There are as many different reasons to homeschool as there are parents who homeschool. For me, it’s two-fold. When my first born reached “school-age” I just wasn’t ready to let her go. Not in an overprotective way, but in a “there’s so much more I want to teach you” way. Add that to the fact that I’m a Christian and I wanted to teach from that perspective – well homeschooling was a perfect fit for me.
Besides religious beliefs some of the other reasons are: geographic remoteness, unhappiness with traditional school system, child not thriving in traditional school and the list goes on and on.
Whatever motivates you personally to homeschool, we all have one thing in common: we all want the best for our children. That and we all have to abide by our state homeschool laws.
If you decide to homeschool, the first place you want to start is with your own state’s laws. They can vary wildly!! Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is (according to their website): “a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.
Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.” They also provide assistance in legal matters pertaining to homeschooling and help locating state and local support groups. Their fee is modest and well worth it in my opinion. Their website at hslda.org has an awesome color coded map that makes it easy to check your state’s homeschool friendliness.
Green states have little to no regulations, the next easiest is yellow. Orange is mid ground and red are states with tough/strict laws. Regardless of your state’s color, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states.
If you happen to live in a “red” or “orange” state you should definitely consider joining your state/local homeschool support group. Also a membership with HSLDA wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Joining a local support group no matter where you live is a good idea.
You get to meet other like minded people and maybe find kids the same age as yours. Support groups get together and go on field trips, have sports teams, academic teams, put on proms and dances, have co-ops (group classes for certain subjects) and lots more. They are a very important part of your homeschool. You can talk to other parents who have been there, done that. Ask about curriculum and vent about any problems or struggles.
Starting out can be difficult because your options for curriculum are endless! The best thing to do is to decide how much involvement you want in the actual teaching of your child. You can do anything from sign your child up for video/online course, where somebody else does the actual teaching. You just oversee it.
The other end of your options is you, the parent go through curriculum and online choices and pick and choose what you and your child like the best. There are a bunch of options in between those two. If you don’t have a friend that homeschools, a good support group leader will walk you through curriculum options and help you come up with some ideas that are good for you and your child.
Keeping your child interested and motivated can sometimes be a challenge. One of the most important things to do is to remember that you are HOME schooling – not school at home. Keep it fun. My kids do their schoolwork in their pajamas and they love it. Also try to find what they are interested in. My kids were into the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so we did a month long study of pirates! It was fun and they loved it. Turn the stuff you do normally throughout the day into little lessons. Cooking, animal care and building out buildings are all great lessons. Be creative and keep it fun!!
Homeschooling is not always easy. Believe me! Currently I’m homeschooling 11th, 8th and 5th grade. Sometimes it can be challenging, but it is always rewarding!!