Homeschooling is the fastest growing educator sector in the United States. As more parents find themselves displeased with the local school districts, more are turning to homeschool, and that might include you!
Years ago, I faced the decision to homeschool my children or send them to school. It was a decision I debated for hours and days, long into the night, wondering if my choices were the right one. Now, years later, I know my choice was the right one.
You might be interested in homeschooling and wonder how to get started homeschooling your kids. So, I broke it down into a few simple steps. Each step might require you to do a few things, but it's easier than you might imagine!
Make the Decision to Homeschool
The hardest step is making the actual decision to homeschool. If your children are already in school, this step can be even harder because you know it will be an adjustment for your children.
Think about why you're interested in homeschooling. Here are a few reasons that homeschooling might be a good choice for you.
- You want more family time, whether due to a strange work schedule or pressure from outside activities.
- You want religious schooling for your children.
- The local school districts don't meet your standards or receive low scoring from the state.
- Your child is gifted and needs faster-paced learning to help keep him interested.
- Your child is a slower learner and needs the steps to be broken down further for true comprehension.
Any reason can be a reason to homeschool. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself and your children that homeschooling is the right choice.
Remember - homeschooling is not a final decision. I often tell new homeschooling families this. Yes, it's a big decision and should not be taken lightly. It's also not a permanent choice, and you're more than welcome to put your child back in public school at another time.
Look at Your State's Laws
Each state has different laws. Some don't require notifications before you homeschool. I live in Ohio, and Ohio requires parents to notify the school district in which they reside of their intentions to homeschool once the child is 6 years old.
States also might require testing or a portfolio review after each school year. Make sure to check your state's requirements so you can be fully prepared for the year.
Now, it's time to pick your curriculum! This is the second hardest step. You're going to debate for hours and agonize over your selection for math and science. You'll wonder if they'll be good enough and if your child will like them.
Just like your decision to homeschool, the curriculum can be changed if you dislike it. I've changed curriculum in the middle of the year because I disliked it. Remember, the curriculum doesn't make or break your homeschool. Your attitude and desire to educate your children can overcome any curriculum.
Notify the School District, If Required
After you have your curriculum selected, it's time to notify the school district. Most states require that you notify the school district in which you live, not what your children attend. If you're unsure, look into investing in membership in the HSLDA. They can help you understand how to notify, and the HSLDA offers samples to use for notification.
In a few weeks, you'll receive an acceptance letter from the district stating that they received all of the needed information and that you're free to start homeschooling.
Homeschooling needs to be fun and enjoyable. How you treat your homeschooling and children will be a huge difference in the success and enjoyment. Play games, read a lot of books, take field trips, and focus on encouraging your child to love learning. A child who loves to learn will be successful.