DON'T BITE OFF MORE THAN U CHEW
The first thing I had to do when I decided to homeschool a year ago was to CALM DOWN. I wanted to stuff so many things into this adventure with my then 15yr old 10th grader that she had to tell me to 'cut it out'.
DON'T GET CURRICULUM GREEDY
There were so many homeschool options to consider that I changed my mind about 6 times in the first few weeks of deciding to pursue it. I went from an online school (KeyStone, Bridgeway and Wilostar3D) to DVD schools (Calvert, Abeka, Bob Jones) to hands on eclectic. Also, I was so elective heavy that I'd be spending tons of money and time carting the kids to this activity and that.
START OF SLOW
After my daughter gave me a reality check. I sat back and wondered what I needed in order to manage my time homeschooling her. What she wanted to accomplish in the end (college or trade school) and what we could do realistically.
So we started by enrolling her in the local Community College. She got tested and tested in honors Math and English. That summer she took 2 classes, Sociology and English (her favorite subjects). She aced them.
In the fall she only wanted to take 1 Community College class (we used the summer classes and this course for Dual Credit). We selected a DVD based course with Great Courses, BUT that meant I had to give the assignments and test for the subject matter (a time when I BIT MORE than I could chew). That was a disaster and cost me many Saturday nights with little or no sleep while I created test and assignments for those 3 classes.
FIGURING OUT A GOOD FIT
It took me awhile to really evaluate what was doable for our family of 2 working parents and soon to be 2 homeschooling kids in Elementary and Middle School. I found that with me working outside the home I certainly did not want to piece together a curriculum. It would cost me too much of my limited time and would make it difficult for my husband to facilitate when I wasn't home.
I found that having 2 working parents, a boxed DVD curriculum that came with lesson plans, books, dvd and used me only as the facilitator worked best for me and the kids.
WILLINGNESS TO ADJUST
After the hard lesson of over doing it with flipping from one curriculum to the next, I learned to be willing to stop a downhill spiral a lot earlier. Looking back, I should've done this with my older daughter, but because I was unwilling to change direction, I gave up a lot of sleep to finish it.
NOTHING IS PERFECT
I had to realize that no curriculum is perfect - not even one I put together myself. But as long as I have the basis for a good and well rounded one, my kids will benefit.