Okay. You’re starting to think that, maybe, just MAYBE, homeschooling your child isn’t quite the craziest idea you’ve ever had. Maybe my previous post has you convinced some flexibility and freedom might be just the thing to make it easier to do school since your kids may not have the option to return to their school building. If they are going to be home for school anyway, it may as well be on your terms, right? The next logical step is to Google something like, “How do I homeschool?”
After you recover from your initial panic about the overwhelming amount of information and resources you find, you may be tempted to toss the whole idea. WAIT! There is a way forward without drowning in information. Here is how I recommend you proceed in your search.
1. Find out what is allowed in your area.
Outside of the United States, homeschooling is not universally legal. Where I live (Germany), homeschooling is strictly forbidden unless, like I do, you have specific legal standing to allow it. If you live outside of the US, your first search should be, “Is homeschooling legal in…”
In the United States, homeschool regulations vary widely from state to state. To find your specific requirements, search for, “[Your State] department of education regulations for homeschooling.” Getting the information directly from your state’s department of education will ensure you are not getting someone’s interpretation of the requirements. You can also use this map from the Home School Legal Defense Association to make sure you know what is required of you.
2. What style of curriculum are you looking for?
There are many quizzes online to help you determine your homeschool style, but if you are new to homeschooling those quizzes can be as confusing as your original search. Before you start looking for materials to use, consider a few questions about what is important to you. Do you prefer Christian or secular materials? How much do you want to use the internet for school? Do you enjoy crafts and handwork? Do you want to lead the way or follow your child’s interests? Would you like to design your lesson plans on your own, or would you prefer to have the materials laid out for you? Depending on your answers to these questions, you can likely still find a variety of resources that could fit your needs.
3. What fits your budget?
There are almost no circumstances under which anyone will pay you to homeschool, so making sure the materials you chose fit your budget is very important. This is especially important if you do not intend to homeschool beyond the Corona Crisis. In that case, you will want to think of the value of your materials beyond their use for school. I use a curriculum that uses regular books that my kids can enjoy again and again, rather than workbooks that I can only use once.
I will expand on ways to save money while homeschooling in its own post later, but here are a few quick tips. Consider if you can use book lists from a company to get school books from the library, or look for used curriculum. Don’t forget to look into how much math or science tools will cost you when you choose a curriculum. Can you group your kids into one “class” and only buy one set of materials (another post of its own for another time)?
Don’t let information overload be a reason to forget the idea of homeschooling your child(ren). And don’t forget to ask for help from people you know who have been homeschooling. Odds are good they would be thrilled to pass along lessons they have learned. I know it is one of MY favorite things to talk about!