First things first. Always start with prayer, Bible reading, and Scripture memorization, no matter what. This has a huge impact on the rest of your day, and shows your children what matters most. We use the One Year Bible for Children and learn one verse per week (of my choosing).
Cover the basics. Bible, Math, Language Arts. That’s it. Don’t worry too much–at least at first–about all the electives. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed about all you could teach your children. Just get the “Three R’s” covered, and supplement with ‘living books’ to peak their interest in further subjects.
Follow the rules (state laws). Every state has different laws that pertain to homeschooling: you may need only to select a church-related school, or you may have to jump through flaming hoops on roller skates (hopefully the former). Go to the HSLDA website to find out what your state requires.
Have a plan. Decide now how much of each subject you want to accomplish per week, and estimate how long it will take. Think about how this will fit into your day. A great book to help find a schedule that works is Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell. I use this, and love it.
Find a network. Google your city and “home school support group” and see what comes up. You may also consider an online support group or email loop, where you can ask questions and partake in discussions about everything homeschool-related. Yahoo groups are a good resource. I can’t stress enough how much it helps me to bounce things off other homeschooling moms. We’re all in this together!
Study. To put it in perspective, people spend years studying how to teach one age group–even one class! You will be teaching your child every subject, and if you’re like most homeschool families, multiple levels at the same time. Research what’s out there and available to help you teach, and to inspire your kids to learn. You can do it!
Housework is schoolwork. Don’t underestimate the power of a chore done right! Your children will learn the pleasure of consistency and neatness by doing laundry, math/measuring by helping you cook, physics by vacuuming and biology by disinfecting toilets…;)
You’re in control. Too much too soon? Slow down. Are your kids bored to death? Speed up. It’s your foot on the gas.
It’s OK to quit. If you decide a certain curriculum isn’t working for you, stop using it and find what works. This is why you homeschool!
Foot off the brake! There are lots of ‘right’ ways to teach a given concept, and there are innumerable online resources to tell you how. Decide which direction you’re going, and hit the gas. Just do it!
Pat yourself on the back. You’re doing a good work, and though it’s not easy, it’s worth it!