Here are some basic questions answered for those beginning their homeschool journey:
- Research the laws in your state. You can do this with a quick click on the HSLDA- The Homeschool Legal Defense Assocation website. There is information about how to homeschool in Ohio on our Notifications FAQs page.
- Evaluate your motivations – Why do you want to homeschool? Are you excited about the opportunity to teach your children? Has something bad happened that caused you to consider homeschooling? Do you feel pressured by family, friends, or church to homeschool? Do your children have special needs – learning or physical – that need to be addressed? Knowing why you want to homeschool can be a very important step in helping you prepare for the task. It may be a temporary fix, or an 18 year investment.
- What is your family dynamic? Do you or your spouse have a work schedule that requires accommodation? Would you rather school in the morning or afternoons/evenings? Write down a schedule to serve as a framework for how you think your family might best function as homeschoolers. This may change as your family grows and their needs change, but knowing how to integrate schooling into your family life will make it a much more enjoyable experience.
- Think about what kind of resources your children would enjoy. Go with learning methods and curriculum that feel most comfortable to you and your kids. Maybe traditional textbooks and workbooks are familiar, or your kids are computer geeks who would love DVDs and computer programs. If you are lucky enough to have some voracious readers on your hands, the local library is going to be your home away from home.
- Listen to and ask for advice, but keep your family dynamics, goals, and needs in mind, and filter all of what you read, see and hear through that. Accept all of the help you will be offered graciously, then take what rings true for you and yours, and file the rest away for Future Reference.
- Assemble your plan – organize all you have learned so far and begin to corral your scheduling needs, curriculum materials, and legal requirements. It is OK to start small, and start slow.
- Stay grounded in reality. Remember that bad school days are as inevitable as bad hair days. The dog will throw up on the couch, the kids will wake up cranky and belligerent, your relatives will tell you that your are ruining any chance for your kids to go to college and be ‘normal’, and your neighbors may think you are strange. Dreams of perfect children who can recite Shakespeare, play the violin, and find the cure for a terminal illness before they are 12 may fall apart and leave you feeling inadequate and discouraged. But – you will be an integral part of seeing your kids discover life and living. You will be the one they come to with questions, and you will be shaping their characters (and that is much scarier than critical relatives).
PEACH exists to offer information, encouragement, and fellowship to homeschoolers in the Miami Valley Area. If you live close enough to attend one of our monthly meetings, you are welcome to visit and meet other homeschooling families who are on the same journey you are. If not, try to connect with home educators in your area who can provide the kind of personal support that will help you meet your homeschooling goals.
(adapted from One Size Fits All . . . Doesn’t from The Every Day of Education blog, reprinted with permission)