One of the barriers that intimidates parents who are new to homeschooling is what to teach, and when. Because many states have loose reporting requirements, there are a lot of questions asked. Fortunately, those questions are just as easily answered.
The first thing you need to know is what the laws are in your state. Check out both public and private homeschooling laws, because if you ever decide to put your child back into public schools, it helps to know they’ve learned roughly the same material as their peers. There are some great online resources, and it is all as simple as using a search engine – just make sure you double and triple check your information, especially as applies to your state’s homeschooling laws. You wouldn’t want to get in trouble right out the gate, which can happen if you’re ill informed.
If you use a packaged curriculum, an option many parents choose, you have the advantage of not needing to worry as much about what is taught when. There are some great packaged curriculum out there; I won’t mention them because I do not want to be accused of endorsing one over the other.
But you don’t NEED a packaged curriculum. In fact, you can homeschool quite adequately with a library card and Internet access. Our family relies heavily on a philosophy of education known as “unschooling”, where our children’s interests and skills usually determine what is being taught and when. To keep our family steered on a good path, we use the World Book Scope and Sequence, freely available off of World Book’s website. This gives us an idea of where their peers are, and helps us to evaluate where we need to focus our teaching.
But the all time best source of information on homeschooling is word of mouth. This is why the first thing I tell homeschooling families is to become an active part of a homeschool group. Because, no matter what you’ve encountered, someone else has been there before.
Homeschooling should be a fun part of parenting, not a chore. If you use the resources available to you, you’ll enjoy it much more than if you attempt to “go it” alone.