How To Get Started With Homeschool

I've had several people reach out to me that are really not happy with their current options when it comes to school in the fall. I just thought I would make a quick list of the steps you need to take if you decide to switch from virtual school to homeschool.

1. You need to decide if you want to do parent led or accredited. I blogged before about homeschool vs. virtual where I talked about the difference between the two. A quick explanation is that parent led is just as it sounds. Accredited is taught and run by where ever you purchase your homeschool curriculums, the state, or province. The teaching is typically done via video and all work and tests are submitted for grading. Records are kept for you of your child's progress and grades. This option is good for those that want to put their children back into school at some point, since your child won't have to go undergo testing for grade placement. If you choose parent led, well it gives you lots of freedom, your children will have to undergo testing by the school to determine grade placement.

2. File your Declaration of Intent. If your children are already enrolled in public or private school you will most likely have to write a letter to the school informing them with your intention to homeschool. You may also need to send in a Declaration of Intent to the state or province or your school local school board. So, be sure to check your state or provincial requirements to make sure you file the proper paperwork. With this you will need to pick a start and end date for your school year. I typically give myself the entire year from the beginning of August until the end of July. It gives me more time to complete all 180 days without having to worry about when we choose to have breaks. We call it year around schooling.

3. Look into the homeschool regulations and requirements for your state or province. Some states or provinces don't have requirements. However, some have attendance requirements, meaning you have to submit attendance records to the state or province. Some will require submissions of all curricular or instructional materials so they are aware of what you will be teaching. Some only require you to keep record just in case they ever choose to evaluate you. Most however do have a 4 hour per day and 180 school day requirement. I would always suggest keeping your own records no matter what the regulations are, this protects you and makes sure that you have everything if you do ever choose to admit your children back into school. If you choose to do parent led you can also use the state or provincial public school curriculum requirements to help build your curriculum for homeschool. It gives a really good outline on the expectations per grade level.

4. Choose your curriculum. While you may already know after doing the first few steps this is the time to choose what curriculum that works for your family. If you choose accredited it will all be supplied by the program you choose, but make sure you do your research and find the one that works best for you. Typically ones that are run by the state or province are free, but if you choose to go with an academy make sure to look at each subject. Make sure that the curriculum for each subject to make sure everything is the right fit. If you decide that you want to do parent led you should join some homeschooling groups and ask all your questions. Figure what if you want to purchase a whole curriculum from one academy or different subjects from different academies. Try not to get over whelmed and understand that no matter what choice you go with you always have the opportunity to change your mind, or add in more supplement work. I choose to use one full academy for all subjects but I add in extra science, history, art, second language, and coding. I build on to it to make it work for us and what I want for my family. Whatever you go with just give yourself grace and figure it out as you, I promise your children will not suffer for it.

That is pretty much it for the basics of where to start. You don't have to have a homeschool room or space. Get a shelf and keep all your curriculum organized. Make sure to keep records and at least some samples of your child's work from each subject, unless you plan to keep it all. Try not to get overwhelmed. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to be flexible and teach your children what interests them and what you want them to know. You have total freedom to make it what you want it to be.