Home education is not a new concept. Some parents have always chosen to educate their children at home. However, in the last few decades there has been an increase in the number of students who are being homeschooled.
The reasons for this are varied but include a dissatisfaction with the quality of education provided in the public school system, a fundamental or religious opposition to some of the public school curriculum.
The relative ease with which a parent can now find homeschooling resources or a copy of the home education curriculum is also another contributing factor.
What to Know Before You Start Homeschooling
Different states have different requirements about how to legally homeschool your child. Some states do not require that parents do anything. They can simply keep their child at home and begin the home education process.
Other states require that parents notify their local school district of their intent to homeschool and then they may go ahead and begin homeschooling. These states do not require that the school district approve their home schooling plan.
However, approximately one half of the states do require that the local school district approve the parent’s request to home school their children. These states have different standards when it comes to home schooling. Some states require parental notification and that parents send the school district the child’s test or assessment scores at least annually.
Other states require parents to file a curriculum plan and detailed information about why the parent is qualified to teach the child at home. It is important that each parent accurately understands the state requirements before beginning to home school a child so that no problems arise and the child’s home education continues uninterrupted.
Time to Get Started
Once you have satisfied your state legal requirements and you are ready to begin homeschooling, it is important that you do the following things:
• Choose a curriculum: Some home school parents choose to follow a formal home education curriculum. Other home school parents decide to design their own curriculum. Either way, it is useful to have a copy of the curriculum and to ensure that you cover everything that you want to cover during a set period of time.
• Assess your child (informally or formally): It is also important to periodically assess your child to see how he or she is doing in the curriculum. For some families, that means standardized tests. For other families, it means more informal projects or papers whereby the child can demonstrate his or her understanding of the material presented.
• Join a home education group or enroll your child in group activities: Critics of home education are quick to argue that home schooling is detrimental to children because they do not learn how to interact with other children. However, many home school children participate in little league or other community extracurricular activities. Further, many home school families form homeschool groups so that the parents and children can do fun learning activities together and socialize.
• Keep records: Whether or not your state requires it, it is important that you keep records of your curriculum and your child’s progress in that curriculum. That way if anyone ever accuses you of educational neglect you will have the documentation necessary to show child protection services and the local school district that your child is receiving an appropriate home education.
Home Education for a Student with Disabilities
Parents have the right to home school their child with disabilities just as they would a child without disabilities. However, it is very important that the parent ensures that the child’s special education evaluations are up to date and that the parent also ensures that the child is not losing any skills or suffering as a result of homeschooling. The parent should seek the assistance of a special educator or related service provider if it is necessary to provide the child with an appropriate education.
Many people believe home schooling to be a fundamental parental right. There are undoubtedly benefits to this kind of education and if you are interested in home education it is worth taking the time to comply with the legal requirements and to keep the documentation necessary to show your child’s success.
Homeschooling can be incredibly beneficial if done correctly. However, in order to give your child the best possible chances of success, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary time, resources and permissions to educate your child at home.