A few months ago I started this series about Getting Started in Homeschooling. I am, by no means, an expert on the topic. But, I do love spending my days learning with my children. We’ve been living this lifestyle for almost our entire parenting stint since shortly after our eldest son was born. And if our recent test scores are any indication, the experiment is working!
If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary.
So far we’ve talked about:
- Deciding to Go For It
- Thoughts on Teaching High School
- Determining Your Educational Philosophy
- Selecting Teaching Resources
In the next month I’ll be talking about how to create your academic calendar, how to plan the day, what a day really looks like and how to stay sane. But, before I go into those nuts and bolts I think it’s important to consider what the laws in your state say about homeschooling.
Education at home is legal in all 50 of the United States, however they are regulated differently as each state has its own laws and requirements. It’s important to educate yourself on what your state requires.
Some ideas on how to educate yourself and to know your rights:
1. Join HSLDA
I highly recommend consulting the Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA. They provide a wealth of resources for those who are homeschooling privately (as opposed to charter school members.) Not only can they tell you exactly what you need to do to be compliant in your state, but if you are a member, they will provide you with legal counsel free of charge, as concerns your home school.
2. Attend a conference or workshop.
One of the most helpful things to me years ago was to attend a conference presentation with a home school attorney. He went step by step through our state’s requirements, explained exactly what that meant for us, and gave us concrete examples for record-keeping that would more ensure that we were within compliance of our state laws. I found this to be extremely helpful, and well-worth the cost of the conference, even though we had already been homeschooling for several years.
3. Join a local support group.
By joining a local homeschool support group, you can find friendship, teaching resources, and a wealth of moral support. Through newsletters and word of mouth you’ll also be alerted to updates in your state’s laws and reminders about when to file paperwork. You can find a group near you, by visiting this database, but don’t be hesitant to ask around, too.
Of course, as you know by now, I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. I’m a teacher! So, please go do your homework and make sure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a home educator. For further reading, Simple Homeschool offers great advice about researching laws and following the proper procedures.
Fellow homeschoolers, how do you keep track of what’s what?
About this series – If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary. Coming up next time – Creating an Academic Calendar