I want to preface this post by asking you a question….
Who loves your children most in the whole world?
The answer is undoubtedly that YOU do. Right? I have no doubt in my mind that you’re here researching because you want to do what you feel is best for your child(ren). That right there puts you in the perfect position to homeschool YOUR kids and give them the education they need. This is a no fear required zone.
Here’s a few things you need to know right now.
YOU can pull your children any time you feel you need to.
YOU can educate your children starting today.
YOU can pull children even if they have an IEP.
YOU can educate your children with as little or as much resources as you can afford.
YOU do not need to buy a super expensive all-in-one curriculum.
YOU CAN DO THIS. NO FEAR REQUIRED.
The first thing most Mama’s say when they talk about homeschooling their kids is “I could never, I would be afraid …. ”
And then you add in a wide variety of fears mothers have when considering homeschooling their kids. Some are worried that they wouldn’t teach them enough, that they themselves aren’t smart enough to teach their children, some are worried about socialization. The list of fears are endless. As moms we want our children to have the best of what we can provide for them. In our minds, sending them to school outside of the home provides that for them.
It simply isn’t true.
While some parents truly struggle with all of those things, the truth is, you’re here, researching how to launch your homeschool because you’re truly interested, invested and dedicated to it right now. That tells me everything I need to know about how well your children will do in your school.
This guide is going to lead the way and show you how to get started. I need to add that while I have homeschooled and roadschooled our children in compliance with California, South Dakota and Ohio, I am NOT a legal expert. I am going to reference the Homeschooling legal team most of us use to make sure we’re in compliance. It’s NOT a big scary thing. YOU have totally got this.
1. KEEPING YOUR KIDS HOME – HOW TO NOTIFY FOR YOUR STATE
Depending on the state you’re in, you will need to notify the school district that you’re homeschooling your kids. Some states, like Ohio, have a few options which we can get into later. BUT, generally, you have to notify. Depending on the state you’re in, the levels of notification, record keeping, state mandated subjects (like Math, History, Language Arts, etc) and required assessments vary.
A handy guide to figuring out what your state requires is available on the HSLDA.
Once you have determined your state laws, you’ll need to learn how to comply with their requirements. If you click on the HSLDA link above, you’ll be able to select your state, then click on the button that says “VIEW COMPLETE DETAILS”. This will take you to a page that explains, step-by-step, how to complete your notification for your specific state.
IF YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY ENROLLED in school, the rules change a little. HSLDA will be able to tell you what you need to do to pull your child immediately. As this changes with each state, I don’t want to tell you an exact formula for that situation as it may not apply to your area. IN MOST CASES if you need to pull your child for ANY reason at all, you can simply NOT send them to school and then notify. Please note in most cases you will need to notify immediately. This takes me back to HSLDA who will be able to guide you on this.
2. YOU DO NOT NEED A CURRICULUM TO START
Most of the time, the school where you children were enrolled will ask for details on the curriculum you’re using. In MOST cases, they don’t need that information. It’s an overstep. What they need is a list of courses you’ll be teaching – Math, Language Arts, Science, History – and any other required classes. Depending on your state, the information you need to provide may vary, but because most states do not require the name of the curriculum to start, you probably won’t need it.
We are building a complete run down with links to individual reviews and where to find the curriculums on this post.
SIDE NOTE: We have had many parents pull their kids over bullying, mandates that were against their beliefs, issues with teachers and more that were extremely toxic and damaging to their kids. They didn’t want to, nor should they have to wait to pull their kids. If you are pulling your kids for an urgent reason, rest assured you’re not the only one.
3. DECIDE HOW INTENSE YOU WANT TO GO
If you’re just getting started, it’s likely you don’t even know where to begin. That is common and PERFECTLY NORMAL. That’s what this post is for….
If you’re hoping for a list of the best homeschool curriculum for you, you aren’t going to find it here. What you’re going to find is a list of options with a brief overview of the programs out there so you can choose which one works best for your kiddos.
For that info, click here.
Here’s the intense part…
If you’re really wanting to dig in, this is one of the best books I have found for mama’s that are whipping things together on their own versus going with an out of the box curriculum is a book called Home Learning Year By Year. It details what the author taught her kids each year. NOW, I want to tell you that it doesn’t mean you have to use her listed curriculum. I use it as a guide to get a feel for what I want to teach for each grade level. I should note that she has an INTENSE list going in this book. Our 8th grader didn’t get through even half of what she had listed.
If you’re unschooling, farm schooling, etc… a book like that isn’t going to be for you.
4. KEEPING RECORDS
Most states do not require that you keep records. You’ll need to determine that based on your state. I like to keep records because I use it to also keep us on track, to allow me to plan for materials that need purchased and more.
I love this type of planner because I can put the subject across the top and then list the kids names under the days of the week on the left. When you have multiple kids (four in our case) that are learning different things, this makes it nice to clearly see what everyone is working on. Of course, we do some things together so a book like this allows the space to plan it. You can find this planner here.
5. REMEMBER TO BREATHE
This is going to be easier than you thought. Once you have completed the paperwork for your state, chosen a curriculum and gotten started with your homeschool, just remember you can CHANGE IT any time you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working.
6. JOIN HOMESCHOOL GROUPS
Find homeschool groups near you. Even if you aren’t up for meetups, they can help you find tools, resources, fun events, assessors and more.
Find online groups of like-minded parents. Most curriculums have groups dedicated to their materials. This is also a great place to get ideas, study unit details and ask questions about curriculums.
7. FIND AN ASSESSOR (OR DON’T)
If your state requires an assessment at the end of the year, you should try to find one as soon as possible. Honestly, the only reason I recommend finding one early is so you can determine what they are testing for AND so you can get a spot. In some cases, talking with your assessor will help you determine some of the aspects of your teaching and curriculum.