New to Home Schooling?
Follow these 7 steps to get started:
2. Notify the State
3. Join HCCHS (or your local support group)
4. Join NCHE
5. Decide on curriculum and resources
Step 1: Learn
First you need to decide if homeschooling is the right choice for your family. To learn about home schooling, talk to experienced homeschoolers, attend homeschool workshops or conferences, and read. NCHE has an annual conferance and book fair in May. This can be very helpful to those wanting to learn more about homeschooling. Reading is always a good way to learn about home schooling. As you read, your philosophy of education will develop. You need to invest some time in reading good books on the subject. Some suggested books are:
- Better Late Than Early,
The Successful Homeschool Family
Handbook (formerly titled Home School Burnout), Raymond and Dorothy Moore
- Homeschooling for Excellence, David and Micki Colfax
- Homeschooling the Early Years, Linda Dobson
- Homeschooling the Middle Years, Shari Henry
- Learning All the Time and Teach Your Own, John Holt
- The Three R’s Series and
You Can Teach Your Child
Successfully, Ruth Beechick
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, Debra Bell
- The Whole Hearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson
Step 2: Notify the State
If your child is at least 7, but not yet 16, or 16 and over and planning to drive, you will need to file with the state a “Notice of Intent to Operate a School.” This is done through the N.C. Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). Their web site includes links to statutes governing home schooling i
n North Carolina. Read the statutes and be familiar with them. The government sometimes asks you to do things that are not legally required. You should know when this happens so you can decide whether or not you want to comply. Feel free to contact the HCCHS president if you have any questions about the legal requirements or better yet, look at the HSLDA web site.
Step 3: Join a Local Support Group
This is where HCCHS will come into your plan. To join, contact Jenny Lanier (828-297-1484). Our group is designed to help and support you through support meetings, supplementary classes offered outside of the home and to help you get connected to other home schooling families in the area. If you have any other questions, search the rest of our website or contact the HCCHS president.
Step 4: Join North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE)
Be a part of the state organization that is committed to supporting homeschoolers, promoting home education, and protecting the right to homeschool. The group recently moved to a new financial model which makes membership free though donations are accepted. You can join NCHE by going to their website at www.nche.com
Step 5: Begin to Research Curriculum and Resources
This may be the most difficult part of your preperation yet. Realize this will be an ongoing process as you learn what works best for your family and your children and as your circumstances change. There is no silver bullet curriculum that will work in all circumstances for all people. Be prepared to get overwhelmed with this part of the process. You will need to decide on a philosophy of education before you decide what curriculum and resources to use. A wide variety of resources are available. The closer your choices fit your family’s philosophy and style, the more successful you will be. Most families piece together their own curriculum by picking and choosing the best for their family from different publishers. It is usually best to start small and add later. By attending the NCHE conference and book fair, you can see up close what curricula are available. The homeschool curriculum industry is huge and will take as much money from you as you have to give; however, it is possible to homeschool on a wide range of budgets from $0 to several thousand. An invaluable resource to help with curriculum decisions is to ask other homeschoolers what they use and what they recommend as well as looking online.
Step 6: Plan
Now that you have a better idea of what resources are available, you (husband and wife) need to develop short and long-term goals for your family. Depending on your level of organization, you may establish a tentative calendar and schedule. In any case, understand that flexibility is a key to your success and sanity. One cannot underestimate the support the wife needs from her husband. Though there are exceptions, most homeschool day to day activities are managed by the mother and husbands need to support their wife in a loving and understanding way, providing guidance and leadership and when necessary, shelter from naysaying family and friends. Husband and wife need to be united in their homeschool plan, meeting periodically to discuss struggles and successes and making decisions on the direction of your homeschool.
Step 7: Relax and Enjoy
Take a deep breath, relax and and enjoy the time you have with your children. Homeschooling, while more time consuming than sending a child to an institutional school, is not intended to constantly give you stress and headaches. This is a time to spend with your children and to teach them in the way that fits them best. You will know that way better than anyone else. Sometimes it is easier to stick with one curriculum when beginning, but be open to and aware of your children's specific learning preferences and needs. Be creative in your teaching and learning methods. Remember: relax, trust the Lord, and enjoy!