Considering homeschooling? Wondering where to start?
First, find out what your state laws are, regarding homeschooling: Home School Legal Defense Association or type your state, plus “homeschool laws,” into a search engine.
If your state laws aren’t too discouraging, start reading about the wonderful world of homeschooling:
Keep in mind that homeschooling isn’t comprised of a bunch of religious nuts wanting to brain-wash their children. Although some do it for religious purposes, others – like me! – homeschool because their children have learning disabilities that the public school system refused to address and help. There are a multitude of reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children but, whatever the reason, it’s your right as a parent to choose how your kids are educated.
Is there a method to this madness?
Overwhelmed yet? Before you even start researching curricula, it helps to consider how you want to homeschool. Do you want to “wing it” like I did, or do you want something to follow? There are many different approaches or methods:
Just to name a few. I don’t have a particular method. I teach the basics: English, Math, Science, Foreign Language, History (World and U.S.) and Geography, as well as other important subjects, such as Economics and Government.
How much will this cost?
Homeschooling can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of online resources for FREE stuff. Here are a few:
Don’t forget your local library! In fact, our library has a free foreign languages program on their website. Used books are cheap on Amazon. Search out your local homeschooler book fair. Some homeschooling groups pool money for resources and then share the books or take turns teaching the subject themselves to the group’s children.
This site used to be free, but now there is an annual fee of about $20. Regardless of the new fee, it’s still an awesome resource for homeschoolers. They do offer some free samples, if you want to check them out: Super Teacher Worksheets.
No teaching degree required. At least in my state.
Are there a few subjects that you just don’t feel comfortable teaching? Math? Science? There are many homeschooling groups that offer co-ops and tutoring. If your children are older, they may be able to teach themselves! Some university professors have been known to teach homeschoolers on the side. Don’t forget to check your local community colleges! In Arizona, for example, homeschoolers can start classes at age 13.
Your kids don’t have to grow up to be unsocial weirdos… unless you want them that way.
Do you worry that your kids won’t get enough social interaction with peers? Join a local homeschooling group. They offer activities and classes for homeschoolers for free or a small fee.
Also, check out your local libraries for activities, classes, and volunteer opportunities, as well as your local science center, zoo, arts center, aquarium, arboretum or botanical garden, YMCA, Parks and Recreation Program, State Game and Fish Department, 4-H, community colleges and universities, public pools, and public schools. I’m not sure about other states but, here in Arizona, homeschoolers are allowed (by law) to participate in sports and activities offered by public schools, as long as you live in the same district.
Finally – and most importantly! – don’t forget about your local Homeschool Convention.
Note: I can only speak for the one held in Arizona.
We have an annual one here in Arizona. What is so fantastic about our convention is that it is not just about vendors selling their products. Our convention (and I am assuming most in other states) have speakers, and these speakers hold workshops on topics ranging from homeschooling for the first time to homeschooling through high school; how to prepare your homeschooler for college to how to homeschool multiple grade levels; and homeschooling laws to how to homeschool children with learning difficulties. And so much more!
For more info on what our convention offers, check out the website Arizona Families for Home Education.
Don’t let misconceptions and naysayers cloud your judgment. Trust your gut and do what you feel is right for your kids and you – whether it’s homeschooling or public school. And, please, don’t think that once you choose one, it’s set in stone. It’s not. If you try one and it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. Do what’s best for your kids and their education.