Homeschooling is something you have heard about, studied, and are now ready to begin. Getting started is a lot easier than you think, especially when you have help from HomeLife Academy (HLA). Follow these 10 simple steps that will start you on your journey as a home educator.
1) Learn the Law
Homeschooling is legal in all 52 states and several countries. Each state has its own laws and requirements, so take the time to read through them to be sure you understand. HLA covers families in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, and Tennessee and continuously updates them on changes in the law and requirements. Being aware of both will help you know your rights as a homeschooler. HLA also covers international families. If yours is one, contact email@example.com!
2) Collect Documents
Parents are required at least to have either a high school diploma or GED to homeschool their child in many states Other documents you should have on file are your child’s birth certificate and social security card. HLA does request a birth certificate, but does not typically require either. However, those documents will be useful to have if your child plays sports or when they apply for a state issued driver’s license or I.D. card.
HLA makes enrollment easy, and doing so seals the deal on your new journey. Registering to homeschool through HLA may conveniently be done online. After you submit an online application to enroll, it can take up to one week to receive confirmation of enrollment, sometimes longer if during enrollment season. Once your application is approved, you will officially be a homeschooler.
4) Check Your Style
There are several different styles for teaching your child. Taking the time to learn more about this aspect of homeschooling will assist you in choosing a curriculum that focuses on the needs of your child. Be aware that your child’s learning style may evolve over the course of their education. You will want to revisit learning styles every few years.
5) Choose Curriculum
Once you determine your child’s learning style, choosing curriculum will be easier. There is a variety of curriculum from which to choose and some companies offer special discounts to HLA families. A unique option from HLA is Archway Online, an online curriculum program for students in third through twelfth grades. Along with choosing a curriculum that addresses the needs of your child, choose a curriculum that appeals to your teaching preference.
6) Make a Plan
An education plan allows you to see your complete school year. It is simply the subject, courses, and curriculum/resources you are planning to use for the school year. From the education plan, you can create daily lessons plans for the 180 required days of school. The education plan works like a “road map” for your child’s academic years. Having a road map lets you know where you are going (subjects you need to complete) and also works as a record of the material your child has completed.
7) Involve Them
Although you are the teacher, the homeschool experience is for your children and you. It will take a bit of time to learn your rhythm (ex: when you start school, how long subjects are covered, etc.). Once that happens, involve your children in some of the decisions for their school. Letting them choose the order in which they complete their daily subjects or activities to do during their break could eliminate battles that sometimes occur in a school day. Allowing your older child to make curriculum choices will give them a sense of independence and accountability.
8) Set up “School”
Although setting up a school room is one of the most enjoyable parts of homeschooling, you do not need to replicate a traditional classroom, or have your own dedicated school room to have a great school year. No matter where you set up, let your child help you fix up their school area. Learning in a space they have created just for themselves will make the homeschool experience more personal. Be creative! Who knows it could be the best place for them to learn is hanging from a tree!
9) Meet Staff and Counselors
HLA has staff and counselors who are available to help you with everything homeschool. At some point during the years, you will be individually served by one of them. Reach out to staff with any administrative needs you have and make time for you and even your children to meet the grade level counselors. HLA serves many families and manages to individually take care of the needs of each one.
10) Make a Connection
First and foremost connect with your child(ren). Take time to breathe. Read together, laugh together, go on walks or field trips. Help them to “see” learning in a different way. They don’t have to sit at a desk all day or do “schoolwork” for four hours in the beginning. You will find what works for your students, how they learn best, what they enjoy and what passions they have by talking and doing things together. Then, you can figure out the rest and how to implement it.
Reach out and connect with other homeschool families. Seasoned veterans can offer a lot of guidance, but do not forget those who are new just like you. Connecting with homeschool peers who are at the same stage of homeschooling as you could be the beginning of a friendship that lasts through high school and beyond.
Attending an on-site or online HLA hosted event or joining one of the many HLA online communities is a wonderful way to meet other homeschool families.
Also, connecting with the Homeschool CARE Foundation, the charitable arm of HomeLife Academy, can provide connections, counseling tips, and tools for your family, as well as ways to give back and maybe even to meet a need that you or your family is facing.
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©2020 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher /.