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What Homeschooling is and How to Start it

What is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is educating students from the parents, that is originating from the home. It is where the parents are allowed to educated their children, rather than public school teachers or parochial teachers. As all good parents, the homeschooling parents are sincerely concerned with their child’s education and take great pains to make sure it’s done well.

Homeschooling is done because parents know what’s best for their children. It’s based on the fact that most parents know their own children best, therefore are the best teachers for them. It is even proven. There are studies that actually show that homeschooled students far outdo any other types of student, public, parochial, or private. The high success rate is due to the special attention to the specific needs of each student by the parents (time and attention from the parents = love) and because the students usually get a say in which coursework is chosen so that it appeals to them. The environment chosen also fits the world view of the family so that there is more peace in the educational process.

Homeschooling is done lawfully. Each state has particular homeschooling laws to follow. In Texas, the parents may choose any method they choose and may be of one of two basic types (secular or religious). The parents are not required to be certified teachers, but are allowed the right to educate their children, as long as it’s bona fide (real) – see “How to Abide by the Texas Homeschool Laws”. The schooling is considered to be receiving unaccredited private schooling in Texas. Parents may still choose accredited courses or programs of study, as well as other teachers (certified or not) to help educate their children. The schooling may be done at any hour of the day or night, any day of the week, as long as it gets done.

What Methods are Used?

There are two basic types of homeschooling. Most families use either a secular worldview or a religious worldview, others use a combination of the two. In the Austin Metro, there are several types of religions practiced here, so the views are widespread.

There are numerous methods of homeschooling. Every homeschooling family uses one of these methods:

There are three basic approaches to conducting homeschooling: totally at home, with a co-op, through Dual Credit, or a combination of the three.

How to Start Homeschooling

  1. Google it and ask around.

    • Talk to homeschool veterans, lots of them. Go to various places to talk face-to-face. Here are just a few to get you started:
    • Parks
    • Houses of Worship
    • Libraries
    • Museums
  2. Talk to homeschool vets online on websites, blogs, Facebook, or Twitter. Click here for the list “Homeschooling in Austin and Beyond” – list 1, list 2. (Remember, these lists keep growing.)
  3. Learn the reasons families homeschool and get recommendations for the methods and resources.
  4. Attend a Start Up meeting at your local library.
  5. Learn the state laws and local ordinances concerning homeschooling.
  6. Research methods that suit your family’s beliefs, budget, schedule, and your child’s educational needs and learning style.
  7. Discuss your findings with your spouse and children. Decide how you will budget your money and time, as well as which educational needs and learning styles are most pertinent.
  8. Join a beginners support group such as Smoothing the Way just for parents.
  9. Choose curriculum to match the method you chose.
  10. Find a support group your family will attend for at least the first year, that will match both the parent that will be the main teacher and the children. If it’s a good match, you’ll probably keep up with them for many years.
  11. Withdraw your children from their current school(s).
  12. Start organizing your home for your new adventure.
  13. Begin simple and slow. It’s going take time to learn what’s best for each of you in your family.
  14. Make room for mistakes. Know that children are resilient. Most of all, remember that you’re in charge now, and this is a very different environment, even for former teachers.
  15. Refer back to #10 often! Let others come along side you in your homeschooling journey; you’ll find it’s much easier in the company of like-minded families.

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