So you want to homeschool?
Click here for A Guide to Homeschooling and PATCH Information.
This information was up to date at the time of publishing, but because things often change, please do your due diligence and verify information for yourselves. We are thankful to a fellow PATCH mom for her efforts in compiling this information.
Think It Over
Maybe your child is approaching school-age. Maybe your child is already in the public school system. Taking your children out of the public school system isn't something to be taken lightly. The decision to homeschool is a commitment to a way of life. Whatever category you're in, we suggest the following:
Read as much about homeschooling as you can. The McCracken County library is very homeschool-friendly. They have several books about homeschooling you can check out. You may even see other homeschool families there!
Search the internet for information. Maybe that's how you found us! Understand that there isn't just one way to homeschool and that people choose homeschooling for many different reasons. Learn as much as you can, but think for yourself.
Become familiar with the laws in your state, as they vary from state to state. (The next section will talk more about Kentucky's laws.
Know The Laws
It is critical that you become familiar with and understand the homeschooling laws in your state. For Kentucky residents, you will need to refer to the Best Practice Document. http://www.chek.org/resources/Documents/BestPractice%20Doc.Updated.pdf It is the responsibility of each parent to know the homeschool laws of your state. The laws will usually indicate how many days of school you must have each year, how many hours your school days should be, what subjects you must teach, what testing is required, and what letters you must write to the local school. EACH STATE IS DIFFERENT, so check the law for the state in which you reside.
We highly recommend starting your research through the Home School Legal Defense Association. https://hslda.org/ You can access requirements for your state without joining. Membership gives you access to much more information, documents, support and peace of mind. Please research all they do for yourself. We strongly urge you to join and will refer to their suggestions much of the time. You do get a discount on your membership when you become a member of PATCH.
We also recommend Christian Home Educators of Kentucky for those in the state. http://chek.org/
Talk to Others
Talk to or visit with other homeschool families. Ask them about their experiences and how they got started. Find out what most influenced their decision to homeschool. Ask what obstacles, if any, they had to overcome. Many homeschoolers are eager to talk about their homeschooling "journeys" and offer excellent insight.
Which Curriculum to Use?
Now you need a curriculum. For starters, you have to figure out what it is you want to or have to teach and how you will teach it. Do you want a Bible-based curriculum? Do you want a "Classical" curriculum? Will you use textbooks or an online curriculum? Again, ask other homeschoolers what they use and why. Check out the links at the bottom of the page.
How Much Does It Cost?
It is the parents' responsibility to purchase the curriculum you will use for your child/children. How much will it cost? The financial investment of home education varies widely with each family. The more organized you are, the less supplies you will need to purchase. Perhaps you may not wish to purchase the Teacher's guides or the subject answer keys. Usually, you spend what you have, and creativity supplies the rest. Libraries and used book fairs (along with making your own charts and the like) can help to keep costs down. And don't forget to check out Ebay! You can also search the internet for excellent teaching tools, like printable tests and worksheets.
So, now you've decided to take on the wonderful adventure of homeschooling. If your child is already in the public school system, you will need to find out what steps are necessary to remove your child from school. For Kentucky residents, if your child is not in the public school system, you need to send a letter of intent to your local Director of Pupil Personnel (DPP). This person is usually located at your local public school. In Kentucky, each County has their own DPP. If you are beginning homeschooling at the beginning of the regular school year, your letter needs to be received by your local DPP within two weeks of the public schools first day of school. See "Homeschooling in KY" link for more.
Join a Support Group
If you are near the Paducah, Kentucky area, we'd like to invite you to be a part of Parents As Teachers in Christian Homes Support Group (PATCH). We offer activities, field trips, seasonal parties, graduation ceremony and a private group for members where we share information on homeschooling and much more. Contact a Leadership Board Member for more information about PATCH. If you are not near us, seek out the other homeschoolers in your area. Inquire at local churches if they have any homeschool families in their church. If there's not a support group, consider starting one!
Clean out closets. Clean out from under the beds. Clean out the attic. Prepare a place to keep all your school supplies when you are not having school. And don't forget to set aside a place to store all the school supplies you will accumulate year after year. As a homeschooling family, you will also need to keep good records. (Some states require no records be kept, but it's still a good practice.) Get a notebook that will be THE notebook where you write down what you do each day. Create a schedule. This will help you, and your child, stay on track. If your schedule just doesn't seem to be working, change it! It takes time to figure out the best schedule for you and your children. Understand that homeschooling is a "way of life" for your family. Duties of each family member may need to change to accommodate the changing roles of each family member. Homeschool children, like all children, learn best when both parents are involved.
Articles & Websites for reference and encouragement:
Start Here! https://hslda.org/get-started
Making the decision to homeschool is usually very difficult and not one to be taken lightly. It is a personal decision that no one can make for you, but this link can help in the thought process.
This is a great article that may help you with this sometimes overwhelming decision.
https://cathyduffyreviews.com/ The premiere site for homeschool curriculum reviews.
https://hslda.org/teaching-my-kids/starting-strong Teaching My Kids, Starting Strong from HSLDA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zVNX2KofdI A Personal Welcome from HSLDA - from Mike Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruDSZPHFFj4 Mike Smith of HSLDA - What's Changed in 30 Years of Homeschooling?