So you’ve decided that homeschooling is for you and your child. What next?

To get their feet wet and gain experience without pressure, some parents begin when the child is at the K1 level, two years before MOE approval is required.

Others pull their children out of school after they’ve had a year or two to explore and ready themselves. Veteran homeschoolers attest to it being a multi-faceted endeavor that impacts your entire family’s life. So, give yourself plenty of time, make changes gradually or in stages, and expect it to be an on-going process.

Daughter and mummy reading a book

10 Homeschooling Tips For New Parents

With that in mind, consider the following as areas to work out (obtaining MOE approval aside), rather than a checklist to complete.

1. Perhaps the most concrete step is to apply to Comulsary Education Unit for a certificate confirming that the child has been exempted from Complusary Education

The window to do so is July-October the year before your child is to enter P1. You’ll have to submit an application form, including parents’ CVs, a proposed curriculum and timetable, and reasons for homeschooling. Shortly after, an MOE officer will conduct a home visit, and thereafter, you will be informed about the outcome.

Update: Homeschooled kids must sit new MOE test at Primary 4

2. If both spouses have been working, you’ll need to make adjustments to transition to a single income

calculating your finances

Pare down your lifestyle, streamline your expenses, set up a budget.

3. Read up and research

Get to know the different curriculums, approaches and styles, etc. There is no shortage of websites, books and blogs on homeschooling. Use Pinterest and Google as your starting points. As you explore you’ll begin to get a feel for what might work for you.

4. Connect with the local homeschooling community

They are crucial for parent support, sharing of resources and mutual learning. They will also likely be your child’s primary, though not the only, environment for peer socialization. A good entry point are local homeschooling groups on Facebook and Yahoo.

5. The curriculum you submit for the MOE application can be helpful as tracks for starting out

As you continue, though, you will likely find that your preferences and needs evolve, and so will your approach. Many homeschoolers develop their own unique combination from a variety of sources. Curriculums can be expensive; borrow from others, try them out, see what works for you.

6. Develop a schedule – not just a timetable for homeschooling activities, but a plan for how you order your time as a family

What routines and rhythms would enable everyone to thrive and function optimally? What are your preferred bedtimes, wake-up times, when are the kids most alert and attentive, when do parents get ‘couple time’, and when is mummy’s all-important time for recharging, etc.? Some need a fixed daily routine, while others crave variety from day to day.

7. Prepare your environment

Study light for children

De-clutter. Set up storage for books, materials and supplies. It’s helpful when everything is in one place, and organized so you can pull things out and tidy up easily and quickly. Make sure your child can access his/her things readily. Designate a space for table work, and your own space to prepare for lessons and activities.

8. Prepare your child

If the child is already in primary school, discuss things with them, give them a chance to sort out their feelings . You might expose them to homeschool community and activities even before pulling them out. If you’re starting at preschool level, continuing on to P1 will be no transition at all. Whatever the age, bond with your child & develop rapport – get to know your child, be his/her playmate & learning partner.

9. Develop personal support system

Baby-sitting options you can rely on regularly can be important, as homeschooling parents don’t get the daily breaks that parents of school-going children do. You may opt to hire a domestic helper, so you are able to focus more on homeschooling responsibilities. Seek out friends, homeschoolers or otherwise, who encourage you and help you stay sane.

10. Think through your long-term goals

New Year Resolution SMART way

Develop a vision for what you want homeschool life to be about. If you’ve chosen to homeschool, it’s likely academic learning is only part of the puzzle. The clarity will help guide you as you develop & fine-tune your homeschooling down the line.

Homeschooling can be such a daunting venture, with so much to work out and such high stakes, but seasoned homeschoolers are quick to encourage newbies not to let it overwhelm you. As one of them declares, “… Non-homeschool parents won’t ever understand the reality of homeschool until they are in it. So don’t worry about preparation too much. Jump into homeschool and figure it out along the way – that’s how we do it!”

By Sara Rognstad

Homeschool Series:
Part 1: Should You Homeschool In Singapore?
Part 2: Homeschooling In Singapore
Part 3: Is Homeschooling For You And Your Child?
Part 4: The Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling
Part 5: Resources For Homeschool Parents

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