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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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