5 Things We’re Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids

Image of a a child writing and doing school work

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I hadn’t really given much thought to how I wanted to school my own children. After my second child and seeing the school systems go to the new Common Core mess I decided that it was time to prepare for homeschooling our kids.

My husband and I have been talking off and on about homeschooling for a year or two now. We never completely decided on whether we’d homeschool or not though. Now that my son is a year out from being old enough to go to kindergarten the question has become, “will he go to school or will he be homeschooled?”

Which is why we decided to test run homeschooling for a year. If I could successfully not pull out all of my hair in one year teaching him, then we would homeschool. So, now we’re starting to prepare for homeschooling our kids and I’m in the thick of all the research that goes along with first-time curriculum decisions.

5 Things We’re Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids

My son turns five in November, and therefore, can’t start kindergarten this year (not that I’m complaining). So, we decided to take this year to figure out if homeschooling is for us or if we’re going to send our kids to school instead. This will mostly depend on my ability to handle teaching our kids, and less if they’re able to learn at home. Just being honest and real about that.

We’re hoping this year will be super productive and educational for our kids and that mom and dad will enjoy the process of homeschooling too. It’s easy to plan activities outside the home that are fun (hello trips to the zoo), but when it comes to letters, numbers, writing and arithmetic…. Mom isn’t so sure.

I made a list of things I needed to do in order to be comfortable teaching our kids at home (you’ll find the steps below) and it will likely be an ongoing process.

First: We’ll Assess Where They Are & What They Know

Since we have a four (going on five) year old and a two-year-old that we’ll be working with for this “school” year we aren’t opposed to teaching them together. We have a general idea of what our son knows, but we haven’t really worked with our daughter much. She’s mainly learned right alongside her brother.

With that being said, we’re going to make sort of test that will allow us to gauge where our kids are and what we need to work on moving forward. Once we know where both of our kids need help we’ll be able to better prepare for homeschooling and figure out what resources are needed.

I think we can adapt whatever we decide for our son and remove things that are a little advanced for our daughter to create her curriculum.

Second: Decide Which Style Is Best

Right now we’re in the research phase of different curriculums and styles that we might use with our children. We’ve thought about Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, and some form of Montessori style curriculum but aren’t quite sure.

I love the idea of Unschooling our kids, but the curriculum-wanting-nut in me kind of cringes at the idea. While letting them free-learn seems fabulous, I also want to keep track of how they’re learning and what they’ve learned.

With all of that in mind, we’ll likely be doing a mix of curriculum homeschooling with some Unschooling thrown in there along the way.

This may look like the following:

  1. Morning Studies
  2. Pre-Lunch Craft/Activity
  3. Free Play
  4. Reading Before Bedtime

5 Things We're Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids

Third: Research Curriculums

This kind of ties into number two, but we’re researching the different curriculums out there to see what we like the best.

We actually have the Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum that we bought for my son a year ago to prepare him for school/homeschool. This was purchased with every intention of using it sooner, but that didn’t happen. It was just shoved onto a shelf and left there to collect dust while we haphazardly tried to teach our son new things.

Just this past month I’ve started looking over the “teacher” books to see what all the set covered. I’m still not entirely thrilled with the curriculum. Mostly, it’s because I’m confused about the lessons and how to go about things.

Some people make homeschooling look easy to do and simple to setup, but I can say that there are more things out there than I can shake a stick at. So many curriculums, so many activities and so many ideas that it’s easy to get lost in the sea of curriculum ideas.

I’m trying my best to filter through things.

I’ve read a few blogs from momma’s who talked about creating their own curriculum based on what their child needed to learn, and I also saw a woman recommend a printable item called Morning Pages that looked pretty awesome. It was cheap so I bought it and am having my husband print it out. It will give me a jumping off point for our morning work… at least I hope.

Once we narrow down on the style of homeschooling I think choosing a curriculum or creating one will be much easier. So far the different curriculums we’re looking at are:

  1. Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
  2. WinterPromise
  3. Self-Made Curriculum of Charlotte Masson/Montessori style curriculum
  4. Unschooling completely

5 Things We're Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids

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Fourth: Create a Plan for Each Child

Trying to tailor a plan for both of my kids seemed hard at first, but planning for my son and trimming to what my daughter needs seem doable. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work and my son will have the added benefit of helping to teach his sister as well. They say you learn best from teaching so I think it would give him a greater opportunity to learn what he’s learning by teaching her.

Once we have the curriculum laid out for my son I think it will be easier to go through and take out things that are too advanced for her or changed what we’re expecting. Or, we can just keep it in and not really pressure her to “know” things, but she’ll see her brother doing them and likely take something away from it too.

Fifth: Adjust As We Go

One thing I’ve learned so far is that this will be an evolving process. I am not going into this thinking it has to be perfect from the get go, and know that I am allowing for shifting and changing.

Having the right mindset in anything is key. And, I am sure that going into homeschooling with the best possible mindset is paramount to not pulling my hair out. I don’t want to be expecting too much or try to do too much all at once. Finding the balance will be the biggest thing to accomplish.

However, I can’t say that I don’t want perfection from the start. I’m a recovering perfectionist and have been working on this a lot as my children grow. Not expecting things to be perfect is the first step for me.

It’s best that I just acknowledge now that things won’t be perfect and at most. They will probably be pretty rocky in the beginning. I think I can be ok with that for now. I’m hoping that I will get a firm grip on all of this after a month or two.

The curriculum I think will be the hardest thing for me to decide on with schooling my kids. Thankfully, I at least have the Horizons workbooks to help me if I don’t find any other ways to move forward.

Related Post: How & Why to Start Working from Home as a Mom

Things For Activities

Activites and free play are something we’re definitely looking into closely. Our kids already get so many toys from their grandparents that we want to be mindful that what we get them can be used for play and learning.

We also want to cut back on toys they’re getting also (the non-learning kind). There is a point where too much is a thing and we’re hovering over that line. We’ve talked about letting them play with things like pots and pans to build things. Or, finding things around the house and barn that can be turned into toys they can learn with.

Like taking scraps of wood and cutting out shapes and then sanding and polishing them (no splinters needed here). Or, finding ways for them to help in the garden. We don’t have kid-sized gardening tools so they can help by letting them use a spoon or something to help us with planting while also learning about soil, light, and growth.

For things we may purchase we’ve found some neat ideas on Amazon we’re looking at:

The hunt and research will continue, but this is our journey for now. We’re quite happy with our choice to homeschool for at least preschool. Especially since the cost of sending our kids to a public preschool is quite a big chunk of money.

5 Things We're Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids

How are you going to prepare for homeschooling your kids? Share in the comments below.

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3 Replies to “5 Things We’re Doing To Prepare For Homeschooling Our Kids”

  1. If you email me, I’ll let you in on how we do it. I have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old. We do a mix of Worldschooling, Homeschooling, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and Unschooling. I was writing it here as a detailed post, but the page suddenly reloaded!!! Basically, we use CDs from audiomemory.com at mealtimes. We LOVE Melissa and Doug puzzles and bought a TON on Craigslist… especially See and Spell and Pattern Blocks. We have a morning routine from wake-up to end of breakfast that includes the kids emptying dishwasher, making their own scrambled eggs from start to finish, spelling name, writing the time and turning to the time on dry-erase analog clock. I do 2-4 science experiments per week, (I’m working my way through Janice VanCleeve’s books, rotating one experiment at a time from each subject “Engineering,” “Chemistry,” etc. so that we cover all of the types of science) but put the materials in gallon-size ziploc bags ahead of time, so we can just grab a bag and do an experiment during a quick 5-10 minute awkward in-between time. We cook/bake together a LOT (I buy a 50 lb bag of flour from Costco at the beginning of each year, put the flour in gallon-size bags, and use it for baking, sensory play, flour-based art projects, etc.)… my goal is to use up the flour by the end of the year. This forces me to do projects with the kids. We have some open-ended toys (blocks, Magna Tiles, large Legos) in homemade trays under the couch (that have dry erase bottoms so they can write labels and draw diagrams and even draw floor plans for their building projects) and bought a yard of wax cloth at craft store to use as mats to define their play areas (Montessori) and also to use under art and cooking projects. I have a ton of art materials bought on Amazon and at Costco and just let them explore… We do about 4 project sessions per week. I curate their toys and books very carefully. We don’t open presents at their birthday party. Instead, I go through them that night after the kids are asleep and get rid of any junk and then I let them open them the next day. I schedule one “field trip” every couple of weeks (fire station, factories, stores, etc.). And we go to at least 2 museums per week. We do at least 4 domestic trips per year and at least 2 international trips per year. Before each trip, we spend a month reading about our destination’s history, geography, etc. and doing related projects. We also read and do projects on the trip. We have a tiny, urban backyard, but have transformed it into an educational playground by adding tons of stimulating outdoor activities for art, science, language arts, math, etc. Mostly, though, our education of our kids is in the way we speak to them. In my head, I’m always ticking off synonyms, so that they keep learning new ways to say things. When I tell them to turn on the light, instead I ask them to “close the circuit” so they can learn about circuitry. We do “Bathtime Blues,” where we only listen to and learn about the history of Blues during bathtime (we have pics of iconic blues musicians). The key for us is that EVERYTHING is educational in some really fun laid-back child-led way. We have dance parties at least 4 times a week, so they can learn to move their bodies and for their emotional health. Tai Kwan Do is a non-negotiable for the kids… I think it’s as essential as learning math for a variety of reasons. Our children’s library has no fluff… only really great, fulfilling books (biographies, poetry, bilingual books, very diverse characters, extremely diverse cultures). I also have seven shelves with the shape of each continent behind them (cut out from white contact paper), and each shelf has books related to that continent, so that I know that my kids are reading books from around the world. At bedtime, my daughter tells me her “three things” (basically, a paragraph of what she did that day in an essay form, so that she learns the format of writing). She loves telling me about her day. Feel free to email me, if you want an even more detailed account of exactly what we do!!!

    1. Wow, that seems pretty intense for a 2 and 4-year-old. How do you keep their attention?? I’ll definitely send you an email :). We’re still trying to figure things out.

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