same and every family knows what works best for them. I hope this list is easy to follow and helps you find the best approach for your family.
Each of these methods are unique in their own way and you never really know what is best for you and your soon-to-be homeschoolers until you try it! So, Check out these different homeschool programs & options for learning to find the best fit for you:
#1 Project Based Learning
Project based learning is almost the polar opposite to the learning styles of public schools.
There are a lot of projects, hands on learning materials and your child really can “direct” themselves in learning about topics they choose.
When doing PBL, it is important to remember that your homeschooler is in control. Try resisting the urge to correct their projects or help when they are creating. Let them navigate the project themselves. Learn more about Project Based Learning to discover if it’s the right fit for your K-12 homeschool needs.
#2 Unit Studies
The Unit Studies approach is similar to PBL when it comes to homeschooling.
Unit Studies focus on a theme and all of the subjects are based off of the chosen theme. For example, when picking a theme you would do research on the history of your particular theme, study the scientific process of it and make a replica of it out of clay.
Unit studies really focus on your child’s interests and they are incorporated throughout the learning process.
For example, if your child loves Ninja Turtles:
- You can create a science project based on animal characteristics of turtles
- Create math problems & equations using Ninja Turtle characters & concepts from the show
- Study the history of turtles & how they have helped society
- Read Ninja Turtle books to practice phonics & reading
Unschooling is one of the most unique homeschooling programs, where your child takes the lead & learns in their daily life.
They learn things they want and create lessons from their day to day life. From a simple trip to the grocery store to daily chores, unschooling allows your child to explore the world around them.
It is important to note, there must be some structure by the parent to keep your child on track with educational requirements.
#4 School at Home (School In a Box)
This is one of the more traditional approaches to homeschooling. School in a box is very similar to the public school learning style.
You can purchase a full homeschool curriculum and ready-to-complete assignments through text books based on grade levels. There are also many online homeschool programs that meet this criteria as well.
If you are looking for easy homeschooling options, this will provide you everything you need to get started & ensure your child is on the right track.
The Montessori learning method is more rigorous in terms of language, numbers and life skills.
In Montessori programs, children learn with all 5 senses. It is based on the idea of prepared environments, where children can choose from many different activities in order to learn. The program promotes discovering, self-discipline, motivation & self-starting.
Simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves or washing their own dishes teaches them more independence in their daily lives. If you’re considering the Montessori approach, dive into researching this homeschooling option before you make the choice.
#6 Classical Approach
This approach teaches children to think as opposed what to think. By focusing on critical thinking, children can practice independent thinking, grammar and speech.
With different stages of learning, the classical approach is very rigorous and requires more formal study habits from your homeschoolers. They must also be disciplined.
#7 Eclectic Homeschooling
This approach combines the best of all styles. Eclectic homeschooling is a lot more relaxed than most methods but still maintains more structure than some.
It is almost a catch-all approach where you combine the parts you like best from each homeschooling option.
The most important tip I would offer is to not to sweat the first year of homeschooling.
Your homeschool doesn’t need to replicate the classroom. Spend time teaching academics, but focus on developing character and relationships. Set the course that you want to take over the next few years with your family.
Homeschooling your kids isn’t a sprint, it’s a long distance run and you will be so glad you chose it.
Should I Homeschool My Children?
As many families are thinking about school plans for next year, a growing number of families will choose homeschooling.
If you are one of them, here are a few tips to get a jump start on your homeschooling year:
- Talk with your kids. Explain to them why you’re choosing homeschooling. Depending on the ages of your kids, this will look different. For a younger child, you may be playing together and say, “I’m so excited that we are going to spend more time playing and learning together at home.” With an older child, explain that you are eager for him to have extra time pursuing a passion of his. This will be an ongoing conversation throughout your child’s school years. Be sure to include your kids in the planning process so they can take ownership too. Our family has made posters with everyone’s reasons and we hang them in our school room.
- Develop relationships with another homeschool family or co-op. These people will be your mentors and support system. Take the opportunity to learn from someone else’s experiences, ask lots of questions and develop allies.
- Visit Mardel in Independence or Overland Park. They have a huge homeschool section and I’ve been known to spend hours reading through books to find just the right thing for my kids. If there’s something you love, make a note of it (I take a photo with my phone) and come back during their homeschool sale.
- Visit a homeschool convention, used book sale, information night or other event. The Midwest Parent Educators convention offers a vendor hall and a variety of speakers. Take time to peruse the vendor hall and, if your kids are old enough, have them look with you. Listen to the speakers and absorb all that you can. Don’t buy anything the first day. Think it over and come back the next day. Something I learned: it’s worth the cost in shipping if you decide to get something after the conference rather than buying a bunch of stuff that you don’t end up using. If you can’t make it to the convention, several libraries and co-ops will host events throughout the spring and summer to help you get started.
- Get a planner and start writing everything you do with your kids. Better yet, get them in on the process and discuss it at the end of each day while you write. If they’re old enough, have them do the writing. We’ll talk about why later, just do it!
The homeschooling requirements vary my state, so check with your state website. You can find a summary of homeschool requirements by state & what laws apply to your family.
Homeschooling requirements for Missouri state when your child reaches their 7th birthday, they must adhere with Missouri’s compulsory attendance laws. You must also teach at least 100 hours per semester & maintain certain records of your child’s schooling. You can find more info about Missouri homeschool requirements on HSLDA’s website.
Homeschooling requirements for Kansas have low regulations and classify your homeschool as a private school. There are a few more requirements for homeschool families in Kansas, so be sure to check Kansas requirements so you are complying with state laws.
Back to School as a Homeschool Family
If you’re wondering what “Back to School season is like for homeschooling families, it is nothing like the craziness of heading back to public (or private) schools.
While everyone else is rushing to pick up school supply lists, find backpacks, and prepare little ones for the emotional adjustment of entering school – we are lucky to just be able to continue life as is.
As you consider making some major changes in your educational journey, be sure to consider all parts of homeschooling. If you do choose to go that route, consider what time of year you will begin.
Most families tend to withdraw their child or children at the end of the year to avoid any chaos with planning and major changes.
Another favorite time to start a homeschool journey is in between semesters. Again, there is less going on and families can make what I call a “clean break” from public school and an easy transition into homeschooling. If you are planning to go the homeschool route at any point, our guide will help you naviagate!