How To Homeschool
There are many reasons that a parent would want to learn how to homeschool. Learning how to homeschool is an empowering, yet stressful, undertaking. Today’s world is ripe with reasons why you might be looking to learn more about how homeschooling can provide a more efficient and sound learning environment for your children.
For some, mandatory vaccination laws are scary stuff. For others, its school shooting coverage on the news. There are lots of folks who feel that public schools, in general, spend too much time on social issues and not enough time to prepare kids for the real world. Some parents feel they’d simply be better teachers. And then, of course, there is common core.
There are lots of reasons, none of which I’m judging you on. For any of the reasons listed above (and beyond) don’t connect us in any other way other than our desire to homeschool. This article has nothing to do with why you should or shouldn’t homeschool, this is a guide that helps you learn how to homeschool.
How To Homeschool – Know Your State Laws
Before we dive in too deeply, it is incredibly important that you realize state laws will govern your foundational approach to homeschooling. There are lots of variables, and sometimes state laws which govern how you will homeschool are confusing. While we aren’t a fan of stringent laws causing gridlock for parents attempting to do educationally better for their kids, there is no way to get around the fact that every law in every state is different and applicable.
At the bottom of this article, click on your state to get a briefing on your personal homeschool state laws. I don’t want to bloat the top of the article with every state.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but understand your local laws, because they can all vary significantly.
Homeschool State Laws – The Basics
These are the concepts you will need to understand whenyou read your homeschool state laws.
Notification of intent to homeschool
You will most likely need to notify your school, school district, or superintendent of your child’s school district of your intent to homeschool. It varies on how you notify your school in terms of state compliance. In any case, do everything you can to keep proper records and proof. If you notify via a letter, make sure you make copies and date it.
The qualifications of the parent
Some states may require the parent to meet a certain education level, for example, a GED or High School diploma. Most states do not adher to such restrictions however it is important to check.
Although you may have an idea of which subjects you’d like to teach your child through your homeschool, it is important to look up your state’s homeschool law regarding subjects to be taught. Depending on the state, they may have specific guidelines for subjects and even the homeschool’s functioning hours.
Some states treat homeschools just like public or private schools and require appropriate record keeping. This can include vaccines (we mark each state below in terms of their homeschool vaccine laws). This can often include testing scores.
Testing for student assessment
Some schools require academic testing to ensure the student is progressing in the homeschool. This is a murky area because many states that do require such testing either don’t force the parent to submit the testing scores, or have various options for the parent to avoid testing the child at all.
Depending on the state, your homeschool child may be eligible to still participate in school sports and activities. This could mean your child could play on the school soccer team or cheerleading squad. States with this access for homeschool children clearly define the parameters.
Decide A Homeschool Strategy
First and foremost, you need to decide why you are wanting to learn how to homeschool and what type of homeschool environment you’d like to create. Before developing a homeschool curriculum, you really want to figure out what type of environment you want to create. For example, if a parent is pulling a child out of public school and into homeschool because they have educational differences with the school, that might not mean they are opposed to the group teaching environment. Maybe this means you’d like to recreate the “school environment” but layer it with your own educating approach.
Remember, homeschooling, at its very core, is all about freedom and parental rights and choice. So get to exercising them right from the start.
Before you buy any homeschool books, you should decide what type of homeschool classroom you’d like to create. There are many, many homeschool groups out there that can help you, but first you need to know what type of homeschool class you want your children to experience.
Find A Homeschool Community
Locate a local homeschool community to help you traverse and evolve with your home education ambitions. Homeschool is now a wildly popular and growing sect in America, it is no longer just people who have specific religious beliefs (though many do).
You aren’t in a homeschool group to learn who you are and what you want from homeschooling, but the group can sure help you with all the questions that are likely to crop up from your new undertaking.
Homeschool groups can offer connections for parents who may want to participate in shared or group homeschooling setups within their community.
One of the biggest fears that a new homeschool parent has is the “normalcy factor” being thrown off. Local homeschool groups are wonderful at helping to point out awesome events for homeschool kids. For example, zoos, museums, and other types of community events set up homeschool specific events.
Create A Homeschool Schedule
The last thing you want to have happen is your kid seeing homeschooling as play time all the time. Just like in a public school, your homeschool should be one that at its foundation is on a schedule. Children thrive with schedules and so will you. A homeschool schedule will help you, the newly appointed teacher, organize learning content in a much more fluid manner.
A good homeschool schedule is a key to creating a great learning environment.
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Summon Your Parental Patience
Learning how to homeschool isn’t a process you should expect to come easy to you. Like anything, you’re going to have to learn a new trade and find yourself around a foreign world. No one just “knows what they are doing” from the outset. If you are truly determined to learn how to homeschool, then you will have no problem.
Homeschool State Laws
Below is a list of states with an accompanying link to deeper information on their state homeschool laws. I’ve noted homeschool vaccine laws as well.
Often times, homeschool vaccine laws are the core reason a parent may or may not choose to homeschool their child. We’ve noted each state’s homeschool vaccine laws, but click on the state’s link for deeper explanations for general homeschool laws.
Alabama Homeschool Laws
Alabama has two types of homeschools: church school law and private tutor statute. Neither of these homeschool types is subject to Alabama state vaccine laws.
Alaska Homeschool Laws
Only students being homeschooled in an Alaska correspondence school program homeschool are required to meet state vaccine criteria. Otherwise, vaccines are not required in an Alaska homeschool.
Arizona Homeschool Laws
Unless your child is a student in a “public, private, or parochial school,” there is no required vaccines. In other words, Arizona homeschool laws don’t mandate any vaccines nor is proof of vaccines required.
Arkansas Homeschool Laws
Unless a child is in an Arkansas private and public school, they are not required to comply with Arkansas vaccine requirements. Arkansas homeschools are not private schools.
California Homeschool Laws
Homeschool students in California are NOT subject to the state’s stringent mandatory vaccine requirements.
Colorado Homeschool Laws
Colorado homeschool vaccine record keeping is required and the superintendent can request those records, however, the homeschool is not required to submit proof. The private tutor option does not require any vaccines for a Colorado homeschool. Colorado is more stringent nationally than many other homeschool states, but not egregiously so.
Connecticut Homeschool Laws
No state vaccine laws apply to Connecticut homeschool kids, only kids that attend a public school.
Delaware Homeschool Laws
Florida Homeschool Laws
Georgia Homeschool Laws
Hawai Homeschool Laws
Idaho Homeschool Laws
Illinois Homeschool Laws
Indiana Homeschool Laws
Iowa Homeschool Laws
Kansas Homeschool Laws
Kentucky Homeschool Laws
Louisiana Homeschool Laws
Vaccine laws are lenient in the state. Though it is required your child is vaccinated for meningococcal disease when they are 11 years of age. This is record is required for the state board of elementary and secondary education. It can be however waived if you have a medical, religious, personal or other reason to not vaccinate your child.
Maine Homeschool Laws
Maryland Homeschool Laws
Parents homeschooling in Maryland under the state’s homeschool statute are not required to submit vaccine information. If parents choose to Homeschool in Maryland via a church or private school option, they will need to follow Maryland’s vaccine mandates required in public schools.
Massachusettes Homeschool Laws
Michigan Homeschool Laws
Minnesota Homeschool Laws
Mississipi Homeschool Laws
Missouri Homeschool Laws
Montana Homeschool Laws
Nebraska Homeschool Laws
It’s possible to get a religious exemption, but you must read the full law to be clear.
Nevada Homeschool Laws
New Hampshire Homeschool Laws
New Jersey Homeschool Laws
New Mexico Homeschool Laws
New York Homeschool Laws
North Carolina Homeschool Laws
The state requires vaccine records be kept at the North Carolina homeschool, however, they don’t require that those documents be submitted. It is unclear of North Carolina has the manpower to make visits to the property to verify the records are indeed, being maintained on site.
North Dakota Homeschool Laws
Ohio Homeschool Laws
Oklahoma Homeschool Laws
Oklahoma homeschool vaccine laws: there are none. Homeschool parents don’t have to worry about Oklahoma’s public school vaccine laws.
Oregon Homeschool Laws
Pennsylvania Homeschool Laws
Pennsylvania homeschool vaccine laws require submitted proof through an annual affidavit submission. You must follow required vaccine schedules when homeschooling in Pennsylvania. However, you can file for a religious exemption without much of an issue.
Rhode Island Homeschool Laws
South Carolina Homeschool Laws
South Dakota Homeschool Laws
Tennessee Homeschool Laws
Texas Homeschool Laws
Utah Homeschool Laws
Vermont Homeschool Laws
Virginia Homeschool Laws
According to Virginia homeschool vaccine laws, your child needs to be vaccinated and a superintendent may visit your homeschool and request the documents.
Washington Homeschool Laws
West Virginia Homeschool Laws
Wisconsin Homeschool Laws
Wyoming Homeschool Laws
Photo by woodleywonderworks
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.