A neighbor recently asked for guidance on homeschooling. I responded to the family with some information and thought I’d share it with you all as well!
As background, I grew up in a homeschooling family. I attended public schools for six years, and my parents interspersed that with six years of homeschool. My husband and I are grateful for the opportunity to homeschool our son, and he loves it too!
When families first start out on the homeschool journey, it can feel a bit daunting with information overload. To help families narrow the search and focus on information relevant for their own family, I always encourage them to look at the three websites below, because they offer such practical and useful information to both new and veteran homeschoolers.
The homeschool quiz tells you what type of teaching method you naturally gravitate toward. We are more traditional, so we like a detailed lesson plan and a box of books sent to us. Some people prefer eclectic, where they select the books and develop their own lesson plan. Others people want a computer based program.
There are various teaching styles, and different curriculum is designed around these methods. Knowing your teaching style helps you narrow down what curriculum to use.
(Note: after clicking homeschool quiz, scroll to the middle of the website to start the quiz.)
CATHY DUFFY HOMESCHOOL REVIEWS:
Cathy Duffy is the gold standard for curriculum reviews. Once you figure out your teaching style, then head over to the Cathy Duffy website to search for a curriculum that best fits your family.
You can do free searches for curriculum that meets your teaching style, educational goals, and also incorporates your preferred religion/faith. From there, you can start narrowing down what curriculum makes sense for your family.
HOMESCHOOL LEGAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION:
I highly encourage families join HSLDA – both for their legal guidance and general homeschool support. The membership is inexpensive compared to the value HSLDA provides. Each state has different homeschool laws, and HSLDA lawyers guide you through everything.
They also quickly step in for parents when needed. For example, we had an issue in our Virginia county a few years ago when the county issued an inappropriate questionnaire to homeschool families. HSLDA intervened. By the next day, the county had rescinded their questionnaire!
HSLDA is also a wonderful resource. Through their website or by talking with one of their kind representatives, you can learn information such as guidance on speech therapy, how to homeschool multiple children, or what a daily routine looks like. Our family contacts them several times a year for legal guidance and general homeschooling questions – each discussion is free (since we’re members).
Of course, there are other resources.
A lot of families use co-ops. They originally started out for older kids to take high school classes, such as higher level math, advanced science, or lab experiments – all taught by moms or dads or teachers who had advanced degrees in these subjects or had previously taught the courses in public/private school. Co-ops have now expanded as options for younger children. While we do not yet participate in a co-op, I can see doing it when our son is older.
Each state has a homeschool association which is quite useful to join. The state homeschool associations also usually list local homeschool groups in your community. If your state association doesn’t have such a list, then try contacting larger churches or ask your neighbors. Or, you can look at this website. Although not all encompassing, it does list some of the homeschool groups in each state.
These local groups are especially important for new homeschooling families. From the field trips the groups take to the friendships and the encouragement they offer, they create a quick way for moms and dads to call someone for advice or just to compare how their day went.
We belong to a local homeschool group, and if we participated in every single event and field trip they organize, we’d never get any schoolwork done! The point is the local homeschool groups are busy, vibrant, and a great way for friendships to develop.
There are lots of other resources that friends and family can share with you, but I wanted to provide this article as (hopefully) a quick way to get you started.
Happy exploring! And, most importantly, know that YOU are indeed capable of homeschooling!!
Homeschooled children benefit the community,
because they are not shaped by peers but by parents.
Mary Kay Clark
If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me at [email protected].
Hilary spent time in public schools and as a homeschooler before graduating from Baylor University and the Naval War College. She is now a homeschooling mom. Along with her husband, they strive to instill Godly knowledge and faithful fortitude in their own family. Previously published by OnePeterFive.com, she has since self-published her first book and maintains her own blog, A Charge to Keep. Her writing niche represents the intersection between Biblical truth, faithful orthodoxy, historic context, and practical living.