How to start homeschooling

The start of the new school year is just ahead for most of us here in the US. I’ve been on Yahoo!Answers this week about homeschooling. Several people have asked how to homeschool, or how to get started homeschooling, so I thought I’d post this brief explanation about different homeschooling options and resources for getting started.

First research the homeschoolilng laws for your state and be sure you comply with them. Each state is different. A great resource is HSLDA There may be requirements about record keeping, reporting, the minimum amount of time spent on schooling (either annual or daily which I think is ridiculous), and the type of things taught in each grade for core subjects.

There are many different varieties of homeschool and homeschooling programs, so you need to decide what will work for you. They can range from online, public school correspondence program, umbrella program, or totally independent. Prices range from free to thousands of dollars, but most spend a few hundred per child.

Some curriculum providers offer full programs with all subjects in a kit. A lot of these companies also offer record keeping service for an additional fee. (this may be referred to as an umbrella program or correspondence study instead of homeschool by some purists, but don’t worry about that) Examples of these companies include Christian Light Education, Sonlight, Abeka, Bob Jones, and Calvert. A lot of new homeschoolers will use one of these programs their first year as they get used to homeschooling and figure out their teaching and learning styles.

My friend has had good luck with Sonlight and continues to use the full program. Abeka and Calvert are closest to traditional school curriculum so don’t always work well for homeschool. I didn’t like Abeka because it was too scripted and bored my kids literally to tears.

There are also companies that specialize in just a single subject such as math, reading, or science. Most of the companies mentioned above also allow you to order just individual subjects rather than the full package, but you can’t be part of their record keeping program if you do. (Calvert is an exception. You must do the full package only with them.) This allows you to pick and choose among companies to custom design a program to fit your needs, interests, and budget. That is what I do. Rainbow Resource is a terrific homeschool supply store for getting books, workbooks, kits, and other materials.

Then there are unit studies you design yourself. This can be a lot of work and is more likely to lead to gaps in your child’s education. However, it has been successful for families too.


One Response

  1. While it can be very hard for parents to decide on whether they will homeschool their child or not, it is advisable to read around and weigh the Pros and Cons. But as for me, and with the advantages it gives our family, it is a win win all around.


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