Dear Mom Who’s Considering Homeschooling (Post #1): Your State’s Homeschool Laws
The thought of homeschooling can be scary for moms who weren’t homeschooled themselves and have never homeschooled before. We (at Hip Homeschool Moms) have been hearing a lot lately from moms who are considering homeschooling but don’t quite know where to start. Some of them are fed up with public school. Some have children with learning disabilities or other issues, and their children’s needs aren’t being met. Some want to homeschool for religious reasons. Whatever your reason for considering homeschooling, we want to share a series of posts with you to help you make an informed decision. This series will cover everything from choosing curriculum to socialization to how to help a child with learning disabilities or behavior issues.
One of the first things you need to do if you want to homeschool (or might want to) is check the current homeschooling laws in your state. This is easy to do! You can simply go to this link to see a clickable map of the states in the U.S. Choose your state, click on it, and it will take you to links with specific information about the homeschool-related laws in your particular state.
Or if you’d rather, you can call HSLDA and ask to speak to a representative who is familiar with the homeschool-related laws in your state. HSLDA members are able to get much more information than non-members, but even non-members can get basic information at no charge.
The truth is that most states don’t have extremely stringent homeschooling laws, so don’t worry! And if you happen to live in a state that has moderate to stringent laws, you will find that most homeschooling moms in your state will be happy to help you understand how to fulfill your state’s requirements. (I’ll cover how to find a homeschool support group in your area in another post.) You can also find help on the Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook page. (We would love to have you visit us there and “like” our page!) I do encourage you to check the laws with HSLDA first, though, before seeking help from other moms. You want to be sure you have an accurate understanding of the laws in your state first.
NOTE: I personally encourage all homeschooling families (should you decide to homeschool) to become HSLDA members. This organization monitors homeschool-related laws, makes sure the member families are kept updated about what’s going on that we might need to know about, and lets us know to make phone calls or send emails any time our homeschool-related rights are jeopardized. They also provide free legal representation for any member family whose rights to homeschool are being violated or put in danger. (Hip Homeschool Moms is not affiliated with HSLDA in any way. I just honestly personally think very highly of them and what they do on a daily basis for homeschoolers.)
I hope the first post in this series has been helpful to you! I plan to post once a week on topics of interest to families who are considering homeschooling, and I would love your input!
What topics would you most like to see covered in this “How to Start Homeschooling” series?
Hi Wendy, it’s like God knew I needed this series. If I were a betting gal I would venture to say there are a slew of us parents out here giving praise for the same reason. We’re excited, nervous and lost as last years’ Easter egg when it comes to the start button on this homeschooling adventure. Thanks for stepping it out simple dimple style so we can get a grasp on what seems to be a merry go round spinning out of control after Googling “how do I homeschool” and living on Pinterest for the very same reason. The best advice I’ve heard thus far is to “NOT STRESS”. Yeah.. still working on that one but I do believe it is most valid. I would love to know your input about subjects. I have two fellas, ages 7 and 9, this fall who are going to be looking at me wide eyed waiting for me to “Bring on the KNOWLEDGE!”. How did you decide what to do when? 3 R’s, yes, add in some science and history and a field trip day and call it good? Oi….
I will be covering information about choosing curriculum as well as deciding what subjects to teach when. 🙂 I appreciate your questions, though, because I’m happy to include as many suggestions/questions from moms as I possibly can! As for this fall, I would say to take it slowly. Of course you’ll need to work on the basics–math and reading. If they’re interested in science, you’ll also want to do that if possible. And if you haven’t yet checked on your state’s homeschool laws, there may be some info there to guide you (if certain subjects are required for certain years). Since it will be your first year, I would concentrate on these basic subjects just to kind of get into the swing of things and figure out what works for your family. There will be adjustments to make, so I wouldn’t do too many subjects to begin with. You need time for learning how to work with each other, and doing too many subjects the first year could hinder that process by causing all of you to feel pushed and hurried. You have an advantage because of your early start, so take your time!
How does one “unschool” kids who have been in school and are going to be homeschooled? I have three that are coming out of school and homeschooling in the fall. 3rd grade and 1st grade (twins)
Hi Lisa! That’s a great question! In this series, I will be answering questions about different methods of homeschooling–including unschooling. There’s too much information to try to share in one short reply, so I hope you’ll come back to read more posts in this series (and others too!). But basically “unschooling” has to do with allowing children some control over what topics they learn about and how they learn about them. They might enjoy educational videos, reading lots of library books (or being read to), learning through arts and crafts, learning through helping out with jobs at home, and other sorts of “natural” ways of learning. Maybe this helps some for now. 🙂
We started homeschooling when my kids were in 7th, 4th and 3rd grade. It’s been an adventure transitioning. My advise right now, today…is definitely RELAX. Read about deschooling and find out WHY it’s important. Especially for the ones who have been in school longer.
I did find a post I wrote in 2012 about helping children make the transition. I thought I’d share it with you. http://walkingwithshiloh.com/2012/01/24/when-family-resists-your-child/
If you have questions, need to chat…or just want to know that the “Oh my goodness, what am I doing?” moments will pass…my inbox is open!
Awesome! My husband and I were both homeschooled and we really enjoyed it. I don’t know if you’re finished with this series yet but I’d suggest a post about single parents who homeschool. My mom was a single homeschool parent but many people don’t think it can be done. Keep up the good work!