Homeschooling for Newbies - How to Get Started

Are you new to homeschooling?  This article will tell you how to get started, for your  kids or teens. Included are tips for choosing your own frugal homeschool curriculum and more. From a veteran homeschooler, who graduated her daughter and helped her get into each of the colleges that she applied to. 

Are you considering homeschooling your kids/teens for the first time?  With all the recent changes in the pubic schools regarding covid-19, many parents are considering homeschooling and we welcome you. 

When my husband and I began to think about homeschooling, we knew we needed to educate ourselves first. But how do you do that?  

Instead of googling "homeschooling" and looking through tons of links, I would like to share with you how we got started, the first year that we homeschooled our dear daughter, at age 4.

Today I would like to discuss:

  • Educating ourselves on homeschooling
  • Finding your state homeschool law
  • What homeschooling might look like
  • Choosing your homeschool curriculum
  • Finding homeschool support
SO let's go ahead and talk about how we educated ourselves, as newbie homeschoolers.....


Our 4yo was more than ready and eager to learn, and would not be able to start kindergarten until she was 6, due to a late birthday.
We had been thinking about homeschooling for awhile, but did not know the particulars that would be involved.

So we headed to the bookstore, to read up on homeschooling.  One of my favorite resources there, was the The Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling 

It was  full of tips and how to’s for getting started.  Here’s the link to my review of this book.  The Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling That was a big help.
Next, my sister introduced us to her homeschool support group, and there we found out all our our state law, and met others who encouraged us on our journey.

Finding out about your state law is an important step to take.  To learn about your state homeschooling law, check out my post on Homeschooling in Washington", which is full of info on many state’s homeschooling laws.


To find out your state's homeschool requirements, a good source is the site called HSLDA, which lists that information here.

It is important that you follow the homeschool regulations for your state. They will explain what to do to notify the public schools that you are homeschooling.  

When I first looked at that site, I was overwhelmed.  But I found out that it was not hard to deal with our law.

In many states, homeschooling gives families the freedom to choose what curriculum they want to use.  Most states also ask for annual testing to be done.


But what does homeschooling really look like?

Do families study at the kitchen table all day?

We found out that homeschooling could happen everywhere;
At the park, cuddling with a good book on the couch, in the car, and of course on field trips, exploring science in the backyard, etc. 

Where Our Homeschool Happens shows how we do it at BJ’s Homeschool and it was different everyday.

Then there’s the curriculum question.....


With some many homeschool curriculum choices out there, it can feel overwhelming. One way to find your curriculum is to inquire in one of our many homeschooling groups on Facebook.  Here are two more ways to go, both very established sources for homeschool curriculum:
If you are looking for homeschool curricula ideas, there is a site called Cathy Duffy Reviews, that has been going strong for years, and has reviews on most everything homeschool related right ther
I also write homeschool curriculum reviews on a site called The Curriculum Choice, which features reviews by homeschool moms who have used the resources in their homeschools.
Here’s a peek into our favorite curricula for:

- First Grade (with adhd)
- Elementary
- Middle School
High school

which include secular resources, and some faith based ones, too. 
Our own homeschooling method was developed over the years, and focuses on hand-on learning,  child-led exploration, while covering the bases of a quality strong education.

We loved Oak Meadow for some of our elementary years. It focuses on project based learning with a gentle, creative approach to learning, similar to Charlotte Mason.
For your first curriculum, I encourage you to make your best guess, and chose something to try, and get started with that.

Watch how your kids react to it, and go from there.

And reach out, to experienced homeschoolers, homeschool groups on facebook, the author’s blogs from The Curriculum Choice, online resources, or for a little Homeschool Help.

You know your kids best!  You can do this!


This really should have been at the top of the list!  Support is so important for starting out, for the kids and especially for us moms.

We found a local Homeschool Support group in our area. There we met lots of experienced homeschooling moms, who helped us a lot.  If you want to connect with one in your area, this site might help.

You are also invited to join my encouraging group for high school moms, called at Homeschooling through High School.  Lots of moms just like you there, sharing triumphs and challenges.  Get your questions answered there, too.  

Feel free to Join us here.

For families who are planning to put your kids back in school when the pandemic is over:

If you are, and planning to homeschool for just a year, it may be wise to check with your local school to see what their policies are for re-admission.

Most public schools will place homeschooled kids back into school based on their age at the time.

For teens going back to public school:

For high schoolers that can be more complicated, as many public high schools have certain policies re accepting homeschool credits.

In our family, we homeschooled through high school, and my daughter then went onto college, getting into each of the colleges that she applied to, with her homeschool transcript.

What about college?  How do homeschoolers apply to college?

Colleges accept homeschool credits and homeschool transcripts all over the country.  I don't know of any that do not accept homeschool transcripts.
Are you homeschooling a high schooler this year? 
All the details that you need to plan your high school at home are in my guide to homeschooling high school below.  If you are wanting to learn:
  • how to make your teen's transcripts
  •  assign homeschool high school credit
  • choose their homeschool curriculum
  • and learn now to apply to college
You can find my tips for that here:

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition.

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