When Should You Start To Homeschool?

When Should You Start To Homeschool

It’s funny. I never even fathomed the idea of homeschooling my kids when I was little.  I dreamed about what it would be like to be a wife and mom, but in those dreams at around 4 or 5, my kids were in school. Well, hubby and I have decided that homeschooling our kids is something we really would prefer to do for many reasons.  So after my son’s first year, I started to wonder when should you start to homeschool?

At the moment, my son is only 20 months old, so I wasn’t sure when to actually begin formally homeschooling him.  Would it be practical to start at 4 since that is when I started preschool? But then I learned that my state doesn’t require your child to be registered until he or she is 6.  You can learn about the rules and getting legal support in your state here.  I am about 4 years away from my first born being 6 so I can bookmark this for later, but this still didn’t answer my question as to when I should start.  I was confused.
So I started to read forums and do searches for toddler activities.  Most activities seemed to be more suited for older toddlers.  And then, I came across a few forums that really put things into perspective for me.  I realized that all parents homeschool their children.  Even after your kids go to school, you don’t stop teaching them life lessons because they are attending school. Homeschooling is a lifestyle. It’s not about having a formal, confined room to teach your children their ABCs or how to count and learn shapes and colors as it is about teaching them these things and so many other lessons through everyday circumstances.
There are crafts that you can do if you want ideas to get you started.  I frequently pin all types and crafts and activities on The Kids Corner board that I have on Pinterest.
I was happy that I did my research because I’m confident that JR and I are doing great things each day to help him learn.  Here are some things we are doing below at his age:
- He thinks he colors. I bought him coloring books and crayons.  I have to watch him with it because he tries to put the crayons in υγιή χάπια his mouth sometimes.
- We have flash cards so I can show him images and get him to repeat words.
- I read to him. Usually they are short stories in hard covers so they can last longer.
- We have stickers and he likes to put them on construction paper.
- We play together with some old household containers and objects apart from just his toys and cars.  Talking during this playtime together is great for language skills.
- He helps me with laundry and any other chores around the house that he can like moving the rugs out of the bathroom so I can clean.  I use natural cleaners now so I’m not too hysterical about him hanging around while I clean this particular area.
- He also knows how to use the iPad. He watches educational shows on PBS that help kids to read and that teach great concepts about life.  We plan on getting him ABC Mouse at around 2 years old.
- When we go outside I talk to him about nature and the different things that he sees.
You see, our homeschool journey has already begun.
Did you have any preconceived notions about homeschool before reading this? 
As a homeschooler, since all parents are, what are some fun things that you’ve done with your kids that you noticed right away taught them something? 
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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  • Not a homeschooler myself (my girls go to pre-school), but I still do many of the things you spoke of here today with my girls when they are home. So, I truly think it is all about the time you give to your kids and how much you do try to teach them yourself. At least that is how I look at it here, but would love to hear more about homeschooling, because it is a topic that does fascinate me.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      I bet you've come across a lot of homeschoolers since you became a blogger. I love reading all about their journeys and how they do it. I, too, am very fascinated by it all. Looking forward to sharing how we do things on our journey, too.

  • Great post! And I totally agree – All parents homeschool their kids! And I didn't start a "formal" homeschool preschool until this year when my twins were 3.5. I'm doing it only once a week with two other moms, and we rotate teaching, basing our lessons on a letter of the alphabet. We keep it super simple. But between lessons, i'm still teaching them. I still read to them, color with them, cook with them, and a host of other things.

    I am so excited about our homeschooling journey!

    • Brittnei Washington

      Katelyn, that sounds like a lot of fun. If I meet moms that have similar views to me and similar ideas about what they want to incorporate in their homeschool curriculum, I think that would be so awesome. And look at that! You are getting some great social time with other moms and your kids are too!

  • I agree – you have already started. I don't homeschool but when my boys were little we turned many opportunities into learning opportunities!!!
    You are an awesome Mama!!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Thanks so much, Kim! I'm really excited about the whole journey. I plan on taking my kids on many fun trips, too.

  • Great post–homeschooling really does start with learning about our everyday lives! You make me excited about the homeschooling possibilities for my daughter when she gets a tiny bit older. :)
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Oh Natalie, I'm so glad for you. There is just way to many possibilities I feel like for homeschooling. I can control exactly how I want to it go without having to micro-manage a school. I also care about things concerning my faith and morals. With all that has been in the news with changes and things they are doing, I just feel like the intent of most schools will be to deter my kids from having a strong sense of their faith which is very important for me to instill in them as they grow :)

  • My friend has something she calls "Sneaky Homeschooling" or something like that, in which she creates fun learning experiences at home for her son. He's also in preschool.
    It's not an option for our family, because I…am not a patient person and I honestly don't have it in me. I need that space for my kids to be in school away from me.
    HOWEVER, I think there are tons of wonderful benefits to it and I would never stop to question anyone else doing so.
    My recent post Something So Simple.

    • Brittnei Washington

      I definitely felt like you did at one point so I definitely understand. With my beliefs having changed, it has definitely made me see everything different in my life. We also feel like with all that is going on and that is soon to come with education, that it's a must and that we don't have another option. I think if other people (even you xoxo) felt this way, they would be determined to do it like I am now :)

  • Thanks for the great post! It's true that all parents really do homeschool! I am in my 8th year of actual homeschooling and I love it. I love the freedom that it gives us to teach what we want to our kids and let them pursue their interests.
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  • I think it's great that you are starting to teach your son now. We also, homeschool and our kids are always learning something. I have even learned a lot since we started homeschooling. It's been a great experience for us and I'm looking forward to hearing more about you journey through the years.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Yes, I can learn a lot from you, Sonya so definitely look forward to me having some questions for you. I loved your multiplication workbook idea. :)

  • You have started and still allowing your child to have a childhood! Awesome
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  • You are absolutely right!! Learning doesn't have to happen in a classroom and with children his age, play is learning. They are like little sponges that just soak everything up! We will be homeschooling our children as well and I started tot school with my son in August of this year. We are going through simple things like letters, numbers and colors for now since he is only 2 but it still amazes me everyday how quickly he picks it up. Just find ways to use what you're learning during play time and he'll know it all before you know it :)
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Amber, I love your mindset. I am doing similar things. My son has started getting savvy with apps on the iPad so I am going to get set up with ABC Mouse probably around his 2nd birthday which is in a few months.

  • Keeping their mind stimulated, and building up to larger concepts is the way to go! Between home life and school my daughters learn so much!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Amy that is so amazing! I know a blogger who posts a lot of the activities she does at home with her daughter who goes to school, too.

  • I love to do fun educational activities with my son. Its fun to see the look in his eyes when he figures something out or learns something new.

  • We always take living and turn it into a learning experience. Learning is fun!

  • You are so right – the entire parenting experience is really homeschooling. I can't remember that far back to give you any examples though :)

    • Brittnei Washington

      Aw, it's ok, Dana. I bet there are still some lessons that you teach your kids even today. I think it seemed like a proud moment for my mom when she realized that I was listening and I got it. :)

  • It sounds like you are off to a great start. I don't think it's ever too soon to start teaching, especially through games.

  • I wish homeschooling would be common here in Spain. The educational system here is not the best one.

  • What a great post and makes total sense, I mean, if you think about it, we are our children's first teacher, whether we home school or not. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  • I used to place numbers and letters on the fridge and let the kids make words with me. They loved it.

  • I'm giggling at "he thinks he colors" ROFL

    • Brittnei Washington

      Lisa, you have no idea. And then when I try to color with him, he always tries to take all the crayons that I'm using so he can use it. LOL

  • This is a really informative post- thanks for sharing!

  • i homeschooled my daughter until she went to college and I loved every moment of it. I wish you lots of fun times in the future

    • Brittnei Washington

      That is so wonderful. I've learned that many people, even celebrities have been homeschooled. It's really an amazing thing.

  • I plan on homeschooling my own toddler as well. I have started her early with educational apps on my iPad and also with ABC Mouse which she just loves. I do plan on reading up a bit more about it though so when the time comes I'll be better prepared.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Yea, you have to know what the requirements are for your state. The HSDLA helps a lot. I plan on joining that. But I have a lot of research to do as far as what I will teach and when. I probably will start earlier but it will depend on if JR is ready. I'm going to get ABC Mouse when he turns 2 in a few months. But I plan on teaching him as he is ready. I'm looking forward to making our own schedules, learning in different environments and traveling to see things.

  • Great post, Brittnei!

    "Homeschooling" begins at home and at every age!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Thank you! And it continues! Parents will always have that responsibility no matter if the child goes to school or Sunday school :)

  • jennyatdapperhouse

    I was home schooled all through school – even high school. There are definite advantages in my opinion, if the parents can keep up with new ways of learning and new standards that are important for kids to know for testing and other things. I am an early child hood and elementary educator and I believe that learning begins at birth and ends never stops. Congrats on your decision.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Thanks, Jenny! That sounds so wonderful. Sounds like you will have a nice teaching background if you did decide to homeschool. The one thing I have learned about it is that I don't have to have a degree in teaching in order to be able to do it, which was nice to find out since I didn't take that route in college.

  • Formal homeschooling is something I want to consider but I really need to research on how it works here in the Phil. My son is a late talker I guess and I feel guilty because he doesn't have playmates at home that he can interact with and I/we may not have been talking with him that often coz we're often out to work. :( I'm afraid I'm not having enough time to help him learn. Ugh!! I need to do something about it though..
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    • Brittnei Washington

      You can definitely help your son with talking by just playing and interacting with him. We have time in the day where we just play and I talk to JR about everything. Don't let work stop you from doing whatever it is that he needs. I'm sure you will figure out a way to manage it all. I will be interested to see how things work in the Phil if you do decide to homeschool when he gets to their school age.

  • I personally never really considered homeschooling, but I so enjoyed coming up with educational but fun activities anyhow so I was basically supplementing their public school education at home anyhow.
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  • First let me say, I commend you for wanting to homeschool your son. I have three kids in public school(4th, 2nd and Kindergarten) and two kids at home that I “homeschool”(4& 2). I too have been looking into the technical aspects of homeschooling for one of my children and the first thing I was told was to check your state laws and find out what your homeschool options are. Once there you may also find a lot of resources to help you get started. As a teacher my natural instict was that all my kids would go to public or private school(where ever I taught) but LIFE happens and now I am reconsidering everything I thought my life would look like years ago. Good luck on your journey…I’ll be following. Oh, ABC Mouse is great even for a one year old…especially if you have ipad/touch screen technology…also look into starfall…it’s great as well.

    • Brittnei Washington

      Rachel, thank you so much for your sweet words and encouragement! We are definitely going to be getting ABC Mouse. I wanted to wait until he turned 2. He's been really getting a handle on these apps that he uses so I think he will be more than ready in the next 3 months.

  • Gracielle from http://www.mommya-z.com

    We didn't get very far when I tried to do structured homeschooling for my daughter when the local preschool was full. But we do various activities throughout the week to make sure we are constantly teaching and engaging with the kids. For example, we read to them every night. My son doesn't speak clearly, so we have him repeat words as we read to him each night. I also registered them for abcmouse.com and the love using the computer and doing the activities online!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      I definitely plan on doing ABC Mouse when JR turns 2. Homeschooling is definitely a lifestyle. I think the one thing I will like most about it is it's not structured. It was hard for me to comprehend that because I've gone to school and my mom's generation went to school and the generation before that…so no example of how it could be. We're going to have a lot of fun. I plan to share it on my blog as it unfolds :)

  • My son also has a while before he begins school, but my husband and I are already thinking and talking about it. We too, have discussed homeschooling, and will for sure be teaching our son various things well before he is school aged. To me, it's natural because that's how I was brought up. I didn't attend a formal pre-k or any type of program before starting kindergarten and I was more than prepared when I went. I never had any trouble in school, and that is thanks in largely to my mom who taught me so much before I began school. I totally agree that teaching kids at home early on is just as valuable as the formal education they will one day receive. If anything, it's sets them up for success in starting school and doing well.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      You are so right! We decided to homeschool ultimately because with the way things are and with the way they are going, we felt like we had no other choice. I'm not much of a teaching person at all, but you actually don't have to be in order to homeschool your kids. I'm looking forward to the unstructured, fun environments I'm going to create with my kiddies :)

  • We are really big into books and crafts around here. My daughter attends a Waldorf inspired school, and they promote learning through natural means that allow children to remain children for longer than regular public school would. For example, most of their learning is done through outdoor play and storytelling. A lot of emphasis is placed on handwork (felting, knitting, etc) to keep their minds working actively and creatively. She loves it! (So do I ;)
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Danielle, that sounds really nice. We plan on doing a lot of natural learning as well. I'm excited to be able to teach my kids through all types of circumstances :)

  • First of all! I had to laugh at.. "He thinks he colors…" JR knows he colors.. He is a coloring machine!! LOL But these are great tips. A lot of which I do with Marcel.. It is never a bad idea to educate your child from birth!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      LOL. Girl, you have no idea. I was just telling someone how he even takes the crayons from me because he just wants the crayons that I have. He's too funny. :)

  • I never considered homeschooling when my children were little. But looking back on it now, and reflecting on some of our experiences, I think today I would give it serious thought. Regardless, there are so many ways to enrich your kids lives at home, as you say. I felt that some of the best things we did with our girls was take them places.. learning geography and history especially are so much easier if you can see a place and walk the streets. Of course, your little guy is still a bit small for this, but an idea for the future!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      That's exactly what I plan to do with geography. I'm pretty excited for that. But that's definitely the idea I'm conveying here that learning doesn't have to stop at home just because you decided to send your kiddies to school :)

  • mamatomanyblessings

    Great post! I have been a homeschooler for 4 years. I have 5 kids – Learning starts from birth, I started homeschooling my kids at late 3 / early 4 years. My oldest is in 3rd grade. Homeschooting is such a blessing!
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  • my friend started homeschool preschool when her oldest was 2 1/2 or 3 i think. she's julie from http://www.ayearwithmomanddad.com
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  • Great questions… I always wanted to homeschool, but never did out of fear that I wasn't capable. I would think that starting around 2 or 3 would be a good time to start with fun play-time-type teaching of the basics like letters, numbers, shapes, colors?
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Hey Danielle, I'm definitely still afraid. It is the education of my kids that are in my hands, but I believe that God will give me the direction I need to really get it done. Thankfully, I don't have to have a degree in teaching to do it and we get to create our own curriculum and learning environments. :) My son isn't even 2 yet and we already go over that stuff you are talking about which is fun.

  • I have never thought of this either. Yesterday I was at this local pizza place that I frequent and the twins who looked about 10 or 11 were roller blading around the restaurant like usual. They are always there and I was wondering how the home schooling thing worked. My friend said they just have to make sure the work is done. Seems that it would be hard to structure and balance to me.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      There are so many curriculum out there and so many families pick and choose when and how they want to do things. The guidelines are not as tight as people think. I think the most intimidating thing about it for me was, we see that teachers have to go through schooling and training to do what they do, so it seems like to homeschool, you would have to do similar things. Thankfully, you don't have to get any degrees to homeschool. And there are so many different fun ways to learn and incorporate things into the day. For us, with our beliefs and the way things are and how they are to become, we feel like it is no other option. You know me, even though I had no desire to teach, I will do anything for my family. I think if other families felt the way we did about it, many wouldn't hesitate to make the same decision. :)

  • Hi Brittnei! I work outside the home full time so my children will also attend school outside the home but I definitely agree that learning starts at home. When my daughter was in the 1-2 age range we did things like "treasure hunts" for colors; so we found all the yellow items we could in the room, for example. We also look at picture books and my daughter points to items as I ask her and then she tells me the its color, sound it makes, etc. We also played with blocks with letters on them. I chose 2 blocks and asked which one is "T" and with only 2 letters she had a 50% chance of getting it right (to build confidence). As she got better with letter recognition I increased the # of blocks. Now that my first daughter is 3 we are doing more work with letters and numbers, finding opportunities to learn while we play. The other day I said to my husband, "Well, I'm not a teacher…" And my daughter said, "Mommy! You are a teacher – you're Teacher Mommy!" And that was quite rewarding!
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Julie, you are the perfect example of a parent that decides to send his or her child to school but still has ways of teaching and helping them outside of the classroom as well. I think a lot of parents do it, but probably in ways they don't even think about. :) Thanks for sharing your awesome experience with your kids and your family :)

  • I think it is great that many moms homeschool their children. I unfortunately don't have the patience but I do help with the homework though.
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    • Brittnei Washington

      Yea I used to feel like I wouldn't have the patience, but then we learned more about education and other things and we decided it was the only way. I think if other moms who were impatient like me felt this way, they could make the sacrifice and do what is best for their children. Apart from that, I do feel like "homeschooling" or should I say teaching our children doesn't cease even if we decide to send them to school or other places like Sunday School or Summer camps to learn. :)

  • I am a Mom to two boys who 5 and 7 years old as well as a girl who is 11; all go to public school and the 11 year old is well above average. Seriously she is at high school levels and has been since the past two years. I feel at times she is held back from her full educational potential even though the school does their best to challenge her. With my 7 year old, he has a mood disorder combined with anxiety which, while they mess with his medications, he struggles in school not educationally wise but socially wise. I hate to put him through that, and am truly debating if home schooling would be a better option for him. My five year old does okay in school minus his lack of focus but he did have a great week this past week. My oldest is now nearly begging me to home school here, sadly my ex boyfriend (her Dad) would have a say in whether I did it or not so I asked that she finish this year out then next year she goes to a different school for middle school so she is going to try that out and see if it's better. For now .. I am on the lookout for tips, advice and reasons why others may have pulled their child out of public into home school situations.

    • Brittnei Washington

      Brandy, I've definitely heard of families who didn't start out homeschooling who ended up doing it for various reasons like ones you expressed are going on with your kids. You should definitely check out homeschool blogs and see if there are homeschool groups around you to get some ideas of what others are doing to see what you like. There are tons of curriculum out there and you can also check what the requirements are in your area to make sure that you have them down for each age group, grade, etc. The HSDLA is a great resource. I have a link to their site in my post. Some say it's a lot of work, but I believe it is totally worth it, especially if it could be the best decision for your family. :) You sound to be in tune with what's going on with your kids. I hope it all goes well no matter how you decide to go about it all. :)

  • We have homeschooled on & off (our main reason for HSing has been my oldest son's Asthma). My youngest son is in kindergarten at the local public school & my older 2 are at home with me. I think a part of HSing is knowing what you can & can't handle and doing what is best for your kids (as well as yourself). My youngest son has social skills issues and being in the school has been the best thing for him.

    As far as when I started HSing, I always thought anything could be a learning experience but I didn't think of it as "homeschooling" back then. I would just have them look at prices of things at the grocery store & do simple addition or ask them how much more this cereal cost then another cereal. Trying to make it fun it important so it doesn't get boring :)

    BTW, I am Tara from A Spectacled Owl and I am part of your SITS Tribe :)
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