When to Start Homeschooling

A lot of factors go into your decision of when to start homeschooling. The short answer: You should start homeschooling as soon as possible! Of course life isn’t so simple with work and other demands life sends your way. Below, I go over important considerations you should make when considering homeschool including the age of your child, how they did in regular school, and how ready you are.

Is Your Child The Right Age?

You will face different challenges depending on at what age you’re considering starting homeschool. In a sense, you’ve been homeschooling your little one since they were born: tummy time, crawling, walking, eating, and so on.

Often, homeschool for preschoolers and kindergarteners looks more like playtime and exploration than it does formal schooling. This can be a good time to ease into homeschooling and start the journey together with your child.

At elementary school ages, your child will be more independent and more effectively communicate their thoughts. Homeschool will have more formal lessons and subjects to cover. If you feel more comfortable working off a curriculum, this could be a good age to start.

In middle school, things may get more challenging as your child becomes a know-it-all begins to question authority. You will likely face some pushback on what you’re doing in class. As an added bonus, this can be where topics start getting a little more tricky. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember quadratic equations or geometric proofs off the top of my head (they haven’t really come up, at all). Starting homeschool here could be a challenge, but may be well worth it as you work on strong relationships during some of your child’s most vulnerable years.

High school is tough. Lots of defiance, challenging you as a parent, and ready (or so they think) for adulthood. Starting homeschool during these years might give you some great flexibility with extracurricular activities at this age. Plus, your child could possibly enroll in community college courses with that flexibility and get ahead on their degree.

High School homeschool
They’re so independent and cool!

Can Your Child Adapt to Homeschool?

If your child has already been in a traditional school for some time, adapting to homeschool might be difficult for them. Some kids simply crave being around other kids their own age. Some kids struggle to take instruction from their parents, while readily learning from a teacher. Maybe they’re just devastated to be away from the friends they’ve made.

None of this is to say that it’s impossible for these children. But these are considerations you should make. If they’re a little older, have a conversation about it with them to find out what they’re afraid of missing. You can also mitigate the impact of some of these problems by joining homeschool groups for social interaction and lessons from other people. I have an article on homeschool’s effect on social skills that talks a little more about this, if you want to learn more.

Are You Ready to Teach?

Any parent can teach homeschool. Whether a parent is ready to teach is another matter. Homeschooling is a big endeavor and takes significant commitment from you, as a parent. Are you willing to learn alongside your child? When you hit difficulties, will you do the extra work to find new ways to teach something that seems like it should be obvious and easily understood? Do you have the patience to do lessons with your child for three or four hours a day?

But if you are willing to do the work, put your child first, and humbly seek to grow and improve yourself along the way, you absolutely can have a successful homeschool.

Do You Have The Time to Teach?

Nowadays, a lot of families have both parents working to make ends meet. This doesn’t mean homeschooling is impossible. It can take as little as a few hours a day to keep making progress, and while the time commitment will likely increase as your child gets older, they’ll also be able to work more independently and not need you looking over their shoulder.

You also should consider the extra time you might need outside of actual teaching time: planning, learning topics before teaching them, researching, sanity breaks, etc. You’ll probably end up with some late nights getting things ready for the next day or week. Can you make that commitment with the other demands in your life?

Wrapping Up

Choosing when to start homeschool can be a tough decision. If you’re like me and my husband, you probably knew you wanted your kids to be homeschooled from the start. Others want to see how their child will do in a regular school before trying homeschool if it doesn’t work out. Many would like to homeschool, but life’s demands make it impossible for a time.

Regardless of where you are, if you believe the benefits of homeschool are worth the struggle, and you’re willing to do the work alongside your child, you can start homeschool at any time.

If this article helped you, sign up for my newsletter for more insights on teaching homeschool and fun learning games you can play with your kids. As an added bonus, I’ll give you a free copy of my state-by-state homeschool guide full of useful information and links about your state’s homeschool laws.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on social media. I’d love to hear from you!

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