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5 Steps to an Easy Homeschool Start-Up + A Sample Letter of Intent!

Get started homeschooling with this easy-peasy 5 Step guide!

5 Steps to Get Started with Homeschooling pinterest pin girl writing

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These 5 easy-to-follow steps will walk you through what you need in order to get started with at-home learning!

Even if you live in one of the more highly regulated states like we do (New York) it's actually a simple and straightforward process.

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I am a former public school teacher and homeschooled my daughter from kindergarten through high school. It was truly never on my bucket list, but it's the way things went, and it was a good fit for my daughter and our family!

After reading this post, be sure to also check out our post on 25+ Best Homeschool Resources and Materials to be Successful for tried and true books and learning sites to get educational ball rolling!

 5 steps get started homeschooing School Girl sitting at table practicing writing with pencils and paper homeschooling guide

Families decide to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Regardless of your motivation, there are steps that you can take to ensure a smooth learning at home experience!

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Here are the five main steps with some other helpful tips and resources to get you started with at-home learning!

5 Steps to an Easy Peasy Homeschool Start-Up

1. Check your State's Homeschool Regulations

The very first thing you need to do is to check the homeschool regulations for your state.

Each state has their own set of guidelines for homeschooling. Some states have minimal requirements and others (like New York State) have more detailed guidelines in place.

Regardless which state and how many guidelines there are, navigating the homeschooling rules is really pretty straightforward.

To find your state's homeschool regulations, you can either do a Google search or visit the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) website. HSLDA has each state's regulations very clearly written out in an easy to navigate format. Click here to find your state.

Below is a screenshot from HSLDA's website to give you an idea of the information they have available.

In addition, HSLDA has a plethora of information and FAQs available to help find answers to your questions.

Note: My Kidz Bookshelf is not affiliated with HSLDA; we just find their site to be useful and easy to navigate.

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2. Decide on a Curriculum or Learning Approach

Regardless of your reason for deciding to homeschool, you will need a plan.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you get to decide which method or learning style will work best for you and your kids.

The basics need to be covered, but how you do it is up to you!

5 Steps Easy Peasy Homeschool start up

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Whether it's online, free, paid, hands-on, religious, secular--I could go on-there are plenty of home school curricula out there! Needless to say, there's no shortage! A quick search will yield numerous options!

This Is What Worked for Us...

When it came time for me to put together a homeschool plan, I found this book and used it as a curriculum guide.

I knew we needed to cover the subjects and subtopics, but didn't want to be tethered to a specific curriculum.

For Cenzia's entire homeschool experience (K-12) I used Rebecca Rupp's book, Home Learning Year by Year as a guide.

It is super helpful and it's the first book I recommend to people when asked about what we used!

As a former public school teacher, I had become pretty confident with finding what worked and what didn't quite cut the mustard! Home Learning Year by Year really checked all the boxes.

5 steps to start homeschooling Book Home Learning Year by Year -How to Design a Creative and Comprehensive Homeschool Curriculum by Rebecca Rupp

5 steps easy peasy homeschool start up

Why Home Learning Year by Year is a Great Go-To Guide for Homeschooling:

  • Home Learning Year by Year has every subject outlined for every year Pre-K through High School

  • All the bases are covered for every required subject.

  • Subtopics are also included for every subject at every grade level.

  • Curriculum options, websites, and other resources are offered as options.

  • Book lists, games, movies and other learning extension ideas are also given.

  • It also contains references for further homeschool reading, research, and discussion regarding frequently asked questions pertaining to specific subjects.

Home Learning Year by Year was an ideal choice for us because it outlined very clearly everything we needed to cover but gave us the flexibility to choose which resources, materials, etc. to use.

If you are looking for a fully prepackaged curriculum, however, there are a ton of them out there! You can choose an online learning experience or go traditional with pencils and books!

5 steps homeschool start up girl building something STEM project homeschool

For our homeschool experience, we did a little of both and added in plenty of field trips and experiences.

We are also asked frequently what materials we used and below are just a few that I wholeheartedly recommend!

Our 25+ Best Homeschool Resources and Materials to be Successful! It has all of our fave materials in one spot!

Get started homeschooling with 25 Best Homeschool Resources and Materials to be Successful

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3. Establish a Routine or Schedule

Homeschooling offers a lot of flexibility with how you structure your day.

Keep in mind that you are not going to need the same amount of time to get through the material at home as you would need in a traditional school setting!

5 Steps to start homeschooling old fashioned style alarm clock

Learning at home is pretty efficient for many reasons. There are far less kids than in a traditional classroom as well as less downtime for switching between classes, taking turns with other students, etc..

So, adjust your routine or schedule to make it work for you!

Don't feel the need to go from 8:30 - 3:10 with every minute accounted for!

Embrace the breathing room to give yourself a few minutes here and there and your kids will enjoy the flexibility as well!

It may take some time to getting used to this approach, but eventually going with the flow will indeed feel more natural!

For us, we tried to put the core subjects in the morning and be finished by noon because that just worked best.

We were freshest after breakfast for the more challenging concepts and didn't get burned out that way.

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Our afternoons were reserved for getting outside, artistic endeavors, extension activities, going to museums, bookstores, libraries, dance classes, Girl Scouts, getting together with other homeschoolers, etc.!

5 Steps to start Homeschooling girl on knees photographing craft supplies

Cenzia photographing images for her Stay Wavy craft blog post!

You and your kids can use the extra, new-found time to explore and expound upon their personal interests, excel at the subjects they're currently studying or get outside!

When Cenzia was in ninth grade, we started planning our blog and website and published it at the end of the school year. When she was in eleventh grade, we launched our Etsy shop!

4. Whether it's Online or In Person - Stay Connected!

This is very important for both the kids and the parent(s) doing the home instruction!

We have all heard a million times how important it is for homeschoolers to have socialization opportunities. I think it's actually just as important for the parent who is doing the homeschooling!

5 Steps to start homeschooling two boys on homemade skateboard laundry cars with watermelon helmets

Staying connected is definitely the answer. I am not a super social person and I still think this is tremendously important!

Whether it's a neighbor, friend or family member that also homeschools, it's really helpful to stay connected with someone who's in the same educational boat!

5 steps to start homeschooling kids walking on a trail in a park

If you don't have anyone you know that's going the homeschool route, take to Facebook and look up 'Homeschool Groups.'

Facebook Homeschool Groups are a fantastic resource when you have questions of any kind, need inspiration, are looking for socialization opportunities and more!

I'm in two New York State Homeschool groups. Both of these groups have proven to be very helpful!

5 Steps to start homeschooling three hands holding coffee beverage lattes

Reasons Why It's Important for Homeschooling Parents to Stay Connected:

  • Good support for any questions you may have

  • Great way to stay on top of things, i.e. regulation changes

  • A good resource to hear about local classes, activities, groups, etc.

  • If there are ever any problems with your paperwork, it's a fast way to find support and answers.

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5. Homeschooling Doesn't Mean You Have to Stay Home!

5 Steps to start homeschooling Dr. Seuss museum sculpture garden with the cat in the hat, Dr. Seuss and girl

Remember just because it's called homeschooling, it doesn't mean you have to spend your whole school day sitting at your dining room table!

5 steps to start homeschooling boy and girl kayaking on a lake homeschooling outside gym requirement

Here are some ways to enjoy the flexibility and other opportunities that make your homeschool journey fun!

  • Physical Education requirements don't have to be running laps & doing push-ups! Kids can bike, hike, ski, swim, dance, do gymnastics, golf, fencing, archery, martial arts, baseball, yoga or any other physical activity that they're interested in!

  • Visit a museum to explore more about a topic or as a great introduction to an upcoming subject!

  • Take a day trip! Pack a lunch, bring the books (or leave them home!) and pick a destination!

  • Get social with other homeschoolers; going on a hike or meeting up at a park is a great way to get together!

  • Visit a local point of interest - interesting architecture, outdoor gardens, a lake or mountain all make for perfect choices!

  • Take advantage of your local libraries. Libraries have a multitude of resources and knowledgeable staff to give suggestions for not only learning materials but they also have terrific programing.

  • Participating in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts is great for socialization and other learning connections.

  • Volunteering or doing community service is a terrific option for homeschoolers with their flexible schedules!

  • When available, attending or participating in the arts and performances is a fantastic way to learn about and enjoy the arts!

5 steps to get started homeschooling girl standing by The Very Hungry Caterpillar photo prop at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

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Many states require a Letter of Intent to homeschool.

If you are in New York State like us, here is the New York State website with all of the regulations and information for homeschooling.

Here is a sample of a Letter of Intent to Homeschool:

Letter of Intent to homeschool sample for New York State


5 steps to start homeschooling The mermaid by Jan Brett

Here is a sample of a Letter of Intent to Homeschool in New York State:

Letter of intent to home school in New York State

5 steps to start homeschooling Beach Day Packing List

Here's Our Easy Peasy Homeschool

Start-Up in a Nutshell

1. Check your State Regulations

2. Select a Curriculum or Learning Approach

3. Establish a Routine or Schedule

4. Stay Connected-whether it's In-Person or Online

5. Homeschooling Doesn't Mean You Have to Stay Home!

Here are some more of our posts that you may be interested in that may come in handy on your homeschool journey!

5 steps to easy peasy homes chooling Amazon Free Student 2 day prime shipping

I hope you found 5 Steps to Get Started With Homeschooling useful!

Be sure to Pin this post to save it for future reference!

5 Steps to Easy Peasy Home School Start-up + a Sample letter of Intent My Kidz Bookshelf

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Happy Homeschooling!


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Books, activities, free printables, and more to make learning fun!

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Updated on 01/09/2024. Originally published on 07/22/2020


My Kidz Bookshelf
My Kidz Bookshelf
Jul 23, 2020

Hi Vonsamson43! Thank you so much! We try! It's one of those things that seems daunting or tricky at first because it's new or different, but once you give it a try, it's actually quite doable!


Jul 23, 2020

You did a great job. Very complete & so informative. You're making a challenging situation more attainable.

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