The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

By: National School Choice Week Team

Homeschooling is on the rise.

Because of COVID-19, nearly all families found themselves educating from home this year. For some families, learning from home isn’t the long-term plan. But, others have discovered that homeschooling is a great match for their needs. In fact, according to one national poll, 30% of parents say they are very likely to choose schooling at home for the 2020-2021 school year.  

So, what is homeschooling?  It’s the process of parents educating children in the home. Many families choose to collaborate via tutorials, co-operatives, and extracurricular leagues to enhance the home education experience.

 

While COVID-19 has sparked increased interest in homeschooling, educating at home has been happening for centuries.

Importantly, all types of families homeschool for all sorts of reasons. Some may feel unsafe in a traditional learning environment, some may simply desire to learn together as a family, and others may be looking for a unique, personalized curriculum. 

Homeschooled students have become actors, artists, inventors, civic leaders, authors, entrepreneurs, and more

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but rules and regulations surrounding homeschooling differ by state. If you’re wondering whether homeschooling would be a good fit for you, you may have questions about how to switch to homeschooling and what resources are available. We created this guide to answer those questions. 

 

 

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Homeschool: Starting Out

If you’re just getting started, here are the steps you can take to switch to homeschooling: 

1. Review state guidelines

First, review your state’s guidelines for homeschooling. While families can homeschool in all 50 states, each state has different legal options under which you can homeschool. In Texas, for instance, there is just one legal option: All homeschooling families are considered private schools. Meanwhile, in Virginia, there are four different legal options parents can choose from: homeschooling can take place under the home instruction option, with a religious exemption, with a certified tutor, or through a private school option.

You can look to your state’s Department of Education website, or find your state on the Home School Legal Defense Association’s map to read about your legal options for homeschooling. 

 

2. Withdraw and inform

Second, if you are already enrolled in a public or private school, most states require that you send a withdrawal letter to your school district. You can find sample withdrawal letters here and here. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the withdrawal letter you send, in case any questions arise. Also, you may want to ask for transcripts from your child’s school when you withdraw. 

Many states also require that you submit a notice of intent to homeschool to the state and/or your school district. You can find detailed information on who should receive your notice of intent here

 

3. Choose how you’ll learn

Next, develop your plans for what learning will look like in your home. What time will you start in the morning? How often will you learn through outings during the week? There are many curriculums you can choose from if you’d rather not start from scratch. Make sure you’re familiar with what subjects are required learning in your state

One of the joys of homeschooling is getting to know more about your child’s uniqueness and how they learn. There is freedom in this. You may find your child responding better to an approach or curriculum or teaching method that is different from their usual school setting and that’s okay. – Kemi Ingram, homeschool parent

 

4. Keep track

As you start to homeschool, do your best to keep track. Use a planner or syllabus to record what you work on each week with your child. Don’t forget to follow your state guidelines for testing and assessments!

 

Homeschool Resources by State

In addition, remember that homeschooling doesn’t happen in a vacuum. With Facebook, co-ops, and online resources, you never have to feel alone in your homeschooling journey. Scroll to your state in the list below to find homeschool resources near you.

 

Alabama

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Alabama

–      Homeschool Alabama

–      Alabama State Department of Education – Nonpublic Schools

–      Home Education and Responsible Teaching (HEART) Heart of the Wiregrass Homeschool Support Group

 

Alaska

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Alaska

–       Alaska Private and Home Educators Association

 

Arizona

       Arizona Families for Home Education

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Arizona

 

Arkansas

      AR Department of Education – Homeschool

      The Education Alliance

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Arkansas

–      Cabot Area Home Education (CAHE)

 

California

       California Homeschool Network

       CA Department of Education: Schooling at Home

       Home School Legal Defense Association – California

–       Christian Home Educators Association of California

–       Sacramento Christian Organization of Parent Educators (SCOPE)

 

Colorado

       CO Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Colorado

–      Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC)

–      Colorado Heritage Education School System (CHESS)

–      Western Colorado Homeschool Connections (SPICE)

 

Connecticut

       CT Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Connecticut

       CT Homeschool Network

–      The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers

 

Delaware

       DE Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Delaware

–      Tri-State Homeschool, Inc. (DE, MD, PA, and NJ areas)

 

Florida

       FL Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Florida Parent Educators Association

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Florida

–      Alliance for the Pursuit of Knowledge, Inc. (Homeschool Learning Co-op: Brandon & Gardenville)

–      West Florida Home Education Support League

 

Georgia

       GA Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Georgia

       Georgia Home Education Association

–      Eagle’s Nest Christian Home Educators Association (ENCHEA)

 

Hawaii

–      HI Department of Education – Homeschooling

–      Home School Legal Defense Association – Hawaii

      Hawaii Homeschool Association

–      Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

 

Idaho

–      ID Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Idaho

      Homeschool Idaho

–      North Idaho Home Educator’s Association

 

Illinois

       Homeschool Legal Defense Association – Illinois

       Illinois Home School Information

       IL Department of Education – Homeschooling

–       Illinois Christian Home Educators 

 

Indiana

–      Indiana Department of Education

–      Home School Legal Defense Association – Indiana

      Indiana Home Educators’ Network

     Indiana Association of Home Educators

 

Iowa

–      Iowa Department of Education

      Homeschool Iowa

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Iowa

 

Kansas

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Kansas

–      Christian Home Educators Confederation of Kansas (CHECK)

–      Midwest Parent Educators

 

Kentucky

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Kentucky

–      Christian Home Educators of Kentucky 

 

Louisiana

–      Louisiana Department of Education

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Louisiana

      Homeschool Louisiana

 

Maine

      Maine Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Maine

      Homeschoolers of Maine

–      Seacrest Christian Home Educators Association

 

Maryland

      Maryland State Department of Education – Homeschooling

–      Home School Legal Defense Association – Maryland

      Maryland Homeschool Association

–      Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators

–      Severn Run Classical Christian Homeschool Academy

 

Massachusetts

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Massachusetts

      Massachusetts Home Learning Association

–      Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators (MassHOPE)

 

Michigan

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Michigan

      Metro Parent: How to Homeschool in Michigan

–      Michigan Christian Homeschool Network

 

Minnesota

     Minnesota Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Minnesota

      Minnesota Homeschoolers’ Alliance

–      Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators

 

Mississippi

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Mississippi

      Mississippi Homeschool Support Group

      Mississippi Home Educators Association

 

Missouri

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Missouri

      Missouri Families for Home Education

–      Missouri Association of Teaching Christian Homes, Inc. (MATCH)

 

Montana

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Montana

     Montana Coalition of Home Education

 

Nebraska

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Nebraska

      Nebraska Homeschool

–      Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association

 

Nevada

     Nevada Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Nevada

      Nevada Homeschool Network

 

New Hampshire

     Home School Legal Defense Association – New Hampshire

      New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition

–      Seacrest Christian Home Educators Association

 

New Jersey

     New Jersey Department of Education

     Home School Legal Defense Association – New Jersey

 

New Mexico

     New Mexico Public Education Department

     Home School Legal Defense Association – New Mexico

–      Christian Association of Parent Educators – New Mexico (CAPE NM)

 

New York

     Home School Legal Defense Association – New York

–      Loving Education at Home (LEAH)

 

North Carolina

      North Carolina Department of Education – Homeschool

      Home School Legal Defense Association – North Carolina

      North Carolinians for Home Education

–      Alamance County Christian Home Educators

–      Central Carolina Home Educators, Inc.

–      High Point Home Educators 

 

North Dakota

     North Dakota Department of Public Instruction – Homeschooling

–     Home School Legal Defense Association – North Dakota

–     North Dakota Home School Association

 

Ohio

      OH Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Ohio Homeschooling Parents

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Ohio

–      Christian Home Educators of Ohio

 

Oklahoma

     Oklahoma Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Oklahoma

–      Homeschool Oklahoma

–      Christian Home Educators Fellowship

 

Oregon

      OR Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Oregon Home Education Network

       Home School Legal Defense Association – Oregon

–       Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network

 

Pennsylvania

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Pennsylvania

–      Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania

 

Rhode Island

     RI Department of Education – Homeschooling

–      Home School Legal Defense Association – Rhode Island

      Rhode Island Home Education Community

–      Rhode Island Guild of Home Teachers

 

South Carolina

      SC Department of Education – Homeschooling

       Home School Legal Defense Association – South Carolina

       South Carolina Home Educators Association

–       South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools

–      Grow & Learn on Weekdays (GLOW)

 

South Dakota

     Home School Legal Defense Association – South Dakota

–      South Dakota Christian Home Educators

 

Tennessee

     TN Department of Education – Homeschooling

      Tennessee Home Education Association

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Tennessee

 

Texas

     TX Education Agency – Homeschooling

      Texas Homeschool Coalition

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Texas

–      Arlington Association of Home Educators

 

Utah

      UT State Board of Education – Homeschooling

      Utah Home Education Association

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Utah

–      Utah Christian Home School Association

 

Vermont

      Vermont Home Education Network

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Vermont

 

Virginia

      Home Educator’s Association of Virginia

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Virginia

 

Washington

     Washington Home School Organization

–      Christian Family Home Educators (CFHE)

      Homeschool Legal Defense Association – Washington

–      Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington

 

West Virginia

     WV Home Educators Association

      Home School Legal Defense Association – West Virginia

–      Christian Home Educators of West Virginia

 

Wisconsin

      Wisconsin Parents Association

      Home School Legal Defense Association – Wisconsin

–      Green Bay Area Christian Homeschoolers

 

Wyoming

     Home School Legal Defense Association – Wyoming

      Homeschoolers of Wyoming

 

Shareable Facts about Homeschooling

Homeschooling Infographic Red&Yellow
Sources: The School Choice Roadmap, by Andrew Campanella; “Research Facts on Homeschooling,” by the National Home Education Research Institute; “Reasons Parents Homeschool,” by the Coalition for Responsible Home Education

Click here to download and share the graphic.

 

Homeschool Hacks & Tips

As you seek out your own homeschool community, here are some tips and hacks from experienced homeschoolers to get you started: 

Homeschool Stories

Check out these homeschool stories from our archives: 

homeschooling-sisters-smile-in-front-of-white-house

 

One family used homeschooling’s flexibility to roadtrip around the country and learn everywhere.

 

 

Cox-sisters-form-hearts-with-their-hands

 

This mom found that homeschooling was the best fit for one of her three children.

 

 

homeschool-student-sits-behind-huge-stack-of-books

 

They never expected to homeschool. Find out what they discovered after a medical emergency forced them to try.

 

 

The information in this guide is designed to help families who are considering homeschooling in their decision-making process. Our mission is to provide families with the information they need about all the school options available – traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and at home – so they can choose the right fit for their child. For more guides about choosing other types of schools, click here.

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