Deciding to homeschool your child or children is a very important decision. You must be sure that homeschooling is for you. The entire household (including the child or children to be homeschooled) must be in full agreement that homeschooling is appropriate. When making this decision, keep in mind that homeschooling will take up much of your time each day and can involve financial sacrifice.
Once you have made the decision to homeschool your child or children, consider each of the following questions.
- What laws apply to homeschooling in the state in which you reside?
You must be in full compliance with these laws. These laws vary from state to state.
- What curriculum will you use?
If you are not required to follow the standard curriculum used by public schools in the state in which you reside, choose a curriculum that best fits the needs of your child or children. You will find considerable variation from curriculum to curriculum. Be sure you are comfortable with the curriculum you choose.
- What will your homeschooling schedule be like?
Establish a plan for the year, and break it into smaller manageable segments such as weeks, months, quarters, and semesters. Set a routine, but be sure to leave time for things you must do other than homeschooling. Flexibility is a must.
- What kinds of records will you maintain?
You can use your own record keeping system such as journals and portfolios. If the state in which you reside requires that you submit end-of-year outcomes for their review, journals and portfolios work particularly well. It is easy to keep a journal in a notebook in which you date and precisely record what is done each day. Use a portfolio to organize and keep samples of your child's or children's written work and projects. You may choose instead to use a commercial computerized record keeping system.
- What kinds of help might you need?
Homeschooling is rigorous and often stressful. Consider joining a homeschooling support group. There you can find encouragement and many useful teaching ideas. For some advanced subjects such as physics or algebra, you may need to use the services of a qualified tutor.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. If you decide to homeschool, take advantage of the enormous range of homeschooling resources available on the Internet.