To start homeschooling your child successfully, you will want to lay a good foundation at the beginning.
A sure way to fail is to not plan or set up your home school properly. If you have jumped in without much planning, have no fear; its never too late to start!
Setting up your school will take some time and thought, but laying a firm base to build upon will give you success for years to come.
Here are a few guidelines in setting up your home school for a successful start.
When deciding to homeschool, you should research the laws and requirements for your state. Although home education is legal in every state, each state has different requirements and laws set in place.
Our family has homeschooled in two different states. In Michigan, the laws are very relaxed. Filing forms, notifying your intention to homeschool, or registering your home school with the state is completely optional. However, not all states work the same way. Now that we live in NH, we must file an "Intent to Homeschool" with the local district, keep a portfolio, and evaluate our children each year.
You can find the home education laws for your state, by visiting your state's Department of Education website. In the search box, type: home school, home schooling or homeschool. You should find a variety of documents and links for the information you need.
Home school support groups can also help guide you. Most state level support groups provide detailed information regarding homeschool laws for their state. You can also contact a local support group for specific steps to take before you start homeschooling.
When you start homeschooling, you may find your children miss the "going to school" experience. (I know each of my children have wanted to ride the big yellow school bus; that big yellow bus sure makes going to public school look like fun to a little kid!) Perhaps you have taken them out of school and are unsure about doing school at home, or they may just want to be like their friends who go to "regular" school. This is most common with children who have previously attended a public or private school.
It can be awkward for some children, when people ask them what school they go to (especially when they just start homeschooling ). This can be easily remedied by creating an identity for your home school.
Giving your home school a name makes your home education endeavor more official. And... with an official sounding name, your children will LOVE to tell others what school they go to! Include your children in the naming process and make your name reflect your unique family.
Having picture id available for your homeschooled children is important especially when they are out and about during "regular school hours". Children also love to look and feel official, and you can use your home educator and homeschool student id cards to obtain a homeschool discount or two, from some merchants. :)
Write a homeschool family mission statement that reflects who you are and what you stand for; a wonderful family activity to work on when you start homeschooling.
It's very easy to lose focus and get caught up with life. Grades or completing assignments becomes the focus and the real reason why you homeschool is forgotten.
Writing a mission statement for your home school will remind you and your family why you are homeschooling, what is important to you and the values that you cherish.
Your mission statement defines who you are and what you want to focus on. It is an excellent tool to help you focus your energy, actions and decisions, towards the things you believe are most important. It is a road map to achieving your family's goals.
Personally, I think this is one of the most important things you should do as a family when you start homeschooling.
When you go through difficult times, uncertainty, or experience some negative effects of homeschooling, you will have a written document to remind you why you began homeschooling and what is truly important to your family.
It will be a source of encouragement as well as the foundation on
which you build your home school.
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