Home schooling, despite its popularity, is yet to have one singular standard for acceptability or validity. This means that as you go around the country, different states have different requirements for your home school to be duly recognized.
The decision to home school your child isn’t to be taken lightly. However, once you’ve made your decision, it may be a good time to begin intensive research and inquiry into state requirements and other guidelines you have to take into consideration once you’ve made the decision.
There are states like Texas, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey or Oklahoma, among others, that do not require informing the state of any intention to home school your child. So technically, you may opt to start your preschooler on home schooling already or pull your child out of the formal educational system at your own will, should you decide that home schooling is for you.
Other states, however, would require you to inform the state and your child’s school of your intention to begin home schooling. It is only in this way that the state can accredit your child’s grade level standing. Alongside this expression of intent and plan is the requirement of the state for you to submit exam scores, progress evaluation grades, and even your child’s attendance record. The state may also specify an amount of time that should be spent in this informal school studying the various subjects you intend to teach your child.
The states with tightest home school regulations - such as Pennsylvania - set requirements of informing the state of your intent to home school your child. Alongside this expression of intent is the submission of the curriculum you intend to teach while home schooling. You may also be tested if you qualify as a parent-teacher when you home school your child. State-appointed officers may also visit your home to check if it is suitable for home schooling. Aside from these requirements, submission of periodic documents like exam scores, progress evaluation grades, and attendance records may be required of you as well.
Given this volume of information that you must be familiar with when you decide that you want to give home schooling a try, where will you find the necessary information?
Basically, your first and most primary source of information should always be your state or local government unit’s education office or authority. You can approach these agencies in two ways—either through the agency’s website or by visiting the physical location of the said government office. In order to save time and money, you should perhaps visit the website first. This is also most recommended as the primary course of action because of the fact that some of these educational agencies actually upload the necessary forms you have to fill out in relation to home schooling. Some of them even prefer your getting in touch with them and submitting your requirements online!
Next, you may want to check home schooling support groups in your state and legal specialists who have put up various websites on the subject. This way, you will be able to read of firsthand experiences of people who’ve tried home schooling before, and in the long run, learn valuable tips and tricks in order to make it work for you. They even provide various suggestions on activities and teaching strategies you may want to try as you home school your child.
Much of home schooling is very much feel-your-way-through, so don’t be afraid to visit these support groups and forums and ask questions. By doing so, you would be able to make sure that you are giving your child the best sort of home schooling you can provide for him or her. Moreover, you can even find out more about the post-home schooling period, which is the time when your child begins applying for university or college, from home schooled applicants who’ve gone through the usually much longer process.
Home schooling requirements may never be standardized across the country. Various legislative and administrative changes are underway each day. This is where online home schooling websites may help. They can give you news updates, briefings, and summaries of various state and federal legislation on home schooling. These timely bits of information may guide you better in home schooling your child, and keep you up to date with trends and changes in rules on home schooling across your state.