If you’re not only new to homeschooling but to the idea of homeschooling, you may be wondering where to focus your attention first and what the most important elements are. This article will help you know where to look.
First Things First
Because our public school systems are local, one might assume that parents who want to school would take up their desire to homeschool with the same local organizations. But, as it turns out, it is your home state that sets the requirements for homeschooling within its borders. So among the first things you need to do is learn the homeschooling requirements of your state. Contact your state’s department of education, either through the state website or by phone or mail in order to learn what guidance they might have for homeschoolers as well as any mandates that might shape your curriculum. The section of the state department of education which deals with these mattes may be called something like “home school,” “home education,” or “home study.”
Although homeschooling does not need to take place entirely in the home, it is a good idea to consider early on where the primary location for daily work will be. This could be an area that you’ve converted especially for the purpose of homeschooling, such as a portion of a room, garage, basement, spare bedroom, or attic. On the other hand, it could be an area shared with other uses, such as the kitchen table or a portion of a home office. Alternatively, it could be a newly created area, created particularly for homeschooling purposes.
Also consider community resources that you can use, both to vary the school day and to expand possibilities. Local libraries, parks, park and recreation departments, schools, and museums may all have areas in which homeschooling can take place on a regular basis.
Whichever type of location you choose to use, it should be well lit, have a place for storing school supplies, and allow a quiet atmosphere conducive to reading and study when that is required. At the same time, think about being able to do any other tasks you need to do while supervising your child. Your choices about location need to interact well with other demands on your time as well as with your child’s requirements.
So, consider your schedule. Perhaps you have other children, work part-time from home, or will need to double up with doing other household chores while running your homeschool. Also consider your child’s attention span, and how you might break up the school day with variety and movement interspersed with study and sitting quietly.
Books, Supplies, and Other Materials
Although in some cases you may be able to borrow textbooks from a local school, in most cases home schoolers need to find, and in many cases purchase, their own supplies. This both requires that you budget for these expenditures and, often, that you locate and choose the items that will meet your needs. In most cases, you will have a wide range of choices, and may wish to review items, when possible, before making a purchase. Some free materials may be found for homeschooling, particularly on the Internet, but it is up to you to decide whether they meet the needs of your child and the requirements of your state. With published programs, you may have some more assurances that your requirements will be met. Online education is another area that you may wish to consider.
Locating What You Need
If you wish to have further assistance in any of these areas, please review the other articles in this series, which cover a wide range of homeschool topics fromcurriculum to setting up a homeschool to scheduling to locating and choosing suitable materials and texts.