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How To Plan For Homeschool

Amanda Schenkenberger empowers homeschool moms to calm the chaos and confidently homeschool. Leveraging her experience as a homeschooled individual and mother of four, she helps families build strong bonds and achieve rigorous academics through her Homeschool Family Legacy programs.

 
Executive Contributor Amanda Schenkenberger

Planning for homeschooling can feel overwhelming, much like organizing a wedding, a family vacation, or a big conference. While society's view of homeschooling is changing, it's always been clear that taking on this responsibility is a significant task. You might wonder, "How can I, without a teaching degree, plan something as crucial as my child's education?"


A mature father and son sitting at table homeschooling

The good news is that there are plenty of resources from qualified teachers and experienced homeschool parents to guide you. Believe it or not, the curriculum isn’t the most critical factor. In this article, I'll share the key elements you need to consider when planning your homeschool journey and debunk some common homeschooling myths.

 

What is homeschooling?

When I was homeschooled, it meant my parents were my primary teachers, using a private school curriculum at home. There was no internet, no Google, and support was limited to co-ops, which often required a lot of effort and were hard to find.

 

Homeschooling nowadays is an educational method where parents choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school. It allows for a customized learning experience tailored to a child's individual needs, interests, and pace.

Parents take on the role of primary educators, often using a mix of structured curriculum and real-world learning opportunities.

 

It is essential to understand that homeschooling is not simply traditional school conducted at home. Enrolling your child in an online school, whether public or private, and having them complete their studies at home does not constitute homeschooling. True homeschooling involves a personalized learning experience crafted by the parent, addressing the unique needs and interests of the child. Homeschooling is about creating an environment where children can thrive, explore their passions, and develop a lifelong love for learning that extends beyond the traditional classroom setting.

 

If that sounds foreign to you or you are unsure if that would actually produce competent adults, numbers don’t lie. According to an analysis by the National Home Education Research Institute, 78% of the time, homeschooled students outperform those attending a traditional school. That was the case when I went from being homeschooled and attending public high school. I graduated 9 out of 310.

 

Homeschooling doesn't just create academic achievers; it nurtures happy, well-rounded individuals who contribute positively to society. A 2021 Harvard study found that homeschoolers are often happy, well-adjusted, and engaged. They tend to volunteer more, be more forgiving, and have lower risks of alcohol and drug abuse, depression, and suicide.


Are you intrigued by this educational approach but unsure if you can manage it? Let's explore how to plan for homeschooling and why it’s accessible to working parents, single moms, and even those without an educational background.

 

The lie: I can’t work and homeschool

Many families believe homeschooling isn't feasible because they think it requires a dedicated, stay-at-home parent. This simply isn't true. I've coached single moms, even those who share custody and work, as well as households where both parents work outside the home. Yes, you can work and homeschool. Hundreds of thousands of families are doing it. In 2023, I hosted the Working Homeschool Moms Summit, where I interviewed over 30 women who successfully balance work and homeschooling.

 

I am working while homeschooling my four boys. We don’t have a nanny or au pair, and they don’t attend a co-op or microschool. I also travel and maintain a social life. It’s unconventional and requires creative thinking and a clear plan, but it’s achievable for anyone willing to think outside the box.

 

If you're considering this option, let's connect. Planning for homeschooling and working isn't for the faint of heart, and having expert support can make a significant difference. Schedule a free Best Next Steps Call with me.

 

I’m not a teacher

For many parents looking into homeschooling and are even homeschooling now there is this nagging voice in the back of their heads saying, “But you’re not a teacher. You didn’t get a college degree in education.”

 

Despite that voice that works to erode your confidence, the truth is this: Parents are naturally equipped to educate their children at home because they have been their children’s first and most consistent teachers from the very beginning.

 

Just think about the countless skills you’ve already taught your child—how to eat with a spoon, how to dress themselves, and how to buckle their seatbelt in the car. These everyday skills, essential for life, were taught by you, without any formal teaching degree. Your deep understanding of your child’s needs, strengths, and learning styles makes you the perfect person to guide their education.

 

The bond between parent and child creates an ideal learning environment. As a parent, you’re deeply invested in your child’s success and well-being, more so than any teacher could be. You know what motivates your child, how to support them when they struggle, and how to celebrate their victories. This personalized attention and dedication are invaluable in education, giving you the lowest student-to-teacher ratio around!

 

Homeschooling allows for a customized learning experience that can adapt to your child's pace and interests, something traditional classrooms often can't accommodate. Your unique role in


your child's life gives you the insight and commitment needed to provide a rich, effective educational experience. You are more than capable—you simply need a few tools and systems in your back pocket, and you are ready to homeschool.

 

Why you don’t have to be an expert in everything

I am not the smartest person in my home. I’m not the best at math, and neither is my husband. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to educate your child. Why? Because you can all learn TOGETHER, and you have Google and YouTube at your disposal.

 

My two oldest boys are better at math than me, thank God! My eldest is far more knowledgeable in the sciences and always speaks with a better vocabulary. Why? Because he is well-read and has a passion for biology. He loves reading about the human body and could tell me about the birds and the bees at seven years old because he studied anatomy books. By eleven, I had to find him a high school biology class online because he already knew everything taught in the lower-level classes.

 

With homeschooling, we can learn together, and in this day and age, we can utilize online resources to help educate our children in areas where we lack expertise. Now, if my son needs to learn SEO, entrepreneurship, or how to create a schedule, I’ve got his back. I won’t have to outsource those skills.

 

The amount of resources at our disposal as homeschool parents is dizzying, which is why choosing a curriculum isn’t the most important thing anymore. We have plenty of support in this area. The hard part is picking the right curriculum for our children and family situation. So, let’s jump into how to plan for homeschool.

 

How to plan for homeschool: The 5 most important things to think about


1. Homeschool state laws

Did you know that homeschooling requirements vary widely from state to state? It's a detail many parents might overlook. Some states simply require a straightforward notification letter, while others need annual reports, attendance records, tests, and even oversight from educational professionals.

 

To navigate these laws effectively, I recommend checking out HSLDA for detailed information. Understanding your state's regulations will play a crucial role in choosing the right curriculum for your homeschooling journey.

 

2. Crafting your family's schedule

Many new homeschooling parents dream of idyllic scenes—learning under oak trees, creating art at the dining table, or baking together. While these moments are part of homeschooling, daily life also includes chores, errands, and work commitments.

 

It's important to realistically assess the time you can dedicate to homeschooling and find where it fits in your routine. Like chores, homeschooling needs scheduled time for lessons and activities.

 

Drawing from leadership principles or CEO strategies can be helpful here. Running your homeschool like a well-organized business—building relationships with your "team" (your children) and empowering them—leads to a smoothly functioning educational environment. Consistency is key, and establishing routines ensures everyone knows what to expect.

 

For creating effective routines, consider downloading my Homeschool Family Schedule Templates and Mini-Training. These resources will help you establish seamless transitions and a clear schedule that supports both learning and daily life.

 

3. Family values

With the abundance of homeschooling resources available, we truly have the cream of the crop to choose from. Beyond understanding homeschooling laws and scheduling, it's crucial to define our family's core values.

 

Many parents have a general sense of what they want their family to embody, but few take the time to articulate specific values. In our household, our faith in Jesus Christ and a commitment to biblical teachings are paramount. We prioritize a curriculum and lifestyle that reflects these beliefs.

 

Other values we hold dear include fostering a culture of critical thinking and creativity, emphasizing hard work and excellence, and nurturing heartfelt connections. As you prepare to plan your homeschooling journey, reflecting on your family values can guide your curriculum choices and ensure alignment with your beliefs.

 

4. Homeschool vision

Many homeschooling leaders encourage new homeschool parents to figure out their why for homeschooling. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the top 3 reasons families are choosing homeschooling are:

 

  1. A concern about school safety, drugs, and negative peer pressure

  2. A desire to provide religious or moral education

  3. To keep the family together.


While these concerns often prompt families to homeschool, there's another crucial aspect to consider: your homeschool vision. What do you aspire to cultivate for your family through homeschooling?

 

Is it a unified family bond, meaningful conversations, academic rigor, or a strong sense of individual identity?

 

This is perhaps the most overlooked topic in homeschooling and can be the most influential when it comes to the environment you create in your home. Just as in business, a clear vision, mission, and culture are foundational to success. Once you establish what you aim to achieve through homeschooling and the legacy you want for your children, you can develop a cohesive mission that guides your curriculum and scheduling decisions.

 

Let's conclude by exploring how to effectively plan for homeschooling through thoughtful curriculum research.

 

5. Curriculum

As I've mentioned before, navigating the vast array of homeschooling curriculum options can be overwhelming, often leading parents to make unnecessary and costly mistakes. Many feel underqualified and believe that the right curriculum alone will solve their concerns.

 

While a well-designed curriculum is crucial, it won't magically instill confidence in you. Just as a teacher's confidence doesn't come from the textbooks they use but from their experience, systems, commitment, and tools, your confidence in homeschooling will stem from these factors too.

 

We've already covered how your parenting experience, established systems like schedules and values, and your homeschooling vision prepare you to educate your child effectively. Now, it's time to focus on choosing the right tools—the curriculum.

 

So, how do you find a curriculum that aligns with your state laws, fits into your schedule, reflects your values, and supports your homeschooling vision? Start by seeking recommendations from fellow homeschoolers you trust. Explore local homeschool or Christian bookstores, join homeschooling groups on Facebook, and attend homeschooling conferences where you can see and touch the curriculum firsthand.

 

Don't rely solely on Google, which can overwhelm you with information. Instead, connect directly with curriculum providers, whether they're large companies like Saxon Math or smaller, specialized providers. Reach out via email or attend their workshops to understand what makes their curriculum unique.

 

Whether you're starting homeschooling soon or refining your plans for the next school year, begin today with these steps. For those needing detailed guidance, join my upcoming live event, "Plan Your Homeschool Year Like a Boss," where I'll share effective planning strategies and help you establish a solid homeschooling routine.


If you're feeling overwhelmed by the online curriculum options and prefer expert guidance, consider my Easy Button Christian Homeschool Program for grades pre-K through 5th. Let's simplify your homeschool journey together and feel the relief of hitting the easy button!

 

Happy Homeschooling!

 

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Amanda Schenkenberger

 

Amanda Schenkenberger, Homeschool Coach

Amanda Schenkenberger is a dedicated homeschool coach and mother of four boys, leveraging her personal experience as a former homeschooled individual to empower other moms. Through her Homeschool Family Legacy programs, Amanda helps families transform chaos into confidence, fostering strong bonds and academic excellence. With a focus on creating supportive schedules and nurturing joyful connections, she guides moms in educating curious minds and cultivating courageous spirits. Amanda's mission is to help families experience freedom and fun without compromising their children's futures. Join her community and discover the transformative power of confident homeschooling.

 

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