How to Start Homeschooling

Interested in homeschooling, but don’t know where to start? You aren’t alone. Take a look at my quick guide on how to start homeschooling. It’s easier to get started than you think.

how to start homeschooling

If you are here, it’s because you are considering homeschooling. First off, let me say I’m proud of you for taking charge of your children’s education. Whether you are dead serious about starting or simply want to find out more about what it takes to educate your children at home, know that you are doing a great thing for your family.

There are lots of reasons families decide to educate at home. Currently, many families are considering homeschooling due to COVID concerns and the instability it might bring to the upcoming school year. Whatever your reasons they are both valid and personal. Today, I am going share with you how to start homeschooling.

How To Start Homeschooling

Review Your State’s Homeschooling Laws

Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. The very first thing you’ll need to do is review your state’s homeschool regulations. Homeschooling laws are regulated by your state, not the federal government. You can find your state’s homeschooling laws at HSLDA. Some states, like Texas where I live, have few regulations, giving parents lots of freedom and autonomy. However, other states have moderate regulations and a few states (primarily in the North Eastern United States) have far more stringent regulations. These laws will tell you:

  • How many school days are required
  • Mandatory subjects
  • Mandatory number of days (attendance)
  • Record-keeping
  • Testing Requirements
  • Notifying the local public school/withdrawing children from public school
  • Teacher qualifications
  • Immunization requirements

Figure Out Who Will Teach

There are a few states that require homeschool teachers to have teaching certificates. Some states only require it if you are teaching additional children that aren’t yours. That’s right! Did you know that many states allow people other than parents to homeschool? It’s true. Homeschool teachers can be parents, neighbors, aunts or uncles, even grandparents. This can be a great solution for working parents who want to homeschool. For example, in Texas, you can teach up to five kids that aren’t yours before the state requires a teaching certificate. So if my brothers wanted me to homeschool their kids alongside mine, we can. You’ll need to figure out who will be facilitating school and make sure it is in accordance with state regulations.

Decide on a Homeschooling Method

There are lots of ways to educate a child and homeschooling provides different methods of teaching. If you are homeschooling temporarily due to COVID, you may want to consider doing Traditional homeschooling. Traditional homeschooling will mirror public schools in structure and method. There are other methods like Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschooling, and Eclectic. I’ve created a separate post entitled, Homeschooling Methods Explained, where I explain the differences in detail.

Decide on a Schedule

Part of planning your homeschool will involve planning out your school calendar. It is important to note that some states have a required number of days your child must attend school. 180 to 185 days is the average requirement. In some states, like my home state of Texas, there is no attendance requirement. This is great because it means you can finish your school year as quickly as you want or you can stretch out your school year-round with lots of days off during the year. Many families simply follow the same schedule as their public school system. For some it just makes it easier.

Personally, we homeschool year round. First, it ensures your child doesn’t forget things over the summer. Plus it means I don’t have to remotivate them (or myself) at the beginning of the school year. Also, it means we can take lots of vacations or time off anytime we feel we need it during the year. This really helps us from feeling burnt out. It means we don’t have to take our family vacations in summer when everyone else is also vacationing. (Thats right. No lines at Disney World!)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Choose a Curriculum

The idea of choosing a curriculum can be really overwhelming to parents who are homeschooling for the first time. My advice is not to stress too much over it. If you and your child are struggling you can change the curriculum at any time! One of the best resources I ever found is a book entitled, Duffy’s Homeschool Picks. In this book, Duffy writes in-depth curriculum reviews and also helps you assess which curriculum will best meet your needs. Here are some things you need to consider when choosing curriculum.

How to Choose Curriculum

  • TEACHER-LED OR STUDENT-LED: Curriculum is designed to either be led by a teacher or by the student. In the early years, students will likely benefit more from having you work directly with them. However, as your child matures, independent learners may benefit more with the autonomy found in student-led curriculum.
  • SECULAR OR RELIGIOUS: You will need to decide whether you want religion to play a part in your child’s studies. Some religious families opt for a secular curriculum with separate religious or bible studies. Others prefer religion to be intertwined in subjects. Many secular curricula are religion-friendly, meaning there is unlikely to be anything in direct opposition to religious tenets. This will become especially critical in Science when deciding whether to teach creation or evolution.
  • YOUR HOMESCHOOLING METHOD: Curriculum varies widely in their approach to learning. Your curriculum choices may be impacted by the homeschooling method you wish to employ. Be sure to read my post, Homeschooling Methods Explained for an in-depth look at the different homeschooling methods.
  • YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE: Just like us, children have different learning styles. Some children are auditory learners, while others need to visualize concepts. Still, others benefit more from a hands-on (tactile) experience. One advantage to homeschooling is the ability to use a curriculum tailored to your child’s learning style. It is important to note that young children are generally tactile learners and may change learning styles as they mature.
  • HOW MUCH TIME YOU WANT TO SPEND: Some curriculum requires prep work on the part of the teacher, while others allow you to dive right in. Some curriculum is relaxed, others are rigorous and of course, there is everything in between. You will need to figure out how much time you are willing to dedicate. This is especially important if you are a single parent, working parent, or are teaching multiple students.
  • SPECIAL NEEDS: Consider if your child has any special needs that may influence the curriculum you choose. Not only are there curriculum choices that are special need friendly, but there are also support groups for families.
  • YOUR BUDGET: You will decide how much you are willing to spend on the curriculum. It is important to note that there are many free and low-cost options available. In fact, some school districts even offer public school online at home and it’s completely free!
  • ONLINE OR TANGIBLE: You will need to decide how much screen time your child has. There are pros and cons to both. Some parents want their kids to be tech-savvy and comfortable with online applications. Whereas other parents feel too much time online can stunt literacy. Many families find a happy medium or encourage technology in later years like high school.

Join Homeschooling Groups

One thing that is wonderful about homeschooling is the community. I have found homeschooling families to be wonderfully accepting and helpful to other families, especially those just getting started. Other families are a valuable resource for both motivation, advice, and socialization, so look into joining homeschool groups. You can find many online, even on Facebook.

Other Common Questions

I hope I have answered some of your basic questions on how to start homeschooling. If you have other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will answer as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy recipe leaves out all the heavy carbs and grains for a protein-packed, easy low-carb meatloaf that will be your new family favorite.

Easy low carb meatloaf

I’ve got a new recipe for you. Well, it is new to you but old to me. That’s because this is actually my grandmother’s recipe. I’ve been making this for years and when I got on the Keto diet, I thought I should share it with others for those looking for a low-carb meatloaf recipe. Hold up, don’t run away. I hope you give this recipe a chance. I know there are a lot of people out there who cringe at the idea of meatloaf. Admittedly, I’m not a meatloaf fan of the other recipes I have tried in the past. This is the only one I like!

Meatloaf is a nice hardy dish to serve your family. Here in the south, it is comfort food. I love serving it with a steaming heap of buttery mashed potatoes and some greens like Southern-style green beans or roasted Brussel sprouts and bacon. By the way, if you are looking for another easy weeknight recipe, take a look at my Easy Chicken Tetrazzini recipe before you go.

Making Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

One thing that is nice and different about this meatloaf is that it is low carb. If you are doing a special diet like Paleo, Atkins or Keto, this is going to be great for you. Obviously, if you are doing Paleo, you’ll want to try and use grass-fed beef. Lots of meatloaf recipes call for breadcrumbs, stuffing, or other grains to form the loaf shape. This recipe uses absolutely no breadcrumbs or other grains. The only carbs in it are from bell pepper, onion and a small amount of tomato sauce. Instead of using breadcrumbs to hold the meat together in a loaf, this recipe uses protein – one large egg. The egg acts as the binding agent.

The other thing that makes this meatloaf unique is that it uses ground breakfast sausage. I highly recommend using Jimmy Dean Breakfast sausage. I like to use the sage version for added flavor, but you could also use the regular or even the hot if you wish.

It takes about an hour in the oven to cook the 2-pound loaf. However, it only takes a few minutes of prep time. You can even prep it the day before, then pop it in the oven when you’re ready to start dinner. I personally don’t need a sauce with this meatloaf because it is so flavorful, but you can add your favorite meatloaf sauce to it.

easy low carb meatloaf
easy low carb meatloaf

This recipe calls for simple ingredients. Ground beef, breakfast sausage, green bell pepper, white onion, one egg, a small amount of tomato sauce and salt and pepper. Just combine and press into a regular-sized loaf pan. Then you’ll cook it for one hour in an oven preheated to 375. Let the meatloaf rest for about five minutes before serving. This keeps it juicy and allows the juices to recirculate through the meat.

Storing the Meatloaf

This is a great meal for leftovers. Because of the sausage (high-fat content), the meat doesn’t dry out when reheated. You can reheat it in the oven again or use the microwave. Also, you can store in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. I have also frozen it before and it freezes well for up to a month. Honestly, I’ve never stored it longer than that. If you are freezing it, just make sure you wrap it really well to prevent freezer burn.

dinner
dinnerdinne

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy low carb meatloaf is all meat and few carbs and is sure to become a weeknight favorite!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 lbs Breakfast sausage Jimmy Dean preferred
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Sm White Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 oz Tomato sauce about half of an 8 oz can
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • In a large mixing bowl, add beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper. Knead well until combined to avoid bites of only sausage or beef. You can use clean hands or use a pastry cutter to help combine them.
  • Add one egg and knead until fully combined.
  • Add tomato sauce and knead until fully combined.
  • Transfer meat mixture into an ungreased loaf pan. Press into pan to pack meat tightly. Level the top.
  • Place in oven and bake for one hour at 375°
  • Let meat rest for 5 mins before serving.
Keyword atkins, beef, beef dishes, comfort food, ground beef, healthy meals, italian sausage, keto, leftovers, low carb, meat, meatloaf, southern recipes, weeknight favorite
meatloaf