Homeschooling your child is a viable alternative to public or private education for many families in the United States. In 2003, 2.2 percent of school-aged children were home-schooled, compared with 2.9 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Taking your child out of her current school situation and joining the growing ranks of homeschooling families requires research and planning. Whether you are making the transition for academic changes, religious reasons or social situations, you can teach your child at home.
Decide when to take your child out of school. If you take her out midyear, call your state homeschooling association and determine the legal requirements. Next, call the school and tell them of your decision. Fill out any paperwork needed to make the change official. If you make the decision to homeschool your child over summer break, you only need to follow the guidelines for homeschooled students in your county.
Ask to review your child’s school records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act states that you are entitled to “inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school.” Although not required to give you a copy of the records, many schools will provide you with a copy of the records for a fee. These records will prove valuable if you later decide to re-enroll your child in a different public school or a private school. If the school seems uncooperative, consult your homeschool association for assistance.
Prepare your child for the upcoming changes in her education. A young child may be excited to try something new, but an older child may be apprehensive. Calmly explain to your child that you have made your decision. Show her the subjects you will cover, the projects you plan to do and explain your reasons for the decision. Ask her if there are any subjects she would like to cover that you have not included. Remind her that she will still have free time to pursue outside interests, such as sports or music.
List the subjects and textbooks your child has already completed. Compare the completed subjects to the subjects you plan to cover. If you are concerned about his skill level in a particular area, have him evaluated by a certified teacher. Attend a homeschool support group meeting and ask veteran homeschoolers for curriculum advice. If you are taking your child out of school in the middle of the school year, order your curriculum before removing him from school. This will prevent him from missing any school time.
Begin to school your child. Make a daily schedule of what subjects to cover and have your child put a check mark beside each completed lesson. Incorporate art and geography when you teach history, science and literature. Find a homeschooling or extracurricular group for your child to join. The Family Education website recommends joining sports programs, volunteering together and befriending other homeschooling families.
Attend a homeschool used curriculum fair to purchase your school books at a discount.
After a few weeks of schooling, take time to review what techniques are working and what needs refining.
To help your child develop her social skills, ask if your local library has programs designed for homeschoolers or join a homeschooling co-op to meet and interact with other homeschooling families. Go on field trips with your family or a homeschooling group. You can also invite your child’s old school friends over after school to play.