Despite the gradual erosion of the public school system, relatively few people embrace the challenges and rewards of homeschooling. If you are making the decision to homeschool your child, you have possibly already realized that this is no simple matter. But don’t be daunted! You can successfully teach your child at home. Here are a few things to take into account as you begin the process.
With regard to procedures and requirements set by boards of education, every state is different. Many of them can seem to act as gatekeepers to the educational system, designed primarily to keep children in the public school system. Even though homeschooling has gained more acceptance in the last decade, this still seems to be widely true.
The good news is that some states have far less regulation than others, such as Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, and Connecticut. These states require no governmental contact to begin homeschooling. States that are highly regulated include New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Almost 20 other states have a moderate to high degree of regulation for homeschooling. The remainder only requires notification from the parents.
Prior to beginning to homeschool your child, you should find out your state’s requirements. Try to allow yourself plenty of time to comply if you live in a state with moderate or high requirements as some of these require test scores, evaluations, and potential home visits.
Parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons; religious reasons, avoiding school violence and bullying, and to provide higher quality or more relevant education. No reason is intrinsically better than another. However, these may influence your decisions along the way, including the organizations you join or the other homeschooling parents with whom you choose to associate. After all, it is important to make connections so your child can know other young people their own age and with their own values and not feel isolated.
The choice of curriculum is a related issue to homeschooling philosophy in that the latter informs the choice of what and how your child should be taught. This is one of your biggest decisions. Thankfully, the amount of homeschooling tools available have increased in number, quality, and availability in recent years, making teaching at home much easier. You are easily able to evaluate different offerings and decide if they fit with the educational experience you envision for your child. Since you know your child and his or her learning style best, you can even choose programs that specifically meet their needs and utilize their strengths.
Homeschooling is a potential choice for many parents who have the time and resources to take on the task. Once you know what your state requires, you can evaluate your philosophy for making this decision and choose the best possible tools for educating your child in the manner you believe is best for them and for your family.
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