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How to Get Started Homeschooling

Want to be more involved with your children’s education? Here's everything you need to know to start teaching them at home.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Investigate your state's rules Investigate your local homeschooling laws. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, but the rules regarding attendance, curriculum, record-keeping, and testing vary. The Home School Legal Defense Association's website ("hslda.org":http://hslda.org) lists state-by-state requirements.
  • TIP: Parents do not have to have teaching credentials in order to homeschool their children.
  • Step 2: Talk to homeschoolers Search online for a homeschooling support group in your area. Homeschooling vets can guide you through any required paperwork and share what they've learned about the experience.
  • Step 3: Choose a curriculum Choose a curriculum. Your options range from the traditional method used in public schools to "unschooling," which bases the program of study on the child's interests.
  • Step 4: Get teaching materials Figure out what teaching materials you need to purchase—textbooks, workbooks, teacher's manuals, maps, and so on. Go online to find homeschool groups that sell used materials.
  • TIP: Attend your state's homeschooling convention and/or curriculum fair to gather information on the best textbooks and other educational materals.
  • Step 5: File necessary notice If required by your state, file notice with your local school superintendent of your intention to homeschool your child. Be sure to meet all deadlines. Some states also mandate that you file a home instruction plan.
  • Step 6: Decide on a daily schedule Figure out how you’re going to structure daily lessons. Though flexibility is one of the advantages of homeschooling, you should still have a general idea of how you will fit teaching and schoolwork into the household routine, especially if your state requires that your children pass standardized tests.
  • Step 7: Consider outside help Think about what kind of outside help you might need to educate your children properly. Consider hiring a tutor if a subject isn't your strong suit.
  • TIP: See if you can trade on your expertise—you'll teach a fellow homeschooler's kids Spanish if she schools your children in science.
  • Step 8: Keep a transcript Keep a transcript of your children’s academic accomplishments: the courses they've completed, test scores, and any scholastic honors, such as winning a local science competition. They'll probably need a transcript if they intend to go to college.
  • FACT: On average, children who are homeschooled perform better on standardized scholastic tests than both public school and private school students.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge of your state's laws regarding homeschooling
  • Teaching materials
  • Dedication

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