So how does homeschooling work? How in the world do you get started? What do I need to know to make sure my kids don’t fall behind? There are so many questions about homeschooling, and also so many misconceptions. Last year, many parents found themselves scrambling to figure out homeschooling really quickly. Many realized that there really were a lot of other options that could work for their families besides traditional five day school. And if you are considering homeschooling, or even if you’ve dabbled in it in the past, you can get your questions answered here. These are the basic answers to the question, “How does homeschooling work?”
First of all, I hope you know by the time you’re reading this, that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Every state has their own requirements, but you should know, it’s legal. The Home School Legal Defense Association has information on the requirements broken down by state, and they are an amazing source of information. With over 95,000 families represented, you can know that you are not alone when you choose to homeschool.
How does homeschooling work when leaving public school?
In the current environment, when so many students are online, it can be confusing to know your rights. For example, in Florida where I live, our school district tells parents that they must choose whether they are “in-person” or virtual for the next semester by a certain date. However, this mistakenly implies to some parents that they can’t make a change in the middle of the semester. When in fact you always fully have the right to leave traditional schooling and homeschooling your children whether it’s the middle of the semester, the middle of the week, or even the middle of the day! As the parent, you decide when and how your child is educated.
How does homeschooling work? You have options.
There are so many options in homeschooling, And this is part of what makes it more overwhelming when you aren’t familiar with the world. There’s hybrid homeschooling, co-ops, unschooling, Charlotte Mason, and so many more methods and schedules. In fact, this means that there really is something for everyone. I have homeschooling friends who go to a group school-like setting once per week, twice per week, and even three times per week. But the difference with homeschooling is that the parent is responsible for making sure their child is meeting educational goals. The parent is ultimately responsible for record keeping. And in most states, the parent will be responsible for reporting to the state in some way.
How to find local information and support on homeschooling.
This is something that I wish I could help every single one of you with more. Since I’ve shared a lot about hybrid homeschooling, I often get questions about where programs are and how to find them. This is something that I wish was more cohesive. But it can be difficult to find information in your area for homeschooling groups or co-ops.
I know it sounds simple, but I recommend typing “homeschooling in Toledo” or wherever you live. There’s also directories out there with homeschooling information, but these are often not updated regularly. And if you find one group or source to connect with, ask that person for information on other groups in your area. Once you’re connected to the homeschooling community in your area, many more opportunities will open up.
For example, I live in Central Florida and I could name at least 10 different homeschooling groups or “schools” off the top of my head. I know about these from over a decade of building relationships in the homeschooling community. But if you’re new to the area, or new to homeschooling, that can’t be done overnight! However, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Start Googling, reaching out, and you’ll find your group. Support is essential when homeschooling. So don’t give up if you don’t find information in your area right away. It’s out there!
What does a homeschooling day look like?
I have five kids. We also have a new puppy and a cat. I work from home and our kids do lots of activities. We also go to Disney a lot. But we still have a basic formatting of our homeschooling day. Having a routine is helpful to everyone! In fact, I’ve even shared a totally free printable homeschool daily schedule in a previous post:
In our home, there have been seasons where we have followed a schedule like the one I shared. But currently, we use more of a routine and checklists. Our day does look a lot like what I share in the printable, with some variations. Since my kids are older and we’ve always homeschooled, my kids are very familiar with how homeschooling works. But if your family is new to homeschooling, following a schedule is an excellent idea!
Is homeschooling hard?
So how does homeschooling work? Is it hard? The answer is honestly sometimes it is. Today was a homeschooling day for us. I was never not with my kids from the moment I woke up until right now, at about 9:30 pm when I’m writing this. It’s a lot of togetherness. And this is the best part and the most challenging part of homeschooling. I treasure this time with my kids and wouldn’t change it for the world. But trust me, I am certainly ready to say goodnight to them at the end of the day.
Will there be tears over math or spelling? Probably. We had some today! And the first year is always the hardest in homeschooling, whether your child is in preschool or 10th grade. It’s a huge change. But many things that are worth it are hard. Stick with it in the first year and I promise, it gets easier!
If you have more questions about homeschooling, be sure to check out the Homeschooling tab on my website with lots of resources and tips! And feel free to reach out to me on Instagram if you have specific questions! I might not have all of the answers, but I’m always here for encouragement!