Some parents have seen their children struggling in the mainstream school system. Others have religious or life beliefs that make homeschooling the logical option. Yet others believe that homeschooling should be the ideal for many or all children, whenever possible. Whatever your reason is for homeschooling, with all of the resources available today, it is surprisingly simple to begin homeschooling your child.
Determine Your State’s Requirements
Before you can begin homeschooling your child, you’ll need to find out what your state’s requirements are for homeschooling parents. To do this, you’ll need to contact your state’s office of education and ask them for the list of requirements. These requirements will vary from state to state; for example, some states may require students in a certain grade to learn about the history of that state. Some state’s requirements are much more rigid than others, but all allow room for some flexibility. For more information on your state requirements, you may want to take advantage of homeschooling support groups in your area. (See the next section for additional details on support groups.)
Take Advantage of Homeschooling Resources
Years ago, there were very few resources available for those parents who wanted to homeschool their children. Today, homeschooling resources abound in virtually every community. To start with, consider joining the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which can let you know additional legal information about homeschooling, including how to interpret the state requirements. You may also want to inquire about support groups available through your local library, church or other community organizations. Online support groups can be indispensable as well, giving you an opportunity to ask questions and opinions from hundreds of other parents in the same position as you.
Consider Your Methods
The next step in beginning a homeschooling program is to research the various curricula that are available in order to find one that will work for your child. Various publishing companies put out curricula geared towards the homeschooling parent, and many of these curricula can be followed easily by a student with nothing more than access to a basic computer. Of course, it is imperative for the parent to remain involved in the child’s education and not to relegate everything to the computer.
If computer-regulated learning is not your style, you may prefer to create your own curriculum. Making sure to cover all of your state requirements, let your child’s interests and abilities dictate what you will be learning. For example, if your child loves working with her hands, you can build your math curriculum around a construction unit or have her interview a construction worker and write a short paper based on the experience. As long as you follow the state requirements and ensure that your child is learning adequately, you can craft your curriculum according to your child’s needs.