We've tackled the beauty of homeschooling.
We've gone thru a non-exhaustive list of curriculum to consider.
Now, let's dive into the "how in world do I start?" question.
Homeschooling requirements are different in each state. So, you'll need to get a good look at this handy dandy map to see if your state is a red, orange, yellow, or green state.
If you're living in one of those beautiful green states, I envy you. You can just go for it...and ignore the rest of this post, entirely. (j/k...sorta) Happy homeschooling.
If you're any other color, there is a little or a lot of homework involved.
As a NC homeschooler, I can only confidently speak for our regulations. Being a moderately regulated state, we really don't have a lot of hoops to jump thru.
What you may want to do, no matter what state you're in are the following basic steps:
1) Name your school
Even if your state doesn't require school naming (NC does), you'll still want to give your school a name. If you want to make awesome shirts to wear on field trips, print certificates, and even for the eventual high school diploma and college apps, you'll want a name.
I know of a lady who named her homeschool "Smarty Pants Academy" and literally put that on her child's diploma. I bet colleges got a kick out of that one. But, seriously, try not to be too embarrassing.
We named our school Carolina Christian Prep. My friend chose Eagles Nest Christian Academy. I know another that did ArrowsWay Christian Academy. Be creative! This is YOUR school that represents YOUR family.
2) Keep attendance
Even if you don't have to. Our state requires it, but some states don't. It is nice to have some record of school attendance to keep on file for each child.
Our states department of non-public education has a handy printable ready made. Check with your states Dept. of Non-Public Edu. to see what they offer.
3) Join a support group.
There are probably several homeschool associations in your area to join. Some charge a small fee for the year and encourage you to sign up for one volunteer activity in exchange for a decrease in fee.
These groups are especially great for those just starting out. They plan field trips, activities, get-to-gethers, graduations, proms, sports, you name it. The calendars are usually full in these groups and there is NO shortage to the amount of social time they offer.
In addition, being a member of these groups usually means exclusive discounts and coupons available to you to take advantage of every fun opportunity. Since most homeschool families have three or more children, much consideration is given in terms of extracurricular costs.
4) Join HSLDA
For a rather small yearly fee, I highly highly recommend every homeschool family join this Homeschool Legal Defense Association. You never know when you'll need protected from the homeschool haters out there.
5) Consider joining a co-op
Co-ops are just that, they are a cooperation of homeschool families that gather for the purpose of enhanced, away-from-home instruction whether in one or several subjects.
Some co-ops, like our church based one we attend, meet once a week for a small yearly fee, and all of the homeschool parents divide up and teach in the different subjects and age groups.
Our co-op offers nursery up thru high school, even some courses offered give high school credit such as Spanish 1, etc. We offer extracurriculars such as drama, concert band, last year they did STEM classes, history, science, music, and more!
It's a wonderful time to connect and pour into other children than your own.
Some co-ops are not church based and do not require for the parent to stay on site. These co-ops generally cost quite a bit more, but gives the parent the chance to drop off and go for a few hours. Just find one that works best for you!
6) Prepare for and embrace the haters
Unless you personally were homeschooled as a child, and your spouse was homeschooled, and all your neighbors and their friends were homeschooled, too, prepare yourself for the homeschool haters
We're five years in, our children are scoring crazy well on the required end of year tests, they are in so many extras and experience a lot of social time, and we still have the "traditional school wishers" .
All I can tell you is, you may have a concerned parent or grandparent or friend that just says the wrong thing at the wrong time about your willingness to try homeschooling, and you may just break down at one point. You may begin to doubt yourself and God's plan and become entirely too overwhelmed. You may feel like a bad parent or just plain crazy by the way others may respond to you homeschooling.
I want to encourage you. I've been there and sometimes I still am there. I know, I am the best teacher for my children. I know I am. I know them better than anyone does, even their own father. I know their learning styles. I know their struggles, passions, and the ways to best encourage them when something seems too hard.
I am creative, fun, thorough, and spontaneous. You may be all of those things too. In fact, I bet you are.
My advice would be to invite those people who assume the worst about homeschooling to any activity you can. Invite them to peek at a day in the life. Invite them to come and look at your curriculum, what you've been working on, or share your homeschool photo album with them.
Over time, and with prayer, hopefully they will stop the negativity and be proud that you had the courage to take this step for your children.
Comment below! I love to hear from yall! I'd love to see if any homeschoolers could add to this list, too!