New to Homeschooling?
So, you're thinking about homeschooling your children?
While you are thinking about it, here's some information that will help you get started.
Think It Over
- Read as much about homeschooling as you can. The County libraries are very homeschool-friendly. They have several books about homeschooling you can check out. You may even see other homeschool families there!
- Search the internet for information. Maybe that's how you found us!
- Understand that there isn't just one way to homeschool and that people choose homeschooling for many different reasons. Learn as much as you can, but think for yourself.
- Become familiar with the laws in your state, as they vary from state to state. (The next section will talk more about Kentucky's laws.)
First things first
Know The Laws
It is critical that you become familiar with and understand the homeschooling laws in your state. For Kentucky residents, read the Best Practice Document on KHEA. You can find this on our Resources link. It is the parents' responsibility to know the homeschool laws of your state. The laws will usually indicate how many days of school you must have each year, how many hours your school days should be, what subjects you must teach, what testing is required, and what letters you must write to the local school. EACH STATE IS DIFFERENT, so check it out where you live. Do not simply rely on information you receive from others, it may or may not be correct.
Talk to Others
Talk to or visit with other homeschool families. Ask them about their experiences and how they got started. Find out what most influenced their decision to homeschool. Ask what obstacles, if any, they had to overcome. Many homeschoolers are eager to talk about their homeschooling "journeys" and offer excellent insight.
Which one to Use?
Now you need a curriculum. For starters, you have to figure out what it is you want to or have to teach and how you will teach it. Do you want a Bible-based curriculum? Do you want a "Classical" curriculum? Will you use textbooks or DVDs? Again, ask other homeschoolers what they use and why.
How Much Does It Cost?
It is the parents' responsibility to purchase the curriculum you will use for your child/children. How much will it cost? The financial investment of home education varies widely with each family. The more organized you are, the less supplies you will need to purchase. Perhaps you may not wish to purchase the Teacher's guides or the subject answer keys. Usually, you spend what you have, and creativity supplies the rest. Libraries and used book fairs (along with making your own charts and the like) can help to keep costs down. And don't forget to check out Ebay! You can also search out internet sights that provide excellent teaching tools, like printable tests and worksheets.
So, now you've decided to take on the adventure of homeschooling. If your child is already in the public school system, you will need to find out what steps are necessary to remove your child from school.
For Kentucky residents, if your child is not in the public school system, you need to send a letter of intent to your local Director of Pupil Personnel (DPP). You can find sample letters linked above. This person is usually located at your local public school. In Kentucky, each County has their own DPP. If you are beginning homeschooling at the beginning of the regular school year, your letter needs to be received by your local DPP within two weeks of the public schools first day of school. See "Kentucky State Law" link.
Join a Support Group
If you are near the Western Kentucky area, we'd like to invite you to be a part of Western KY Cooperative Homeschoolers Support Group (WKyHS). Just keep looking on this site for all kinds of information and updates. We have activities, field trips, seasonal parties, lectures on homeschooling and much more. If you are interested in joining us, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WKyHS/ If you are not near us, seek out the other homeschoolers in your area. If there's not a support group, consider starting one!
Prepare a place to keep all your school supplies when you are not having school. And don't forget to set aside a place to store all the school supplies you will accumulate year after year.
As a homeschooling family, you will also need to keep good records. (Some states require no records be kept, but it's still a good practice.) Get a notebook that will be THE notebook where you write down what you do each day. Create a schedule. This will help you, and your child, stay on track.
If your schedule just doesn't seem to be working, change it! It takes time to figure out the best schedule for you and your children. Understand that homeschooling is a "way of life" for your family. Duties of each family member may need to change to accommodate the changing roles of each family member. Homeschool children, like all children, learn best when both parents are involved.
Stay positive! In time, everything has a way of working out! Good luck and...