How To Homeschool: Questions To Jumpstart Your Planning

Welcome to How To Homeschool—a series addressing all aspects of secular homeschooling. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

When I attended public school in the stone age {okay, the 1970s and 1980s} few educational options existed outside the classroom or public library. We used dry textbooks and very occasionally watched films—boring as all get out but still a refreshing change. 

Thankfully, choices have improved, and the majority of them are available for you to use at home. Now your biggest dilemma will likely be deciding among the abundance of possibilities.

Today I simply want to propose a few questions to jumpstart your planning. Answering these questions for yourself and your students will help you to focus your research and preparation time. With so many options, sometimes you just need a gentle prompt to get the ideas flowing. 

Sharpened colored pencils in order from light to dark form a semi-circle. Text reads: How to homeschool, questions to jumpstart your planning.

Spoiler Alert: This post will only assist you in narrowing down the kinds of resources that might fit best. I can give you questions to ponder, and offer general suggestions, but in reality once you get to the end of this post the real research begins.

Answering these questions for yourself and your students will help you to focus your research and preparation time. With so many options, sometimes you just need a gentle prompt to get the ideas flowing. Click To Tweet


Questions To Jumpstart Your Planning

  • Do you want a full curriculum, with every subject laid out for you and on the same grade level? 
  • Would you prefer an a la carte style curriculum, where you could mix and match levels?
  • Does the idea of creating your own curriculum sound fascinating or terrifying?
  • Will finances/budgeting be a primary motivator in your decision?
  • How involved do you want to be in the day-to-day lessons?
  • Is a teacher’s manual or answer key a necessity, or do you feel comfortable going it alone?
  • Does your student learn best through reading, listening, watching, or something else?
  • Are you equally okay with written versus video lessons, or are you biased toward one or the other?
  • Would a mostly book-based plan work for your family, or do you want more variety of sources?
  • Does the idea of doing school entirely online sound appealing or dry?
  • How do you feel about “hands on” work like art projects or experiments or models?
  • Do you need a certain amount of structure, or are you more go with the flow?
  • How comfortable are you with unschooling or very relaxed homeschooling? 
Open book with two pages wrapped into the shape of a heart. Text reads: How to homeschool, 
questions to jumpstart your planning.

How Much Direction Do You Need?

The more guidance you feel you need, or the more structure to your homeschool year you crave, the more likely you will be drawn to pre-packaged curriculum with a specific do this, then do that style. These sets typically include everything you need for one student for one year—books, workbooks, lesson plans, supplies, manipulatives, assessments. You simply need to implement the plan on the prescribed schedule. 

The more comfortable you feel with the uncertainty of forging your own path, the more likely you will be drawn to choosing your own eclectic methods. This might mean choosing curriculum for some subjects but not others, building your own plan from scratch, or simply being open to trying out a variety of options to see what fits. It could also mean forgoing a plan altogether and taking a more relaxed approach. 

Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers is a great place to peruse and research myriad print and online secular homeschooling resources. The Ultimate Guide To Secular Homeschool Curriculum also includes tons of suggestions for finding secular materials.


Depending on your answers, you can focus your research and begin to seek out fellow homeschoolers, homeschool bloggers, websites, etc. that cater to your needs. 

In the next installment we will take a look at developing a framework for what your homeschool will look like on a day-to-day basis. I encourage you to check out the other posts in the How To Homeschool series as well. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via our monthly e-mail newsletter here.

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