So you’re interested in homeschooling, now where do you start?
The first thing you need to do is check on the legal requirements in your state. The Homeschooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is the best place to go for all the information you’ll need to go about this the right way.
The resources, as a reader commented on my last homeschooling post, are limitless. I’ll share the tools and websites that I have used so far and hopefully that will get you started.
In the beginning you really won’t need a lot to get started. ABC’s and 123’s are pretty easy and fun to teach. Luckily there are lots of free resources to help and make learning fun!
You need a library card. If you don’t have one, get one and use it! The library is the only way I was able to have plenty of books. We spend at least an hour every week or two in this magical place. I used this Charlotte Mason reading list as a guide to what I should be reading to my kids before I found my homeschooling bible.
I built Maya’s preschool curriculum largely from First School. This is a fantastic website chock full of all sorts of free materials that are perfect for your preschooler or kindergartener. All you need is a printer!
Confessions of a Homeschooler is a blog that I used quite a bit for Kindergarten material. She has an entire collection of themed printables that cover all the ABC’s and math. She also has tons of different activities that go along with each letter which makes things much easier on you. Again, all you need is a printer and some scissors and you can go to town.
File folder games.
These are an absolute goldmine. There are lots of free resources to get you going in this fantastical world of inexpensive learning games. My favorite was File Folder Fun. My kids loved/love these activities. ABC games, matching games, number games, science games, phonics games and more are available all for free! It doesn’t get better than that.
Maya really enjoyed worksheets and workbooks so we spent a bit of money on a couple of preschool/kindergarten workbooks that she enjoyed very much. When I felt that she was ready for more formal work we moved on to Explode the Code.
When Maya was really ready to start reading I taught her on our patio with sidewalk chalk. No kidding, I really did. It worked for her, she had fun, and she picked it up very quickly. Jesse kind of picked up reading by osmosis I do believe. He and Maya are so close in age they just kind of learned together, even though I was only directly teaching Maya. She knew all of her letters and the sounds they made thoroughly so all I had to do was show her how to put them together. I cannot stress enough how important phonics are. Once the child knows the sounds of each letter I promise you it’s a complete breeze to teach them to read.
Then I found my homeschooling bible; The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Homeby Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This my friends opened up a whole new world to me. I knew from my research that I wanted to follow the Classical method of homeschooling but I had no idea how to go about it.
This book showed me the way.
It’s a complete guide from birth all the way through to graduation on how to classically educate your child. Curriculum suggestions and recommendations, what to teach when, why, and how, reading lists, encouragement and so much more fill its pages. I found it first in my library, and checked it out so frequently that my husband finally bought it for me this year.
I’m following the recommended plan from this book for Joshua’s preschool. This means I’m using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sarah Buffington from the beginning for him.
He’s my auditory learner so he grasps on to the sounds the letters make more so than the name of the letter. In the beginning I could ask him what letter this was and point to the letter ”Tt” and he’d shrug and say “I don’t know”. Then I’d ask him if he knew what sound it made and he immediately made the sound for Tt. It was the funniest thing. We’re still working on the names of the letters but it’s helping him tremendously to learn the sound along with the name.
Once Maya and Jesse
moved into first grade work I actually purchased curriculum and began to follow a schedule. Maya and Jesse are now in second grade which means that’s as far as my expertise goes.
If you’d like to know more about our curriculum choices, how I plan our schooling, or free planning pages please let me know! I’d be happy to share what we’re using with you.