I Want To Homeschool, But…Am I Allowed?
We’re kicking off a new series here at Cheeky Bums for those of you just wondering about homeschooling! Maybe you’re wondering if it’s right for you? There are alot of factors that go into the decision to homeschool, and we want to give you some information to make that decision a little easier! We have an amazing team of guest bloggers that will be popping in now and then to give you their unique perspectives and to answer some of your most curious and pressing questions about that weird sub-culture that homeschools their children…
And for today…
I want to homeschool, but…am I allowed?
The easy and short answer, is: Yes. In every state in the US, it is completely legal to homeschool your children. Now, that being said, there are still a few things to consider…
Each state has very different requirements.
For example, here in Indiana we have very relaxed homeschool laws. I do not need to issue any reports, notify the school system of my intents, etc. I simply don’t enroll my children. However, not all states are this lenient, so make sure to check out the HSLDA’s website if you are curious about the legal requirements of your state. This particular page will give you a picture of the US and an overview of the state requirements, as well as links to all 50 states’ guidelines.
If my state requires that I use the public school curriculum, then why bother homeschooling?
First off, not all states require you to use a specific curriculum (thank goodness!) (The link we shared above will let you know which states do mandate curriculum.) That’s a loaded question and goes back to the heart of homeschooling. The curriculum is not the only reason that you’re homeschooling – at least it shouldn’t be. If the State is requiring you to use a specific text book – you aren’t bound to using that book solely. BY ALL MEANS – supplement. (please supplement!) Public school text books teach to the test. That’s not a judgement call, that’s simply a statement. As a parent, we don’t “teach to the test”. We teach – whether that’s algebra or potty training – because we love our children and we know them inside and out, we know their struggles, their unique strengths and weaknesses, their interests, and we know what they need. You know them better than a public school teacher will, because you’re the parent. All you’re doing is now adding some text books to that equation and walking with your child on the journey to build knowledge.
They don’t need standardized testing.
They need connection, and that’s what homeschool does.
IT’S THE MOST TAILORED EDUCATION YOUR CHILD COULD POSSIBLY RECEIVE.
But I’ve never taught before.
That’s most likely true. Some states may require that you receive some training in education, but right now, the majority of the US does not require any formal educational training for parents that want to homeschool their children. Don’t let the thought of teaching scare you away. Remember what we talked about last week – if it’s what you want to do – if it’s the right fit for your family – you can make it happen.
Plus, don’t assume that you need to be comfortable in front of a classroom in order to teach your child. The goal of homeschooling is NOT to do public school at home. You don’t have to be a fantastic teacher to homeschool your children, you simply need to love them and be committed to a pattern of learning. This DOES means that you need to exercise self-discipline everyday in actually maintaining a semblance of a school schedule or routine. That will look different for each family, but homeschooling DOES NOT give you a license to let your children slack off and wait to learn to read until they’re fourteen years old, or never crack a math book until 6th grade. That’s a gross abuse of liberty.
Homeschooling is not easy and it will be a stretch for you, but if it didn’t come with some kind of price, we’d take for granted it’s irreplaceable value.
Also, it can be so overwhelming when you’re first starting out, but thanks to the online community, you aren’t alone. There are literally thousands of forums, blogs, DIY books and resources available for those just starting out. Just as a sample, a few of my favorite sites to get started on are Heart Of The Matter, Simple Homeschool, The Homeschool Classroom, and The Curriculum Choice.
If you are still intimidated, don’t worry! We’ll be covering the steps to getting started soon enough, but before we get that far, I definitely recommend the book Dr. Beechick’s Homeschool Answer Book. I know all homeschoolers have their favorite reference books that they used when they first started out, and mine were all written by Ruth Beechik. She is a seasoned educator and I’ve enjoyed (and owned) most of her books. The Homeschool Answer Book is one of the most thorough and well written books I’ve seen on getting started in homeschooling. Two thumbs way up.
To you, the waters are uncharted, but don’t worry – there are a lot of moms that have gone before you that have tested the water.