Skipping the Public School Route and How to Get Started Homeschooling









Summary: If you are new to homeschooling, I invite you to read on.  Sharing tips for getting started in homeschooling.  Affiliate links may be used, to support my blog and to keep my book frugal.  Please see my disclosure policy. #homeschooling #twiceexceptional #howtohomeschool



Many families come to homeschooling after having used the public schools for awhile.

And now with the times we are in, with Covid-19 and all, many public school families are considering giving homeschooling a try.

We welcome new members to our homeschooling community!

But, many families are asking, how do I really get started with it all?

Do the public schools decide what we should teach?  How do we register as a homeschooling family?

And what about homeschool curriculum?

Below I share 5 steps for getting started with homeschooling, with all the basics you will need to begin your homeschooling journey.


HOW WE GOT STARTED

First, here is a little bit about our story.  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.


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.

Many kids with ADHD and sensory issues do better learning at home than in a public school setting.

Homeschooling allowed us to meet her where she was at, challenge her intellectually.

Ours had sensroy issues and 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.  


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.

Here is my simple guide to getting started with all those things.




STEP 1 - WHAT ARE STATE HOMESCHOOL REGULATIONS?


Each state has homeschool regulations.

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.  But this varies from state to state.

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.


STEP 2 - FINDING YOUR STATE 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.

In almost every state, homeschooling gives families the freedom to choose what curriculum they want to use.  Most states also ask for annual testing to be done.  

Homeschool Testing

When you are first getting started, I would not worry at all about homeschool testing.  No state requires that until the end of the year, anyway.  


And some states only ask for it every three years.

Did you know that homeschoolers actually  tend to test higher than their public school friends?

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.

We tested at home each year.  That allowed us to provide an optimal environment for our daughter.  Yes, your child can be tested at home, in most states.


LINK: 3 Ways to do Middle School Writing


At home we set things up so that our daughter had the best environment for testing.  We could even adjust her annual testing.


STEP 3 - WHAT ABOUT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM?


This freedom was especially helpful when it came to learning resources and curriculum.  The homeschool community now has tons of homeschool curriculum.  In fact, that can even feel overwhelming, with so many choices out there.

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 allow the child to take the lead and follow their interests iin their learning.

One year, it was all about penguins in our house!




LINK: Stamp Collecting for Kids - Geography FUN!
                                                           

But to get started, I recommend using an established homeschooling curriculum.


STEP 4 - FINDING YOUR HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 


There are many places to look to get started.  There are even sites that have reviews of curriculum, from families who have already used them.

Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

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.

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.

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.

With so many homeschool curriculum programs out there, it can feel overwhelming. I have collected our favorites that we used while homeschooling our daughter.  Feel free to browse around and see what we liked, to give you ideas:


BJ's Favorites for Homeschool Curriculum


Over the years, I have gathered together our favorite homeschool curriculum resources for all ages:


Just click the links below for more information on our favorites for each ages, early year, middle school, and high school.

 The Early Years, (Preschool ' 6th grade)

Middles  (6th through 8th)

High School  (awe the teen years..)


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 courseI wanted my daughter to meet other kids her own age  and more.





LINK: Teaching Homeschool Reading


STEP 5- FINDING SUPPORT

This really should have been at the top of the list!  Support is so important for starting out, for the kids and especially for us moms.

Homeschool Support Groups

We found a local Homeschool Support group in our area, and went to their monthly meetings.  There we met lots of experienced homeschooling moms, who helped us a lot.

If you want to connect with one in your area, this site might help.

Local Homeschool Meetings and Park Days

Every state has a support network for homeschooling families.

The Homeschool Mom also has support groups listed by state and city here.  It lists all the homeschool support groups in each state.

There are also gatherings of families for group classes called Co-ops, and more information on those will be found on your state's homeschool associations's page.  Each state has a Homeschool Association and to find one on your state, that should come up when you click here.

Will Homeschool Co-ops be meeting now the Covid19 issues happening?

We will see if those meetups and co-ops can meet, as the fall comes around and we see what is happening with covid-19 guidelines.

Homeschool Blogs and Facebook Groups

Veteran homeschool bloggers also are a great source of support.

I am a long time homeschooler and blogger and can be found here at BJ's Homeschool.   I have lots of resources for homeschooling, and I share how we used them on my blog. 
Here are some of my blogging friends:

Sarah from Freedom Homeschooling offers 12 Tips to Ease the Transition from Public School to Homeschool.

Christine from This Little Bit of Life shares about getting started homeschooling with her Free Homeschooling Guide and More.

Sarah from My Joy Filled Life offers Tips for Choosing The Right Homeschool Curriculum.

Facebook Groups are also a great way to get support and to learn more about homeschooling.  There are so many of them now, that I just recommend googling "Homeschool Facebook Groups" and see which ones sound like a fit for you.

For high schoolers, I host a Facebook Group.  For more information on that, click the link below.


I invite you to join other high school moms here.

Using Community Resources

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.


DOES HOMESCHOOLING WORK?


I have been homeschooling for over 14 years and after that, have been mentoring families for many more years.

From my experience, I have seen so many success stories that show that homeschooling is a solid educational choice. And if you google "Homeschooling - does it work?"  you will get links to lots of research about that.

One of the common questions that people have about homescshooling, is whether homeschoolers can go to college, and if so, will they do well there?

 What about College?

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

Colleges are regularly accepting homeschool applicants now and some are actively recruiting them.
Our teen got accepted into each college on her list, with scholarship offers.

That was with her homemade homeschool transcript.  More on that is on my blog.

Having had her 2e needs met at home, during the elementary and middle school years, she was ready to go to college, upon high school graduation.


SUMMARY

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.


ALSO ON THE BLOG:







Book Making for Little Homeschoolers 







Homeschooling High School with College in Mind lays out everything from making your homeschool transcript, assigning high school credit, 100 high school electives and activities and more.




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.


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.


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4 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,

      Delete
  2. This seems like a great way to make sure your child is challenged and be ahead of other kids their age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie. It really helped to homeschool our daughter, as then we could, as you say, keep her challenged, then at the same time, work to meet her sensory needs, etc. Thanks again!

      Delete

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