Skipping the Public School Route and How We Got Started Homeschooling









Summary: Here's our story of why we chose to homeschool, and how we prepared ourselves to do that for our 2e daughter.  Included are resources for researching your state's homeschool regulations, choosing your homeschool curriculum and links to our favorite homeschool curriculum resources.  Please see my disclosure policy. #homeschooling #gifted #twiceexceptional #howtohomeschool

Many families come to homeschooling after having used the public schools for  awhile.  And many families find out that their needs are not being met there.  Unfortunately.

We decided to start homeschooling early on.  Our daughter was already reading as a 4 year old.

She was SO ready for kindergarten but was too young.  In fact, we would have had to wait 2 more years for her to be at the right age to start K, due to her late birthday.

So we took the plunge early.  I read about homeschooling, talked with my friends who were doing it and got some inital ideas from them.

All of these things thought, really didn't help me to build up my confidence for homeschooling.

Until I started reading.  One of the most helpful books that I found as a newbie homeschooler was the Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling.  It included discussions on making the decision, how to go about learning about your state's homeschool regulations, and much more.

State Homeschool Laws

As Washington state homeschoolers, we found out that in our state, there were few regulations for learning at home.    In WA, those don't start until the child turns 8.

After that, our state law laid out the subjects that needed to be covered each year, and the annual testing that also needed to be done.

Each state has it's own homeschool law, and they are quite varied.  Some states ask for annual testing, some do not. Our state allowed us to test our own child at home.  (But we did not have to until she was 8 years old.)  There are a few states that ask for portfolios to be made of the child's work, which is then sent into the school district for review.  But most states do not require that.

Finding Your State's Homeschool Law

To find out your state's homeschool requirements, a good source is the site called HSLDA, which lists that information here.

When I first looked at that site, I was overwhelmed.  But I found out that it was not hard to deal with our law.  And homeschooling gave us the freedom to choose what curriculum we wanted to use, and how we wanted to approach it.

Why We Chose Homeschooling

The biggest reason that we went the homeschool route, was that we wanted to be able to keep our daughter challenged, and at the same time,  meet her special needs as a 2e kid.

Our child would have been miserable waiting to start Kindergarten until she was 6.

And at the same time, we worried that if she was in a big classroom, she would probably have attentional issues.

Homeschooling allowed us to meet her where she was at, challenge her intellectually, and meet her unique sensory issues as a 2e child.  Ours was a sensory seeker as a young child.  Learning at home let her take summersault breaks, bounce across the room on an exercise ball, etc.  Things that of course would not be possible in public school.

We also could choose her curriculum and even the style that we wanted to use in our homeschooling.  The freedom was priceless as we went about trying to meet our daughter's 2e needs.  To read about how we went about dealing with the difficulties of giftedness click here.  

This freedom was especially helpful when it came to learning resources and curriculum.

One of the first things I did to find curriculum for my child, was just to visit our local teacher's bookshop.  There they had a number of resources for all ages, up to 8th grade.  I just picked out a few preschool/early learning things, with my daughter's help.  If she was interested in bugs, we got something on that topic.  The library was of course a great resource, too.

And many homeschool families use the unschooling approach, allowing the child to take the lead and follow their interests instead of using any curriculum at all.

Finding Your Homeschool Curriculum and/or Resources

If you are looking for homeschool curricula ideas, there is a site called Cathy Duffy Reviews, that has been going strong for years, and has reviews on most everything homeschool related right there.

The Rainbow Resource site also has a plethora of creative homeschool resources.  I have often turned to them for less traditional ideas.  I loved their literature guides, so many to choose from.

I also write homeschool curriculum reviews on a site called The Curriculum Choice, which features reviews by homeschool moms who have used the resources in their homeschools.  Although they are mostly Christian focused, my reviews are mostly secular.  Some of the faith based options that we liked, and were good for our daughter, could be modified so that we could use them in a secular way as well.

Our Favorite Homeschool Curriculum and Activities

Over the years, I have gathered together our favorite resources for different ages, under The Early Years, (Preschool ' 6th grade), Middles and High School to give you some ideas, if you are looking around for ideas.

Finding Support

Then once we had our curricula, we started to look around for a homeschool support group to join.  I wanted to connect with other moms who had been there, and of course I wanted my daughter to meet other kids her own age.

Homeschool Support Groups/Community Activities

We found a local support group in our area, and went to their monthly meetings.  If you want to connect with one in your area, this site might help.  The Homeschool Mom also has support groups listed by state and city here.

Since our group only met monthly, I also searched around for another social activity or two for my daughter.  We found some at our local Parks Department, and then decided to join a music movement  group.

My daughter loved those classes, as they involved a lot of movement, and she was a VERY active kid.  It became such a good way for her to make her first "school" friends.

So by reading up on homeschooling, learning about our state homeschool laws, exploring curricula, and then finding a support group to join, we built up our confidence for homeschooling.  And I am so glad that we did.

Homeschool Testing

In Washington state, we needed to test our child each year, starting at age 8.  But that was not hard to do, at all.  Will you need to do annual testing?

That depends on your state and their homeschool law.  Check above to find your state's regulations, and plan on learning how to do testing in your area, if that is required.  Your homeschool state association as mentioned before, will have lots of info on that.

We tested at home each year.  That allowed us to provide an optimal environment for our daughter.  At home we could accommodate for her attentional issues, sensory needs, and her difficulty with auditory processing.  We could even adjust her annual testing, to take into account these important issues.

What About College?

If you are wondering if homeschooling can prepare your kids for later college admission, we would give you a hearty YES!  Our daughter has thrived there.

Pictured is my daughter's hip/hop dance club, which she started on campus, freshman year.  She went on the college directly from homeschool.

The good news re applying as a homeschooler was that it was not hard.  She got accepted into each college on her list, with scholarship offers.  That was with her homemade homeschool transcript.

Having had her 2e needs met at home during the elementary and middle school years, she either grew out of those issues, or she learned how to accommodate for them herself.

So wonderful to see my previously quite shy daughter speak at her Honors Colloquium last spring.


And she enjoyed it, even wanting to go into a field that would require more public speaking.

Something in politics, government or who knows really.....

After graduating college, she worked in Communications for a city not far from us.


If you are looking for some tips on planning to do high school at home, you might enjoy my book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.


It lays out everything from making your homeschool transcript, assigning high school credit, 100 high school electives and activities and more.

and 
Barnes and Noble 

Kindle is coming!

It lays out 10 easy steps for homeschool to college, and covers everything you need to help your teen get into the college of their choice, with 7 NEW chapters. Recommended by Lessa Scherrer, a certified college counselor and a homeschooling mama of 3.

Create your own unique and nurturing high school program for your teen and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges. 

What people are saying about the book:

Hannah, homeschool mom and speaker says:  "This fantastic resource is hot off the presses. Everyone homeschooling high schoolers should check it out and It is full of useful information about: 
choosing curriculum
making transcripts
creating courses
writing college essays
testing, and so much more. 

Having a guide like this by your side is very helpful as high school looms ahead as well as during high school. So much useful information has been compiled with great detail and simplicity in this book. It breaks down the steps and forward movement needed for homeschoolers who seek to succeed in high school and get into college successfully."


Including 12 high school planning printables 
make record keeping easy!


Paperback is on Amazon for $11.99

ALSO ON THE BLOG:








This is a part of the Hoagie's Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on Homeschooling.  Click this title to reach all the other great articles on this month's topic.


Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind - 2nd edition She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.


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Copyright, 2017
Revised 2019

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for all the resources! I bookmarked your article for future reference. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, and thanks for stopping by! I hope this will be a help to you in the future,

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