More than one million children are in a home schooling environment in the Unites States today and more and more parents are choosing this road every day.
But do you know how to start home schooling?
- Make the decision. This might seem like an odd tip to start with but it is absolutely fundamental to successful home schooling. Teaching your children at home may well be the right choice but it is not an easy option and it is absolutely vital that both you and, where applicable, your partner fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of schooling your children at home and are certain that this is the path you wish to follow.
- Understand the law. Although home schooling is legal across the United States each state has its own set of laws governing home schooling so, before you start, make sure that you fully understand the governing laws in your state. A good starting point can be found at the Home School Legal Defense Association.
- Set up your ‘school’. Start setting up your ‘school’ or ‘classroom’ within your home. Schooling within the home does not need to be done in the formal setting associated with a public school classroom but you do need to set aside and equip an area of your home to home school.
- Contact local support groups. However confident you may feel about your ability to home school your children you should recognize that you are going to run into problems from time to time and will need help. It is also important to realize that you are not alone and that there are many other parents who are already following this path and from whom you can gleen valuable information. All states have home schooling support groups and a good starting point is to take a look at the home schooling Unitarian Universalists web site.
- Select a curriculum. One of the most difficult tasks when setting up home schooling is that of selecting a suitable curriculum. This is an area that is simply too broad to cover in any detail here and you should seek the advice of your local support group and research this subject yourself by searching for ‘home school curriculum’ using your favorite search engine.
- Set up a system of record keeping. It is essential (and a requirement in many states) that you keep full and detailed records of your children’s home schooling. This can be as simple as maintaining a handwritten logbook or as complex as one of several computer software record keeping programs.
- Set up a schedule. Sit down and carefully draw up a schedule (timetable) for your first home school year. This needs to be a detailed schedule starting with a broad overview and then breaking this down into a day-by-day plan.
- Select an appropriate teaching method. This again is a broad subject and one which is too wide to cover in any detail here. Suffice it to say though that there are several different tried and testing home schooling methods and this is an area which you need to research so that you can find a style which will suit both you and your children.
This list of tips will give you a good starting point upon which to build but one tip which we would emphasize here is that of contacting your local support group. home schooling is not an easy option and you will need help. Fortunately however you are not alone and the help and advice that you can get from other parents involved in home schooling will be absolutely invaluable.