What is the first word that comes to mind when you hear someone say homeschool? How about the word honesty? It’s probably not the first word that comes to mind, right? Let me tell you how this one little word will make a huge impact in your success as a homeschooling family.

Be honest with yourself about the reasons you are choosing to homeschool.  There are many reasons families choose to homeschool for their child’s education. When you understand the WHY, you can form better decisions as to HOW you homeschool.

Be honest about finances. When you know up front what your budget is and research what resources you will need to meet your state’s requirements you can get an accurate picture of what to expect financially and determine how to budget your expenses.  Curriculum may be your largest expense, but also has the most flexibility.  Knowing your budget will help you navigate your options and decide which curriculum is best for you.  In addition to curriculum some other expenses to consider are:

  • Testing & evaluation fees
  • Professional memberships to state organizations, local support groups, or HSLDA
  • In and out of state homeschool conventions and or magazines
  • Tutors, co-ops, or any outside assistance
  • Field trips, sports fees and equipment, music lessons and instruments
  • Supplies for everyday schoolwork projects and lab work
  • Computer, printer, home library

Be honest about your child’s abilities.  You know your child. Make informed decisions based on a combination of assessments, pediatrician input, and your overall knowledge of how your child learns and behaves.  The latest and greatest may not work for your child, use what works for you and your child. It’s okay to be advanced in one subject and behind in another. It’s okay to switch curriculum in the middle of the school year when you see it’s just not working out. It’s okay that what worked for your eldest child doesn’t work for your youngest.  Find what works for your student.

Be honest with your family about expectations.  Delegate responsibilities and chores, and make sure everyone knows their role. Set up a calendar where everyone can view it. Have family meetings-communication is key. Homeschooling takes dedication, organization and lots of patience.  There are many methods to homeschooling with varying levels of parental/guardian involvement. As parents, decide who will be grading and monitoring schoolwork. Whether you choose a more structured approach, or a more relaxed learning through living approach, both parents and students need to know.

Be honest with yourself about what you don’t know.  It’s okay! You don’t have to know everything and here is the great news….you are not expected to! One of the many benefits of homeschooling is as a parent or guardian you are not required to have a college education let alone a degree in teaching. What you do have to know is when it’s time to seek help and where to find it.  There are many support systems available to you, both online and in your community. Support can take the form as a tutor, a co-op, social media, other parents, and even legal support through an HSLDA membership!

Michelle is a city girl with a heart for camping and adventure. She is a field volunteer for a Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehab team. She was educated in private schools K-12 and now as a Homeschool Specialist at Christianbook, she is excited to share what she has learned about the many options available for homeschool families. She enjoys helping parents navigate the Christianbook.com website to make sure they have all they need to get started and make the best decisions for their children.