One of the things about homeschooling that never changes is the need to gather information.
Whether this is your first year or your fifteenth, you will always have to gather information at the beginning of every year. In this episode, I am helping you understand what information you need to gather and how to go about it.
But before we dive in, if you missed Parts 1 and 2 of this series, it will all make more sense if you go back and listen to those first. And be sure to have your cheat sheet in front of you as we go through this session especially, because there will be a lot here for you to keep track of.
You can get your free cheat sheet right here…
for your first year homeschooling
If this is your first year, there are a couple of pieces of information you need that you won’t need again unless you move to another state. They are as follows:
- Your state laws on homeschooling.
- Your state’s testing requirements.
- Reporting requirements.
Once you find these things out your first year, they won’t change unless you move to a new state or the homeschool laws change in your state.
Every state has its own unique homeschool laws so do not just base what you do on what your best friend in another state does. You have to find out what the specific laws in your state are, My favorite way to find this out is to go to HSLDA and click on the word “Legal” at the top, and then click “State Homeschool Laws.”
This will tell you exactly what you have to do in order to legally homeschool in your state, including what you have to file with your public schools, if anything.
Once you know what you have to do, you can find out the rest, such as who to turn reports into and what the testing requirements are in your state or organization, from friends and fellow homeschoolers, or from any organization you join.
any year after the first one
For all succeeding years after the first one, your list of information to gather is shorter but still important. It is as follows:
- Are you joining a co-op, hybrid school, or going solo?
- What homeschooling method are you planning to use?
- What curriculum will you start with?
Many homeschoolers use co-ops: for socialization, for getting those subjects in that are higher level, and for credits for lab sciences, which are almost always cheaper to do in a group setting.
You need to decide if you want to try doing it on your own or if you’d feel more comfortable with a group of other homeschooling moms alongside you. Don’t feel pressured to join a co-op; I have only used a co-op twice in 25 years of homeschooling. You can totally do this without a group.
Method and curriculum
Most new homeschoolers think that curriculum is the first thing to consider when starting to homeschool. I hope that parts 1 and 2 of this series have shown you that only after some serious thought and planning should you even think about curriculum.
Before curriculum, you need to choose a method. There are many methods of homeschooling. A few more popular ones are:
- Charlotte Mason
You can do a simple Google search to find out more about each of these methods and again, ask your friends. Homeschoolers are usually happy to tell you what method they use for their family and what curriculum has worked well with that method.
If you live under a rock and literally don’t know another homeschooler, search on Facebook for groups that use the method you are interested in.
More information, please
You aren’t quite finished gathering information at this point. There is still testing to consider, if your state requires it. You’ll need to find out who can test your child, where the testing is held, and if you are required to participate.
If your child is in high school, you will also need to begin gathering information on colleges and credits. Find out how many credits your child needs to graduate in your state and what the colleges they hope to attend require. Begin to gather information on scholarships and internships.
Don’t let all the information you need to gather overwhelm you. It feels like a lot at first, but soon you will know exactly where to go to find out what you need to know and before you know it, new homeschoolers will be asking you for help!
Don’t miss Part 4 of this series…