When is the best age to start homeschooling? You will hear many suggestions, but we like to offer you a few starting points to consider.
The ideal age to start homeschooling is 5 years old in our case. Children at this age can communicate their feelings, take instructions well, concentrate, and are curious to learn new things. When they are able to self-regulate or they are ready for reading this is also a good age to homeschool.
Start Homeschooling at Birth
You can start to homeschool your child after birth and please let me explain. At this young age, your child, or I should say your baby is going to learn many things from you during their life. Why not consider this first day at home your new beginning for homeschooling? This is just a mindset, and you can begin to consider your child’s education from birth. Homeschooling is a family lifestyle that you can begin at a very early age, and we don’t mean to start with the multiplication tables. You can begin to get yourself ready and introduce the family to homeschool.
If you have the luxury of starting this early, you are going to have a much easier journey to homeschool. This is a new lifestyle for many families, especially if they are used to traditional schools. Maybe you have gone through a public or private school, so homeschooling is new for you. So the earlier you start the better because we are so used to compulsory school or traditional school, that we might need some extra time to get used to it. A gradual introduction is an ideal scenario for you and your child. If your spouse can assist you that would be perfect.
Start Homeschooling in The Evenings at Age 5
What age to start homeschooling may be considered when you have a chance to do it in the evenings. We did this when our son was around age 5 and was in kindergarten. This was in the early phases of homeschooling introduction. So we didn’t need much time to do our lessons. Most of the work we did with our son was on phonics, writing the letters and words, and some math worksheets. We also worked with manipulatives and addition tables. These are the basics your child will need to start to do serious full-time homeschooling.
This age is perfect because if you are also new to homeschool, you may not even know how to teach very well. You might also need to learn how to teach your child! When you start with these basic subjects and lessons you give yourself valuable experience and build your confidence. This also helps ease your child into homeschooling. They will begin to look forward to learning with you and do something they hear their teachers at kindergarten talk about, school work. In our son’s kindergarten, they do introduce kids to school by telling them what it’s like in the classroom. And they also describe how they need to wake up early, get ready and how they will need to do their homework after school.
When their Literacy Skills are Ready, Start Homeschooling
You will find that many educators recommend a child should be ready to read before they enter the first grade. Doctors also say that some kids can learn around 4 to 5 years of age. Others by 6 to 7 years old. We began introducing the letters at a very early age. Where we live abroad, in Taiwan, kids are exposed to the alphabet in preschool. So it was natural to start this early. We also bought some phonics books Explode the Code and this was fun and our son enjoyed it. It helps with phonics, of course, and helps introduce writing and tracing skills.
We also combined this with learning how to draw at an early age. Why? Well, because our son loves to draw so we found another amazing book, Drawing with Kids, by Mona Brookes. It outlines how to draw by teaching kids of any age the basic elements of shape. The method breaks down drawing into a format of 5 elements of shape and shows how to use them to draw. I think it has also helped our son be able to write better and he certainty has fund drawing birds, lions, and other animals. When your child becomes literate and can draw or write letters you can begin to homeschool.
Start Homeschooling By Reading to Them
You can start homeschooling by reading to them to develop their love for reading. Teaching reading is essential for homeschooling because it is the basis for all subjects in the future. It wasn’t obvious to me at first, but I learned about it when was exploring and just learning about homeschooling. I found this amazing and clear homeschooling resource, The Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer Wise. It outlines the whole homeschool process from birth through high school. It outlines the resources, schedules, and basic subjects you need to learn and teach.
It was so helpful and is based on one of the most proficient methods of education, the classical method of homeschool. You can learn about the Styles of Homeschooling from this super outline on Parents. My first experience of teaching reading was quite amazing since this was not something I had done before. Once we learned about Bob Books we picked up a used set from a local parent. What surprised me was that the Bob Books series of stories are all simple 3-word stories. This means that are made for kids to be able to start reading almost immediately if they are familiar with the letters.
My son started reading almost immediately from Book 1 and we love them. You can also take them with your anywhere and even on a Kindle or smartphone. We read them while we are waiting for dinner at a restaurant or whenever we have a spare moment. Starting homeschooling when they are at the age of reading is almost perfect. You will both enjoy it!
Start Homeschooling at the Age of Self-Regulation
When your kids are the age of self-regulation, this is a good time to start homeschooling. Imagine that you are trying to teach something to a 2-year old and they just go nuts and fly around the room? Well, this is a scenario if they don’t have any self-regulation yet. When children are around age 5, they usually have developed some self-regulation and can control themselves fairly well.
“As preschool and kindergarten have evolved in focus across the last few decades from social-emotional skills to more academic skills, it is critical to remember that social-emotional development such as self-regulation development can have long-lasting impacts on children’s school readiness and success, including academic success”The Development of Self-Regulation across Early Childhood
I didn’t know what self-regulation really was until I began researching homeschooling for my own purposes. To make homeschooling a better transition, you must have a good relationship with your child. Certainly makes sense, right? You should be able to communicate, give instructions and your child should be able to follow your instructions. This is the same if they were to enter first grade. Some kids may need some help with this and we like an article we found that shows you how to help them. At this age, when they can control themselves is ideal for homeschooling. Any earlier and you may find yourself requiring immense amounts of patience.
You Can Start Homeschooling After Kindergarten
Our experience shows that starting homeschooling after kindergarten may be a wise choice. Let us explain our views. When you are a new parent, there are many aspects of raising a young child that best requires knowledge, experience, patience, and lots of other kids! Where we live, we found an excellent Montessori based preschool and an Episcopal Kindergarten. They did an absolutely perfect job of helping us raise our son into a well-adjusted and behaved little boy.
Kids just seem to do well in this kind of environment with other kids.
My son looks forward to going to school and we feel so happy we could have this during the past few years of his childhood. We believe that this socialization was also helpful and we can see a difference in his behavior around others or by himself. He seems more confident and gets along well with others. He has decent self-regulation and we also work on that! In kindergarten, he is also learning about the next stage in his life. They are gradually introducing what elementary school will be like. How they will be learning, going to school, and how they need to be with their teacher.
Our son also realized we will be homeschooling him and he has begun to grasp the differences. We have taken the time to acclimate him to this environment. But we believe that kindergarten has helped us get through an important and sometimes difficult stage of kids’ development. Personally for me, as a dad, screaming and crying kids can drive me nuts. But I have been able to avoid it mostly by them being in kindergarten, not at home! This is just our situation but we’d recommend it to anyone who is in a similar position. When your child is finished with kindergarten you can homeschool them. It’s a great time to start before they have been introduced to traditional schools!
Start Homeschooling After Primary School Socialization
Start homeschooling right after primary school because of the socialization. You might be concerned your child will be lonely. Or maybe they won’t have the proper amount of socialization. Then do it after they have been through elementary and middle school. We’ve recently met a homeschooling family that did just this. They said that they were worried their daughters wanted to be with other teens as they grew up. There were many “teen” issues they wanted to learn about besides algebra and geometry.
Doing homeschooling for K-5 may be smart since this is the basis and foundation of your child’s education. This is a very critical stage of their childhood that you can participate in since you did homeschooling. The secondary education or the next stage will be mainly focused on their career or field of study. If your teen is like mine, they have no idea what they want to do! My daughter took 1 semester off to do homeschooling before she found her desired high school, which was a boarding school. I respect her decision and she is now enjoying herself in a traditional school. One thing I have learned from homeschooling is you have to learn to be flexible!
Start Homeschooling When You Both Have Time to Try
You can begin to homeschool at the age when both you and your spouse have time. This may not always be possible, but let me assure you that it’s best. I am a father of 3 kids, and when my wife told me we should do homeschooling, I didn’t know what to say, but I trust my wife who is a trained musical education teacher. After we talked it over, I made the time to work on this new venture. I jumped in and took over to research everything I could about homeschooling. And I subsequently started this homeschooling resource website Dad Cares Too to focus on helping ourselves and others!
I make time to assist and lead my wife in homeschooling. At least I think I am leading my wife, but she has real teaching experience and a degree. However, I believe we should start homeschooling at the age of when we both manage our schedule together. It makes obvious sense to teach our son together. I want us to be an inspiration to our child and we should be fully capable, well-rested, and have the time to dedicate ourselves to this journey called homeschooling. It’s the ideal situation and we highly recommend this team approach!
Try to Start Homeschooling on The Weekends
When the age is right to homeschool on the weekends, we feel this is also a good time to do it in the beginning. Our family is a believer in a gradual introduction to this lifestyle because it is the most natural way to begin homeschooling. When everyone is relaxed is a great time to try these new things. If your child is already in school, perhaps in public or private, then the weekend is an ideal time. You won’t overload them and you can all be a part of it in a fun way. Introduce the idea with 1 subject at a time. Who said you have to do it full time?
Maybe your child is having difficulty in a, particularly difficult subject? Then find a curriculum that you can introduce on the weekend for supplemental work. Find a way to prepare yourself and the materials during the week. You can propose this new activity as a way to help and do this early as well. The gradual nature of it can ease the anxiety of homeschooling and it can ut your child at ease. If your child is not in school yet, or they are in kindergarten this is an opportune time as well. Think of this method as an ideal method at any age to begin your homeschool mission.
You might also need to do this if both parents need to work. Check this article out that outlines this helpful way to schedule homeschooling on the weekends.
Do Homeschooling at Any Age if They Are Being Bullied
If your child is being bullied and there are no other solutions, then maybe it’s the right time to homeschool. At this age, in their word, they need to feel safe and secure for a good mindset for learning. A love for learning cannot be fostered if they are in constant fear of being beaten with words or fists. You can reference this helpful website with all the details about bullying and the trauma it leaves.
“Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.”www.stopbullying.gov
When I was in fifth grade, I changed to a new school. I was fitting in just fine. But then someone found out my mom was born in Taiwan. They started making fun of me for about a semester. Finally, it culminated in a big fistfight and I won! And then that was the end of it. The bully quit his antics and life went back to normal. But honestly, every day before I went to school I would feel anxiety. Some days I just felt so shameful and didn’t want to go to school. If I could do homeschooling, I would have switched in a heartbeat for that semester!
No matter what age you decide to homeschool, just remember that it provides flexibility for your family and provides an excellent education. You will have a new sense of freedom and your relationship will improve as you BOTH grow and learn together! Did you think only your child will learn something from homeschooling?