Homeschool Resources To Get Started
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory SchoolingThe Underground History of American Education, Volume I: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern SchoolingWeapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory SchoolingA Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American SchoolingIndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in AmericaCalled Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool: Updated, Revised, and Expanded with Journal Section
Homeschooling: Where To Start
- Find out what your state’s laws are. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is a great place to start. Take some time to read them over, pray about your options, and see where God leads you in this aspect. Also, it is the law, not what the local public school tells you to do, that you follow. And on a personal note: remember, our children belong to God. (…Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:21).
- Stay Local. While HSLDA is great for an overview of laws, finding your local homeschool organization is best. For Washington state, visit Washington Homeschool Organization and spend some time reading through the information. They do a great job explaining our laws and giving examples on how homeschooling in WA can look (we have more freedom then it sounds like upfront, I promise!). For Oregon, visit OCEANetwork since they are the go-to resource for homeschooling in Oregon (I personally know/love the amazing volunteers involved with the organization!).
- Withdraw From Public School*. If your children have already been enrolled in the public school, you may have to officially withdraw them, especially in the middle of a school year. Check with your state’s organization and email them if you need help. Then ONLY do what your state law requires, not the what school district demands. I hate to sound crazy, but I have heard stories of the public school demanding things that are NOT legally required. *I have no personal experience with needing to withdraw my children from public school.
- Become legal. Depending on your state, you may need to become “qualified” to home educate your children. Make plans to get it done and out of the way by the time your oldest reaches the mandatory school age. Here in WA state, one of the multiple options is to take a “parent qualification course in home-based education”, which is what I have chosen. Contact your state’s organization and find others who homeschool in your state to ask them questions about the requirements and what to do to meet them.
- Find others in your area (or worldwide) who homeschool. Whether through FB, blogs, or real life it is great to have a support group, whether it’s family, friends, or acquaintances. You can also join homeschool co-ops/groups who will have meetings, field trips, and other planned activities (another thing you can google to see what is available in your area). Listen politely to those who may be concerned or weirded-out by your choice to home educate, but don’t take it to heart. These are your children and YOU are responsible for their upbringing!
- Read/watch all you can about homeschooling. To learn about learning/teaching styles, you can read homeschool blogs. Gather info and create your own ideas of what you think will work best for your child(ren), your entire family, and you as the teacher.
- Research your curriculum choices. There are literally hundreds, if not more. It can be hard to decide. Ask seasoned homeschoolers what has worked best, read reviews from real homeschool moms, ask for samples from the business -if available, buy used on eBay or other websites, and try to spend as little money as possible during your first year of homeschooling. It’s a learning process and you do not want to spend more than necessary! I use a variety of curriculum from a variety of companies, but if I had to choose just one company and buy a boxed/all-in-one style curriculum, it would be from Master Books.
- Plan on taking it slow and ease into a routine/schedule. The great thing about homeschooling, is that you can be flexible & relaxed, or stick to a rigid schedule & make plans… do whatever it is you feel will be best for your family and will best help you to reach your ultimate goals in raising your children (academics, character, morals, etc.).
- Make learning fun for your child! It is more important to teach your child to love learning than to teach them how to read by age 6! If they learn to love and enjoy learning, they WILL learn when they are ready and when it comes naturally for them to do so (and often they won’t even know that they are doing schoolwork)… the age may be different for each child. Surround your children with learning opportunities. Books are the best place to start. From infancy on, you can surround your child with great, wholesome books. Of course, this includes the Bible and Bible Storybooks. Utilize your local library. Don’t use the T.V. or movies as a babysitter (which, I believe, numbs the brain and makes it hard for children to learn), instead occupy your child with wood blocks, legos, coloring/drawing, singing/music, active or educational games, etc.
- When you do start more formal schooling and you or your child gets frustrated with a school lesson, do not be afraid to take a break! Read aloud to them instead, play a game with them, listen to music… and try again later or another day.
- Most importantly pray, pray, and pray some more for each step you take! Start each morning with a prayer and end each day with a prayer.
We are not just teaching our children academics, we are raising them to be godly men and women to be used for God’s glory! “Home Educating” our children is a whole-life experience, not something that starts at 5, 6, or 7 years of age.
It starts at birth (or before!) and never truly ends (though when they go out on their own/get married you must step back and pray for them more than anything else and continue being the example you want to them to see, because your actions do make an impact on your child even into adulthood!).
Parenting is a tremendous calling, honor, and blessing. And to be successful at parenting/teaching our children does not require a certificate in education. It requires learning to be selfless, learning to serve, and learning to trust fully in Jesus!
Same as everything else in life, it all comes back to Jesus. He truly is ALL that we NEED to do all that we are called to do, including homeschooling our children!