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August 9, 2015

How does homeschooling work?

How does homeschooling work? How can I homeschool? What do I need to do? and other similar questions are what parents or children ask all the time especially this time of year.  Many want to homeschool but don't feel they can. Many students want to be homeschool but don't know how to approach the subject with their parents or want to know if it can be done without Mom's and Dad's approval.

Children and Teens: You need Mom and Dad (or just one parent if you live in a single parent home) or whoever your guardian is to approve and act as the administrator of your homeschooling. You can't just simply be homeschooled because you want to be.

Parents/Guardians:  Every state has it's own homeschooling laws so what you have to do in terms of registration, letter of intent, standardized testing, notifications, logging hours, number of days, are determine by your STATE laws.  So the first step would be to familiarize yourself with your STATE homeschooling laws. One resource to do this is: HSLDA State Laws

After you familiarize yourself with state laws the next step is decided what METHOD of homeschooling fits your needs or your child's needs the best. There are many different methods and one is not really better then the other.  It's just a matter of what appeals to you more and which one will fit your personality better.  It's similar to having cats or dogs or fish for pets. They are all fine animals, and more good pets, it's just some people are not cat people -- and that's okay.  Maybe your method is more of "school at home" where it is very much like school, textbooks, quizzes, worksheets, you might even have a school room. Or maybe your method is more child-led where your child picks a topic and you help facilitate that with giving them access to everything and anything they may need to go deep into that topic -- or maybe you a mix of the two or something else all together.   Knowing what your child's learning styles are might help you determine what METHOD is best too.

Once you figured out method and learning styles, or at least have a very good idea what you want it's time to look at curriculum! However before doing that. You should stop and ask  yourself a few more questions like: Cost? What I'm a willing to spend? Do I want Catholic? Christian? Secular materials?CCS (common core standard) aligned?  CCS independent? Have a little bit more of an idea of what you want before you step on to the curriculum lot. Early on in my homeschooling career I was told to think about curriculum shopping like car shopping. You don't walk unto a car lot without and idea of what it is you are looking for and what you are willing to spend.  Granted once you get on the car lot and start looking at options, prices, and what's available your budget or desires might change, but you didn't walk unto the lot blindly. You had an idea of what you were looking for.

The same is needed when curriculum shopping. You need an idea of what you are looking for before you step onto the lot! Why you might ask? Well Homeschool Roadmap which categorized resources and curriculum options by CCS statuses has over 2,600 options listed. They are always adding to the list too. So with over 2,600 options and counting available you kind of need to know what you want. Again you get an idea of what you want by knowing what method you want to use, what learning your style your child is, what you want to spend, what is your worldview (Catholic, Christian, Secular), what you want in terms of CCS (no CCS or yes CCS), etc.

Summary:
How to homeschool?

  1. Know your state homeschooling laws
  2. Know what method you want to use
  3. Know your child's learning styles
  4. Have an idea what you want your curriculum to be like
  5. Buy curriculum (or not if you choose to go more 'unschooling')
  6. Just do it! 
Just do it: Might sound scary and a huge step and a big leap, but honestly you are not going to know what is like or how to do it until you just do it!  Know you won't miss your kids up, Know that you really cant fail them if you have a plan and goals and do your best to carry them out, and Know that whatever you do -- especially if you are pulling them out of public school or even private school for that matter that it will take TIME to adjust. One of the best pieces of advice I got was to give it 2 school years before you say Nay or Yay.  The first year is adjusting getting your feet wet learning about your kids styles, your styles, figuring out what works for you. The second year is more of that, but now that your feet are a little wet and you have been doing it for a bit more of a groove starts to form and you get a true sense if this going to work out for you or not!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

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