Kirby’s Kids: The Who, How, Where, and When of Your Homeschool

In the post Homeschool: Making the Decision to Homeschool we addressed the Why’s and the What’s of Homeschooling and if you are reading this post I’m guessing that you are still interested in this idea so we will get in a little bit deeper. But first I want to welcome you the ever growing Homeschool community!

You are probably chomping at the bit to find the right curriculum and resources but we have a little homework to do first.

Who will you Homeschool?

This question might seem a little silly because we know that you plan to homeschool your kids but have you given a lot of thought into this? What does he/she like to do? How do they learn best? What interests them? Do they have any special needs or concerns?

You really need to think about these questions and figure out what type of learner you have. If you have multiple children there may be a variety of different learning styles present.

There are some people who may be homeschooling grandchildren, step children, or other relatives so you probably need to check into the laws about this as well. Now would be a good time to research learning styles and teaching approaches so you can be prepared for any future challenges they may hold.

How will you Homeshool?

Another silly question, right? Not really as there are many different methods of homeschooling. The top methods include:

  • Charlotte Mason
  • Montessori
  • Ecletic/Relaxed
  • Classical
  • School At Home
  • Waldorf
  • Free Schooling
  • Unschooling

Confused yet? Don’t be just do your research and don’t be afraid to choose the wrong style because you can always change or use a mixture like we do. We use/have used a variety of all of these methods at some point in time. Do what works for you and your family. A boxed curriculum (School At Home)  may work best for one child while another may be better suited for a Montessori approach.

Each child’s needs will change as they grow and their learning style may adapt as well. Knowing a little about each of these methods could help with future planning and decisions.

Check out the internet and Pinterest for ideas and information.

Where will you Homeschool?

Yet another crazy question, I know. It is called Homeschool so you probably intend to school at home, right? Well, not everyone schools at home. Some people school on the road or on vacation. Sometimes kids travel back and forth between houses and school at both so this might not be as straightforward as it seems.

When I first started homeschooling I imagined it would look like school but at home. I tried to set up a little school area with a nice work area and a computer. Plus I had my desk where I could sit and watch the kids work. That didn’t last long.

I mean part of the reason I chose to homeschool was to make it a better environment for my kids. Making them sit still at a hard table wasn’t better. They weren’t happy and they complained, a lot. Just take a look around your house and decide where the best place might be. It probably needs to be as distraction free as possible but easily accessible too. Remember that you can always change your mind later.

As we became more comfortable with homeschooling my idea of how our homeschool should look relaxed, a lot. Most days we are found learning around the big dining table but sometimes we are piled on the bed, or the couch, or maybe sitting outside on the porch, and even the kitchen island has served as our homeschool area a time or two.

If you and your family need a structured learning space then by all means go for it, if you have the space to spare. If you are in a smaller space, like we currently are, then use the space you have. We use headphones to help drown out noises and sometimes we use cardboard dividers between the computers to provide a more personal space. It all depends on the day and what we are doing at the moment.

When will you Homeschool?

Whoa! What do I mean by when? Most people assume that homeschoolers get up early and start schoolwork. They also assume that they work for 5-6 hours or more a day on school work. This is not always the case.

When we first started I felt like we had to work several hours in order to accomplish what we should. The first program we used we would work 8-10 hours a day and still be behind. As time went on I realized that wasn’t the right program for us and we found another one to use.

Now on most days we are finished with our work in 3-4 hours a day. Some days may take longer while some may be even shorter. We also cut back our school week to 4 days a week. Gasp! I know… it felt like we were cheating at first but we found a schedule that worked for us and hopefully I’ll be able to share it with you soon.

You don’t have to homeschool like they do at school. If your kids learn better at night then homeschool in the evening. My older daughter did the majority of her work at night as she is a night owl and hated getting up early. (She now gets up early for work though.)

If your family’s schedule doesn’t work with a Monday-Friday schedule then find a schedule that works. Just keep in mind that some states have a requirements for how many days/hours that you must attend school.

Another thing to consider is that you don’t necessarily need to start school in August/September and end in May/June. You can start whenever you like and stop whenever you like. You can also plan breaks to coordinate with your schedules and vacations. Many families even school all year round to allow for longer breaks in between quarters. Do your research and try out a few ideas.

Note: Many first time homeschooling families will often do a test run during the summer to see if this is something they really want to do.

I do try to write down a tentative start/finish date so that I can keep myself accountable. I also try to pencil in important dates and events so we can plan around them.

That’s a lot of information for now and a lot to work on. If you have your notebook from the last post then use it to jot down some more notes and ideas that have come to you. Be sure to stayed tuned for the next post where I hope to cover the following:

  • Researching and Buying Homeschool Supplies
  • Setting Up a System for Organizing the Supplies
  • Finding a Planner or System for Your Homeschool

Here are a couple of books that cover these topics and more:

You can also check out my Kirby’s Kids page for some old posts and links that we have used in our homeschool.