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Violence in the schools, religion, and bullying are just a few reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children.  If you are beginning to entertain the idea of stepping into the homeschooling world, here are a few things you need to consider.

  • Can you afford it?
  • Are you familiar with your state laws?
  • Do you have an independent learner?
  • What are your educational goals?
  • Can you access support and resources?

To downsize a two income household to a single income household takes commitment.  If your local school system is unusable and your only option for a good education is private school or homeschooling, you may find homeschooling can be the best way to guarantee your child would get a good and affordable education.

Every state is different when it comes to the requirements for educating your child at home.  Go to your state’s website and do some research.  California has fairly reasonable requirements for homeschooling.  A household must apply for a private school affidavit between October 1-15 to establish the home as a place for education.  Records, subjects, administration, school district, etc. are all listed as a framework.  Another option is to have your child serviced by a private school satellite homeschool program like CAVA (California Virtual Academy). Your child will have the school curriculum available at home and/or online.  The educational program will be on the same pacing and testing schedule as everyone else involved in the program with a periodic meet up with a teacher. Another option is to have your child taught by a certified educator/tutor.

After you have checked  the state laws, you need to look at your learner and question if this new way to educate would be a good fit.  If you are looking at a more traditional program, you may want an independent learner.  It takes discipline to sit at a computer to watch an educational video and get a wealth of work done in a structured period of time when all the creature comforts of home is near. Another popular philosophy on homeschooling is unschooling .  This student driven approach may be uncomfortable for you, the parent, or the child because of the seeming lack of direction in schedules, subjects, and all the bells and whistles tied to traditional schooling.

The educational goals you set up for you child should be deeply tied to your approach. Truth be told, the way you may begin to homeschool your child can/will change from day to day or year to year.  You may have one child who thrives with a structured, traditional program while another child prefers an unschooling approach.  The best resources for a new homeschooling family are conventions and local/statewide organizations.  California has California Homeschool Network and Homeschool Association of California which are two great places to get information.  At the local level, many communities have co-ops or homeschool groups that meet regularly for park days, classes, field trips, social gatherings.  I belong to a great homeschool community where the calendar for social events is always full.

The advice I always give to parents who are thinking about homeschooling is to try it out.  If it’s not a good fit for your family, you could always re-enroll your child into school without much disruption.  Your local school would not turn your child away.

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