Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started

So you’ve finally decided to homeschool…but have no clue where to get started? After thousands of emails asking for help getting started homeschooling, I thought a book that set it all out for you in a step-by-step format would a great benefit to new and current homeschoolers!

Homeschooling 101 is a step by step practical guide that will help you to get started, and continue on in your homeschooling journey. It is designed to help guide you through all of the steps to getting started, choosing and gathering curriculum, creating effective lesson plans, scheduling your day, organizing your home, staying the course and more! It even includes helpful homeschooling forms!


Just the mere thought of homeschooling can be a very daunting task. Delving into the unknown can also create an element of self-doubt that fills your mind right off the bat. That coupled with an overwhelming task of choosing and gathering curriculum, creating lesson plans, organizing supplies, and teaching multiple grade levels can be quite disheartening.

But don’t worry, in this book it is my intention to offer you a step by step practical guide that will help you to get started and continue on in your homeschooling journey. I will help guide you through all of the steps to getting started, choosing and gathering curriculum, creating effective lesson plans, scheduling your day, organizing your home, staying the course, and more!

As you may have heard already, there is no one right way to homeschool. This book is by no means a rigid set of rules that must be followed exactly. Instead it is a tool to provide you with the means to get started in your journey. Take from it what makes sense for your family, and alter that which needs to be changed to fit the unique needs of your homeschool.

I thought a quick glimpse at the table of contents would help give you an idea of all the valuable goodies included in this book.

  • Chapter 1: You’ve Decided to Homeschool… Now What?
  • Chapter 2: Choosing Curriculum
  • Chapter 3: Gathering Curriculum
  • Chapter 4: Homeschool Convention Tips
  • Chapter 5: Creating Effective Lesson Plans
  • Chapter 6: Getting Organized
  • Chapter 7; Starting School – Day 1
  • Chapter 8: Homeschooling Multiple Grades
  • Chapter 9: Homeschooling & Discipline
  • Chapter 10: Standardized Testing
  • Chapter 11: Homeschooling with Toddlers
  • Chapter 12: Homeschooling Your Preschooler
  • Chapter 13: Homeschooling Kindergarten & Elementary
  • Chapter 14: Homeschooling Jr. & High School
  • Chapter 15: Homeschooling on a Budget
  • Chapter 16: Starting Homeschool Midyear
  • Chapter 17: Switching Curriculum Midyear
  • Chapter 18: Homeschooling an Only Child
  • Chapter 19: Homeschooling & the Working Parent
  • Chapter 20: Homeschooling & Special Needs
  • Chapter 21: What about Socialization?
  • Chapter 22: Time Management & Keeping your Sanity
  • Chapter 23: Homeschool Burnout
  • Chapter 24: Staying the Course & Naysayers
  • Appendix (Helpful Homeschool Forms, including a FREE Lesson Planner!)
  • Resources & Links

Make no mistake, this is not a pamphlet full of fluff, instead it is full of helpful information, tools, and resources! I also did my best to include requests from my readers as well, so hopefully I covered most things related to homeschooling.

While I realize that all homeschools are different, new homeschooling families still need a tangible starting point. With over 100 pages of valuable information and tools, Homeschooling 101 will guide you through your homeschooling process!

There is also a free printable lesson planner in the Appendix for all of you who would like a little color added to your day!


And of course I added a TON of awesome homeschool planning forms to help you get organized!



Win it!

You know I wouldn’t release something this big without giving away a free copy to one of you! Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter to win!

Can’t wait?

UPDATED: This giveaway is now CLOSED.

Buy it now, then make sure to enter to win, and I’ll refund your purchase!

If you purchase from my store, you will receive a PDF downloadable version of this book.

Get your copy today for just $9.99!

(PDF Download)

Kindle Edition or Paperback available on
Kindle: $9.99
Paperback: $12.95

MAC USERS: If you are using a MAC computer, please make sure you open the PDF using Adobe Reader. Safari will open the document in ‘preview’ mode and then it won’t display or print properly.
 PLEASE NOTE: The Kindle and Print versions come with a link in the Appendix that will allow you to download the forms as a PDF file to your computer. That way you can print as needed!

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  1. I’m really looking forward to reading this! The chapter on choosing a curriculum will be so helpful to me, as well as how to create effective lesson plans.

  2. hmm…The question I would most like answered is how to keep mom & kids motivated. :)

  3. So excited to read this. Already downloaded to my ipad!

  4. So excited you wrote this! You’ve been so helpful to me on the begin going of our homeschool journey.

  5. Omg! So excited! Can’t believe you did it! Awesome!!! So inspiring! I guess I need to DO it. And KEEP it up… S difficult when I feel like I am alone in this. Thanks!

  6. Would love to win this as I am just starting my homeschooling journey. My biggest challenge is how to keep the young kids engaged/ focused with various learning activities.

  7. Choosing a curriculum is what I need help with.

  8. Can’t wait to read this! We will begin homeschooling this fall.

  9. I’m struggling right now with switching up our curriculum, mainly because I like to get my hands on them and we don’t have access to them. We live in a rural area and there just aren’t enough materials displays around. I’d love to see a curriculum comparison chart of some sort to give me better ideas about them without having to purchase one just to sample it!

  10. I would like to know how to deal with the school district policies and the naysayers who will undoubtedly give us a hard time about homeschooling.

  11. how to determine you and your child’s teaching/learning ‘style’

  12. Cynthia K. says:

    I would love to read this. I on a few of your curricula already, I’m sure I will love this as much.

  13. I would love to read more about going at your own pace…..not needing to finish the book, relaxing more, not doing “school” at home! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

  14. This presents so wonderfully comprehensive. I’m wondering about “legalities” – how to navigate the paperwork/documentation involved in homeschooling.

  15. Looks like a great book. I agree with some others, what about a chapter on motivation and year end evaluations.

  16. I would love to win this as we are starting homeschooling for the 2013-2014 school year! A great topic would be….How to make learning fun….or….Fun ideas for teaching.

  17. Looks great! I’m always interested in reading more about homeschooling different grade levels at once!

  18. Any area about organizing is my favorite!

  19. I’m most interested in learning about teaching different ages at once.

  20. ORDERED 😀 YAY! i love your products girl!

  21. I would love to read your thoughts on teaching multiple ages and burnout. That’s where I am right now. Though I’m not new to homeschooling, having six children, five of them ages seven and under, this mama is burnt out!

  22. I would love to have a chapter of the pros and cons to “boxed” curriculum and maybe some lists of different curriculum by subject. For example- these are LA programs, these are Reading programs, etc.

  23. Scheduling different grade levels is what I would love more info on. Thanks!

  24. Looking forward to reading the different grades level

  25. Christie H. says:

    Right now the question I would like most addressed in this book is how to find the balance between too much and too little. I find so much great information on the internet and have found so many wonderful resources that it gets overwhelming trying to figure out how to par it down to create a good curriculum.

  26. Christi Saragosa says:

    I would like to know more about teaching life skills and special education.

  27. Lori Harvey says:

    I am hoping to utilize the forms and get help with burn-out ideas and encouragement.
    lorih24 at yahoo dot com

  28. April Christmas says:

    I can’t wait to read this, we are the first in our group of friends and family to homeschool and have so many questions. This site has been so helpful that I imagine the book will be great too. Thank you.

  29. I would be most interested in the homeschooling kindergarten and elementary chapter :)

  30. We have been homeschooling for years, but those planning sheets look great!

  31. I would like to read more about teaching multiple ages and time management.

  32. I need to know how to homeschool with a baby/toddler, and what to do as far as homeschooling a preschooler.

  33. Keeping it all organized is what I struggle with most.

  34. Thanks for sharing this Erica. How exciting for you, and for us! I struggle most with keeping our homeschooling planning items in one place. I start off with a binder, then end up with papers here and there. Your forms in the appendix look amazing, and I can’t wait to get it!

  35. How to know if you should homeschool or not with a particular personality/characteristic of your child.

  36. I can’t think of a specific question – but I’m really looking forward to your section on choosing curriculum. Also hoping there’s some encouragement to stay motivated and keep going…I tend to get too laid back…

  37. Thank you for such a wonderful book! I am one that couldn’t wait so I bought a copy right away this morning and started reading some of it. I LOVE IT! I will definitely refer back to this often. You did an awesome job!

  38. Organization! Anything that helps me organize it all.

  39. I am looking forward to reading your book. I just finished my first year of homeschooling…so the question I am facing now is do I hold my kids to their grade level and keep a “normal” schedule or do I let them go on?

  40. We have homeschooled for a few years now and I still stress around May trying to get my thoughts/ideas
    together for the upcoming fall. Putting a curriculum together is never easy for me! I would love your forms to help me organize.

  41. Wow! What a great resource. I think the planning pages and info would be most helpful. I also think your chapter on homeschooling special needs would be awesome.

  42. Starting K this year with an only child. I would love to read this!

  43. I can’t think of one specific question, I have many! We are in our first year of homeschooling K with our oldest, we also have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old so many years ahead of us! I would love this book!

  44. My first is about to be born. I’m interested in how to play effectively to get them ready for concrete learning.

    • Check out Carisa has a post called Getting Started with Tot School. She also just released an ebook with the same title that you can get for free if you sign up for her email newsletter. :)

  45. Interested in assessment tests just to show where they are at and just to.point out what grade range of curriculum to look for.

  46. I think the question I would most like answered is: What are practical ways on how to make home school fun without getting off-track in our academics?

  47. I would love to win. Also how did you homeschool when towards he end of pregnancy and first few weeks with a newborn?

  48. There is so much you could share, but as far as just getting started I would say choosing a curriculum.

  49. I’m excited to read the whole book! I think the part I look forward to the most is choosing curriculum, as well as switching mid-year.

  50. Jennifer Ott says:

    I am struggling right now with helping my older children become more independent learners while adding the younger ones into our school. Curriculum choosing is causing me angst :)!

  51. Melissa GIbson says:

    Staying motivated and staying the course!

  52. I would love to learn about keeping the kids motivated to do there work and keeping it fun.

  53. Stephanie G. says:

    The question I would ask would be: How do you start with the little ones and get everything organized and planned?!

  54. I would like to know how to get very bright learners who take forever to finish their work stay on task.

  55. I definitely need help with time management and organization!

  56. Jacqueline says:

    Homeschooling multiple children, time management, and burnout.

  57. Im most interested to hear about the philosophies of the different curricula. Classical, Charlotte Mason… It can get confusing!

  58. I am looking forward to reading this book! I need help in organizing my school room and filing papers.

  59. I’m just starting on researching if homeschooling is right for us. Choosing the right curriculum is pretty daunting right now! :)

  60. Co-ops!

  61. Jennifer Bergamini says:

    So happy you wrote this! You have been an inspiration on many occasions. I downloaded it to my kindle and looking forward to learning more from you.

  62. I am looking forward to reading the chapters on scheduling and organizing. Those are the definitely the areas where I would like to improve.

  63. I am just starting the homeschooling journey and I would love reading about teaching various ages. The entire thing looks awesome though!

  64. Erica, I bought this over the weekend and read it in one sitting. An amazing inspirational resource for homeschooling. Well done!!!

  65. The whole curriculum thing is what I’m having trouble with. can’t wait to read that chapter.

  66. I would most like to see how to keep a toddler at bay while trying to teach, help an older child. My daughter just wants to be held and attention on her.

  67. I’d like to get more insight into flexible lesson planning and scheduling and how to capture that for reporting.

  68. Homeschooling junior high and high school (working with your teenager on preparing them for college and adulthood).

  69. I Would love to be able to advise a friend on homeschooling one child.

  70. I would love to know how to manage homeschooling multiple ages.

  71. Cula Parker says:

    I would love tips for homeschooling storage for those of us that do not have a dedicated “School room”.

  72. The question I want answered the most is just the general how to. I hope I win, if not I will be buying a copy.

  73. I would be interested in the time management and burn out. In reality all of it will be helpful.

  74. Sarah Ann Wong says:

    I would most like this book to address how parents can partner with their local school district to get the kids involved in school activities, such as music and sports.

  75. Jessica Stratton says:

    I am most excited about the chapter on getting started and everything after that! I am just starting with my preschooler. Next year I am adding my first grader. I am really lost as far as what to teach and how to keep them interested. How to make sure I am doing it right! I know I want to homeschool them. I just don’t know what to do next.

  76. Homeschooling the only child.
    Choosing curriculums.
    Starting in Middle school.

  77. My weakness is record keeping and organizing. Any tips would be great!

  78. I would like to learn how to better create a curriculum. This looks like a great resource, nice job!

  79. Organization and Planning

  80. My question would be how to keep the 3 year old involved with his LOTW work! I try to ‘mix it up’ each week to keep him on his toes, but he will only complete some of the activities then leaves the room and gets into trouble! Help! Thanks for the chance to win your book! :)

  81. I started hemschooling mid year and I have found it hard to come up with a routine juggling taking care of the house and trying to educate our daughter at the same time. So I am looking forward to this book.

  82. Keeping my kids motivated enough to work on their own without me having to hover over them all day.

  83. Jacqueline RUssell says:


  84. The entire book looks helpful. The topics that popped out at me were teaching Kindergarten and Standardized testing.

  85. I’m hoping to have a lot of my questions answered in the chapter about homeschooling multiple grades

  86. I continue to struggle with things like having a set start time, following a clear schedule and keeping kiddos on task — especially as I am putting baby down for nap, nursing, or trying to occupy a 3 year old! :)

  87. We are currently preparing our Kindergarten-aged daughter for homeschooling next year. We are in the gathering and planning stage, and are looking forward to more information. It will be delightful to see more of her during the best hours of the day.

  88. I’m wanting to learn more about getting started with homeschooling and homeschooling preschool, specifically what to do for preschool, and how much to do. And what to do with babies and toddlers while homeschooling an older child. Thanks!

  89. How to balance the freedom of homeschooling with keeping children on task when they need to be–especially with multiple children

  90. I’d say either motivation towards the end of year or homeschooling with a toddler and what to do to keep them busy and out of trouble! Thanks

  91. All your advice! I can’t pinpoint anything really.

  92. The entire book looks great! I’m so excited to start reading it and getting tips on organization, choosing curriculum and also homeschooling a child with special needs! =) Thanks for all that you do Erica!!

  93. You are so inspiring I don’t know how you do it!! I feel like a mediocre mom when I read all these blogs. LOL but you are motivating me to become more organized. I can’t wait to start reading this book, I already love your LOTW and 4K so I’m sure this will be a hit as well. Keep up the great job Super MOM!!!

  94. Awesome!

  95. Getting your child interested in learning.

  96. I would love to win thia. Most interested in how to gamdle multiple ages and grades at the same time. Thank you!

  97. I would probably like the chapter how to start homeschooling, teaching the toddler, and the kindergartener.

  98. I would like to know how to have homeschool with very little ones still running around. Kids’ ages are 6 (1st grade), 4 (pre-k), 3 and 1.

  99. homeschooling girl/boy twins!

  100. I’m just starting out homeschooling and I am interested in anything to do with K4/K5 curriculum and lesson planning.

  101. It’s the staying organized and keeping the kids motivated that interests me.

  102. Becky Rider says:

    This will be our 3rd year homeschooling and it will be for 1st grade. My biggest question is how to narrow down curiculum choices. It was easy for pk and K because lots of things worked but find it harder now as I choose more indiviual subjects

  103. I’m looking forward to reading how to save money homeschooling without being completely overwhelmed with planning

  104. Hi Erica,
    Thank you for having a giveaway for this. I am already a follower. My question is always with how to put it all together. What’s the very next step after deciding to homeschool? How do we pick a curriculum? How do we socialize our children? Thank you.


  105. Jenny Brunsvold says:

    I am very interested in high school. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  106. How to choose the curriculum that is best for you.

  107. I would love to have more info on incorporating physical activity with a small family! Congrats on your book!

  108. Janelle F. says:

    I’m totally new to all this, and would like to know the best way to prepare my little one to start school at home–to help her realize that this is time set aside to focus and work (and have fun!), even though we’re still at home. Also, I love anything where you include appropriate Scripture. It really helps me keep on track. Thanks for doing this!

  109. Just starting out homeschooling and need more info on picking out curriculum.

  110. I would like, scheduling helps and curriculum! Thank you for the opportunity!

  111. It looks like this might be covered, but I have a 4 year old and 2 year old and I can’t seem to be able to keep one or the other busy so I can work with them separately. So I’d like to know how to do things together with multiple age levels.

  112. I have too many questions to narrow it down to just one. LOL

  113. Picking a curriculum and planning/scheduling.

  114. This looks fantastic. So much so I think I’m headed off to purchase it, then hope I win. :-) I’d love to find information on handling the transition from public school to homeschooling. My Kinder daughter does not want to leave PS at the end of the year. I’m hoping to make HS fun and exciting enough that the transition won’t be traumatic…for either of us!

  115. Packrat Nomad says:

    I would love ideas on recording progress on different subjects. This looks like an incredible resource!

  116. The question I think about most is how to create lesson plans.

  117. Staying motivated

  118. How to homeschool children of several ages

  119. I would love to win this! I am most interested in the topic of homeschooling and the working parent.

  120. I would be totally jazzed if I won this! I’m most in need of tips to keep motivated as well… I always start out fired-up and then kinda fizzle!

  121. Erica, you amaze me with the resources you provide for homeschoolers. I would ask, how do you continue into junior high and high school? Thanks for the giveaway!

  122. I would love to know more about how to stay motivated and get through the rough spots…like when you and your kids just seem over it sometimes. I love all of the information I get from your blog. You truly are an inspiration to my husband and I. Thank you so much for all that you do:)

  123. barbee decker says:

    I need help with the naysayers – my family!

  124. Kathleen Calabrese says:

    Homeschooling in high school is where I would love to see some suggestions.

  125. We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling and I found your blog about 6 to 9 months before we started. Your blog was what really helped me. I would stay up late at night reading and planning. I still read it now because you have do many awesome ideas. I would love to read about evaluating your child at home. We are standardized testing but this would be reassuring to read. Also, I would love to read the chaptr on homeschooling multiple children. Our second will be more involved next year but it still seems a little confusing until I actually do it and figure out what works for us. Thanks for your blog!

  126. The homeschooling and discipline is something I would really like to read, I have been worried about how I will handle this.

  127. I am most looking forward to learning how you are able to balance – homeschooling/parenting.

  128. Congrats on your new book, Erica!!



  129. Homeschooling with multiple children – and babies!

  130. I love reading about how to organize and am looking forward to looking over your advice and fun forms! !

  131. can’t wait to read it!
    definitely looking forward to budgeting and to dealing with the naysayers.

  132. How to lesson plan with multiple grade levels and multiple curriculums is what I need to learn how to do!

  133. I think the most helpful one for me would be homeschooling and discipline.

  134. Curriculum and multiple grades/ages. I have 3 little ones (4.5, 3 and just about 1) Whew…not gonna be easy! Especially if we do this again (hint, baby #4!).

  135. Homeschooling extroverts and introverts at the same time

  136. Stephanie O says:

    Choose or gather curriculum (for gifted children too). Legal matters and state testing.

  137. A chapter on burnout or giving encouragement that all Moms want to ditch it all and run away sometimes – it’s not all fun, happy, good times.

  138. Wow, every time I think of a question I had when starting homeschooling, you have a chapter on it! How about: How do I get my spouse/other family member more involved?

  139. Heather White says:

    I would like more information on how and why to homeschool. I am looking forward to reading your book and finding the knowledge I need to explain to family WHY I want to do this.

  140. Natalie Scheuber says:

    How do you deal with a household that has almost constant turmoil and wanting to pull the kids from public school? How can this be successful?

  141. Umm, how to stay motivated or how to pick the best curriculum.

  142. I’m looking forward to the organising of your day, and how to stay motivated sections! I think these will/would be my main pitfalls, and no matter how much I want to start homeschooling, they’re the ones that scare me!

  143. How to pick the right curriculum for our family, and not break the bank! Also, how to prep easily. I have such a hard time with that..

  144. The topic I am most interested in is homeschooling muti. grades. The whole e-book looks very interesting, it’s hard to choose just one topic!

  145. This coming year will be my 4th year homeschooling, but I still like to read about planning. I’m looking forward to checking out your planning and calendar pages.

  146. My current struggle is scheduling/planning. I’m struggling to get all the things done that I need to.

  147. Id love to read more about storage as in notebook binders during the year and with what dividers sections etc. Also I’d love to read advice for beginning homeschool with knowing there will be youngsters to follow. Like I’m trying to decide do I start my K4 in history when she reaches K5 or do I wait until her sister is at least 4 to follow meaning she will be in 1st or 2nd…

  148. The organizing and scheduling is what would help me most!

  149. I would love this!! I need help deciding on a curriculum and also the homeschooling and discipline chapter :)

  150. I got this book this morning after I seen that you had released it and oh my, the little schoolgirl inside me went all giddy. I instantly grabbed my printer and set it to print this off.. (I added it to my personal homeschooling planning binder so I can refer back to it regularly.) Its now 2:57 am and I just forced myself to put it down to get some sleep.. I have been doing the pre-k curriculum from this site with my daughter and she loves it but I have been focused on getting it all done by September so we can start the K4 one(was using the pre-k as a primer to gear her up for K4 in the structure but things keep coming up that prevent us from staying on track, so I am going to use the advice in the book to plan a better rounded curriculum for her first official year of homeschooling and combine the pre-k and the K4 along with other subjects to make it a very fun and exciting year :)

    Thank you for this Erica!!!! Keep up the amazing work!!!

    Oh I did the marking days on the calendar.. is it sad I marked April Fool’s Day as a national holiday..LOL!!! Opps… lol (I think my brain was thinking if I don’t set up school that day, we can use it to come up with inventive ways to prank each other.)

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