Whether a school is not equipped to deal with the special needs of your child or you just aren’t happy with the school choices in your area, home schooling is an option. It is a challenge and a large time commitment, so you should think seriously about it before making the decision. Laws on homeschooling vary by state, with some states being more “friendly” for home schoolers. This doesn’t mean that you have to move–you just need to make sure that you home school your child in accordance with local laws.
Research and follow any state laws regarding home schooling. Some states, such as Texas and Alaska, have very low regulation when it comes to home schooling. You don’t even have to notify the state that you are educating your child at home. Other states, such as New York and Massachusetts, require a high level of regulation, including curriculum approval, achievement testing or professional evaluation. The Home School Legal Defense Association will help you determine what you need to do to get started.
Choose a home school curriculum for your child. A number of home school curriculums available, based on your child’s personality and grade level. You can find one that covers all subject areas–math, science, English, history and social studies, for example–or you can mix and match to find separate ones for each subject. Some parents choose to “unschool” their children, which means that they don’t follow any curriculum at all and allow the children to guide the educational process based on their interests.
Organize a space for studying. Students should have a quiet space in which to work. Many families use the kitchen or dining room tables if they don’t have access to a separate study. High school age children may prefer a study area set up in their rooms for privacy.
Create a schedule for studying. One way to do this is to split the day up into different time slots, similar to a traditional school. You can specify a certain time as “study time” and create a list of things to do for the day. Children determine in what order to complete the tasks. It’s not necessary to hold study time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When working alone, students can complete a large number of studying tasks in a short time.
Hire outside help when you need it. If your children are still young, you can probably handle teaching them most subjects, though you may want to find a music or dance teacher. If your child is in high school, though, you may want to hire a tutor for complex subjects like pre-calculus or physics, unless you have a strong understanding of those topics.
Make time for outside activities. Socialization is the crux of the controversy of home schooling. Critics of home schooling say that students taught in the home don’t have the same opportunities to socialize that students in school have, while advocates of home schooling claiming that their children have more opportunities to socialize with people outside their age bracket. It’s important for your child to interact with others in society, and you need to make opportunities for him to do so. You can do this through volunteering, outside classes or group sports. Choose activities based on your child’s interests.
File any necessary paperwork with the state. You may have to register test scores or attendance with the state. Check your state’s laws to be sure.