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How Do I Start Homeschooling?

The Ultimate Guide to Start Homeschooling The Ultimate Guide to Start Homeschooling

 

Welcome to Master Books! We are so glad you're here and are excited to help you start your homeschool journey.  


Table of Contents


Choosing to homeschool is often driven by a desire to provide our children with a Christ-centered education that nurtures their faith, character, and academic excellence. With homeschooling, we can integrate biblical principles and values into every aspect of education, fostering a deep connection to their faith and identity in Christ.


However, starting homeschooling can be overwhelming, especially for first-time homeschoolers. From navigating legal requirements to choosing curriculum materials, setting schedules, and addressing logistical challenges, there are many decisions to make. Feeling uncertain as you start a new educational journey with your family is natural.


Master Books is here to guide and support you every step of the way. With over 25 years of experience, we understand homeschooling families' unique needs, concerns, and aspirations. Our mission is to equip you with the knowledge you need to create an educational environment that honors God and inspires lifelong learning.


What to Know Before You Get Started

Research Your State and Local Laws

Homeschooling laws vary from state to state. By researching these laws, parents can clarify their legal obligations, ensure compliance, and make informed decisions about their homeschooling approach.

Where to Begin: Researching State Laws

Identify the relevant regulations governing homeschooling in your state. A reliable starting point is the state's Department of Education website, where you can find information regarding homeschooling requirements, procedures, and resources. 


Another fantastic resource for this research is the Home School Legal Defense Association. This organization allows you to search information and requirements by state. 

Home School Legal Defense Map

Interactive Map of State Laws from the Home School Legal Defense Association. 

Key Considerations for First-Time Homeschoolers

To alleviate concerns, here are some key considerations:

 

  • Compulsory attendance laws: Familiarize yourself with your state's compulsory attendance laws, which outline the age range during which children must receive formal education.
  • Notification and record-keeping: Many states require homeschooling parents to provide notification of their intent to homeschool and maintain records of their homeschooling activities and progress.
  • Curriculum requirements: Some states impose curriculum requirements or guidelines for homeschooling, while others offer more flexibility in choosing educational materials and approaches.
  • Assessments: Research whether your state requires homeschooling students to undergo standardized testing.
  • Teacher qualifications: Certain states have teacher qualification requirements for homeschooling parents, like possessing a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Special education services: If you have a child with special needs, research the availability of special education services and accommodations for homeschooling students in your state.

How to Withdraw From Public and Private Schools

Transitioning from a traditional school setting to homeschooling requires careful planning with the current school. Whether your child is enrolled in a public or private school, the process of withdrawing them to begin homeschooling can vary. 


Notify the school: This notification may need to be in writing and should clearly state your decision to homeschool and the effective date of withdrawal. Depending on the district, you may also need to submit documentation to school district officials.


Complete withdrawal forms: Contact the school's administration office to obtain the necessary withdrawal forms and follow any specific instructions provided.


Return school materials: For a smooth transition, return any school materials, textbooks, library books, or other resources that belong to the school. 


Request academic records: Request copies of academic records, including transcripts, standardized test scores, and any other relevant documentation from their current school. These records can be valuable for assessing your child's educational progress and may be required when establishing a homeschooling portfolio.

Building a Support System

A strong support system is essential for success. Before homeschooling with Master Books, parents can build a support network to guide them through the process.


Here's how to tap into available resources:


 Join the Moms of Master Books Facebook Group

This dedicated space provides moms a platform to connect, share experiences, ask questions, and glean insights from experienced homeschoolers. Joining this group allows moms to access knowledge, encouragement, and practical advice from other parents with a passion for Christian education.


Attend Homeschooling Conferences and Workshops


Homeschooling conferences and workshops offer valuable opportunities for parents to gain inspiration and learn from seasoned educators.

 

 

Many conferences feature workshops, seminars, and keynote speakers covering a range of topics related to homeschooling, parenting, and Christian education.


Using Online Resources and Curriculum Support


Parents can access various tools and materials to enhance their homeschooling experience, from comprehensive guides and lesson plans to instructional videos and homeschooling tips.


Additionally, Master Books offers personalized customer support to address parents' questions or concerns.


Visit Your Local Resources


Look around your community for church youth groups, public libraries, and extracurricular activities that can enrich your child’s educational experience.


How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum

 

Now that you’ve researched your state laws, it’s time to get set up with a curriculum! The best place to start is with our placement tests. 


If you want to begin with Master Books, use this list below to assess academic standing: 

After determining placement for language arts and math, you have two ways to shop our homeschool solutions - by subject or by grade!

Which Faith-Based Program is Right for You?

Choosing the right faith-based program sets the foundation for nurturing children's spiritual and academic development. Master Books integrates faith into every aspect of education, distinguishing our curriculum from others in the market.


Here are some key factors to consider when deciding on the right faith-based program with Master Books:

 

Integration of Scripture


See our Statement of Faith to see how Master Books seamlessly integrates Scripture throughout all coursework, lessons, and materials. The Word of God is not sprinkled in course material but is the foundation for all subjects. 


From science and history to language arts and math, Scripture illuminates every aspect of learning, fostering a deep understanding of God's truth and wisdom.

Biblical Worldview


Master Books offers a curriculum rooted in biblical truth, guiding students to view all areas of study through the lens of Scripture. 


Examining history, science, literature, and other subjects from a biblical perspective helps children develop discernment, critical thinking skills, and a firm foundation in their faith.


Academic Excellence

While prioritizing faith integration, ensure the lessons maintain high academic standards. 


Master Books provides academically rigorous materials that meet and exceed state standards while upholding biblical principles. Choose a curriculum designed to challenge students intellectually, foster a love for learning, and equip them with the knowledge needed for academic success.

Flexibility and Customization

Consider the flexibility options available to accommodate your children's learning styles, interests, and pace of learning. Master Books offers a variety of curriculum options, including complete grade-level packages and bundles, individual subject studies, and supplemental resources, allowing parents to tailor their homeschooling experience to their family's preferences.

Support and Community

Explore the support resources provided by Master Books to assist homeschooling families throughout their educational journey. 


Join the Moms of Master Books Facebook group and connect with a community of like-minded moms and educators.


Curriculum Samples and Reviews

Explore sample lessons, scope and sequence documents, and user reviews to assess whether the curriculum meets your expectations and resonates with your family's educational vision.

 

Homeschool Financial Considerations

While homeschooling offers numerous benefits, first-time homeschoolers must navigate financial considerations wisely. 


Create a realistic budget for curriculum expenses, supplies, materials, and additional resources. Prioritize essential items while identifying areas where you can save money or find alternative solutions.


Below are practical tips to help you save money, look for sales, and maximize resources as you embark on your homeschooling adventure.

 

Explore websites offering free homeschooling curricula, worksheets, lesson plans, and educational videos. Visit your local library or talk to other moms to borrow books, DVDs, and other educational materials for free.

We offer 20% off retail prices. We also offer free shipping within the continental US on orders over $75. Additionally, our rewards program allows for massive savings! When you place an order while logged into MasterBooks.com, we will give you reward points totaling 5% of your order. 

Consider purchasing digital or PDF versions of books and other academic resources, often cheaper than printed versions. Digital resources are also reusable and can be shared among multiple students.

Explore secondhand stores and online marketplaces for discounted or gently used academic materials.

Look for bundle deals with various subjects at a discounted price. Bundle deals often provide cost savings compared to purchasing individual items separately.

Focus on prioritizing core materials while being selective about supplemental resources and enrichment activities.

What Factors Should First-Time Homeschooling Parents Consider?

 

As first-time homeschooling parents start their educational journey with Master Books, there are a few questions they should ask to ensure a tailored learning experience for their children. 


1. Is the Curriculum Age Appropriate? 

Tailor your curriculum selection to each child's age and developmental stage. Master Books offers options for different grade levels, ensuring that the content, activities, and expectations align with your children's abilities. 

2. Do You Have the Right Resources to Accommodate Disabilities? 

If your child has special needs or disabilities, research and select materials accommodating their learning challenges.


3. Can You Allow Flexible Scheduling? 

Adapt your homeschooling schedule to accommodate your family's unique routines. Allow for flexibility in academic sessions and breaks to accommodate children's learning paces, energy levels, and attention spans.

4. Do You Need to Organize Support Services? 

If your child requires additional support services or therapies, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or counseling, incorporate these into your homeschooling plan as needed. 


5. Do You Have a Plan for Progress Monitoring?

Implement regular assessment strategies to evaluate your children's academic progress, identify areas of strength and weakness, and adjust your homeschooling approach accordingly. 


What Teaching Styles Does Master Books Use?

Selecting the right teaching style is a critical aspect of homeschooling that can significantly impact your children's educational experience.

An Eclectic Style of Education

The Master Books homeschooling style is best described as eclectic, drawing inspiration from different educational philosophies. Our approach integrates elements of the Montessori and Charlotte Mason methods and other research-based teaching strategies to create a comprehensive homeschooling experience. 


Parents can tailor their homeschooling approach to their children's learning styles by selecting coursework, resources, and activities that align with their educational goals. The eclectic approach allows families to combine the best of various teaching styles.

Montessori Method

The Montessori method is characterized by its hands-on learning activities and emphasis on independence and self-directed exploration. 


In a Montessori-inspired homeschooling environment, children can choose their activities, work at their own pace, and engage in multi-sensory learning experiences. 


Master Books incorporates elements of the Montessori method with interactive and tactile resources, such as manipulatives, games, and hands-on experiments, that encourage children to explore and discover concepts independently.

Charlotte Mason Approach

The Charlotte Mason approach emphasizes living books, nature study, narration, and short, focused lessons to cultivate a rich and immersive educational experience.


In a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooling environment, children engage with literature, art, music, and nature to develop their intellect, character, and appreciation for the world around them. 


We embrace the principles of the Charlotte Mason approach by offering literature-rich academic materials, nature study guides, and living books that inspire wonder, curiosity, and a love for learning.

Our Open-and-Go Administrative Framework

Master Books' curriculum was created with the busy homeschooling family in mind. It features an open-and-go administrative framework that simplifies the planning process. 


Parents can easily open the curriculum box and start homeschooling immediately, thanks to pre-planned lessons, simple daily schedules, and perforated teacher guides that facilitate seamless instruction. 


I’m About to Start Homeschooling, What Do I Need?

When you order your coursework, the process is simple: choose by subject or age level. However, when you start teaching at home for the first time, knowing when to order and what you need can be confusing. 

Book Orders and School Supplies for First-Time Christian Homeschooling Parents

Understanding when to order books and knowing which school supplies to have on hand ensures a smooth school year.

When to Order Books and Materials

Start planning your lessons and book selections several months before the start of the school year in August.  Place your book orders as soon as possible to avoid last-minute rush. 


School Supplies to Have On Hand

If you’re switching from the school system to at-home education, it’s easy to forget some basic supplies that you might be used to school teachers providing. Use our checklist below to make sure you don’t miss anything!

  • Basic supplies: pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, and folders.
  • Art and craft materials: drawing paper, construction paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors, and paint.
  • Manipulatives and educational tools: math manipulatives, science kits, calculators, educational games, flashcards, and learning aids specific to your curriculum.
  • Reference materials: dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, maps, charts, and reference books relevant to your children's studies and interests.
  • Organization and storage: storage bins, shelves, file folders, binders, and labeling systems to maintain order and efficiency in your homeschooling space.
  • Technology and digital resources: a reliable computer, internet connection, printer, and educational software or online resources as needed.

Organizing Social Activities and Extracurriculars

Social interaction is a common concern for first-time homeschooling parents, who may worry about giving their children opportunities to develop friendships outside of a traditional school setting. 

Use these strategies to organize social activities for kids

 

  1. Embrace community connections: Seek opportunities for your children to engage with peers and other families through homeschooling co-ops, clubs, sports teams, church activities, and community events. These local homeschooling networks organize family gatherings for educational outings, field trips, park days, and social events.
  2. Sign up for extracurricular activities: Encourage your children to explore activities and hobbies. Enroll them in sports leagues, music lessons, art classes, scouting programs, or other extracurricular activities offered by Master Books. Many states allow homeschooled students to join public school sports teams and clubs.
  3. Foster family bonding: Emphasize the importance of family and sibling interaction within the homeschooling environment. Plan regular family outings, game nights, movie nights, and shared activities that strengthen relationships. Encourage siblings to collaborate on projects, support each other's learning, and develop interpersonal skills through shared experiences.
  4. Volunteer: Engage your children in volunteer opportunities that allow them to impact their community and develop compassion. Participate in service-oriented activities through your church or local charities.

Putting it All Together - Planning the School Year

From keeping records to setting schedules, there are many practical considerations. We'll explore logistics questions and help you confidently navigate your homeschooling journey.


Planning the homeschooling year involves setting academic goals, organizing curriculum resources, and scheduling learning activities to create a cohesive and purposeful educational experience.


Establish clear academic goals and objectives for each child, outlining what you hope to accomplish academically throughout the school year. Afterward, map out your curriculum for the school year, selecting materials and textbooks that align with your educational goals and state requirements. 

What to Know About Keeping Records

Accurate records are to track their children's progress, document their academic achievements, and comply with legal requirements. 


Our cumulative record is a handy place to keep all of your student’s vital academic record-keeping in one easy-to-access location for grades Pre-K through 12.

Master Books Cumulative Record

  • Establish your record-keeping system: Organize records by subject, grade level, and academic year for easy reference and retrieval, whether online or physical copies. 
  • Document attendance: record your children's attendance, noting the dates and hours of instruction for each school day. Certain states require a minimum number of instructional hours or days per academic year.
  • Record grades: Document your children's grades and progress throughout the school year. Use grading scales, rubrics, or assessment tools to evaluate their performance in each subject area.
  • Save work samples: Preserve samples of your children's work, including assignments, projects, essays, and artwork, as evidence of their educational progress and accomplishments. Create a portfolio or digital portfolio to showcase their learning journey and growth over time.

 

How to Set a Schedule

Establishing a homeschooling schedule helps provide structure, routine, and consistency in your children's daily learning activities. When planning your homeschool schedule, consider your family's lifestyle, routines, and commitments. 


Create a Flexible Schedule

Design a flexible schedule for adaptability in learning experiences. Incorporate breaks, outdoor time, and downtime to prevent burnout and maintain balance in your homeschooling routine.

Prioritize Core Subjects

Allocate dedicated time each day for core subjects, such as math, language arts, science, and history, to ensure coverage of essential academic content.

Include Enrichment Activities

Take time for hands-on projects and elective subjects in your homeschooling schedule to provide an engaging experience. Allow time for devotionals, art, music, physical education, and other activities. 

Communicate Expectations

Share your schedule and expectations with your children, setting clear guidelines and boundaries for their daily routines and responsibilities. Involve them in scheduling, giving them input and ownership over their learning schedule.


Start Now With Master Books!

Master Book's homeschool curriculum stands out for its user-friendly features, which streamline the homeschooling process for parents. By removing the complexities of curriculum planning and implementation, Master Books allows families to focus on what truly matters: nurturing their children's curiosity and passion for learning.

 

Trust in God's guidance and provision as you embark on your homeschooling journey. He will equip you with the wisdom and strength you need to succeed.

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