So you made the decision and now you need to learn how to start homeschooling your kiddos.
Before I share my helpful tips, let me just start with saying that I am not a lawyer and everything in this post is not legal advice.
So what are those FIVE things?
You Need Homeschool Insurance
The first thing I would tell any new teacher or homeschool parent is to get insurance to cover yourself. There are so many situations in which you might need help, insurance should be the first thing you conquer on your homechooling journey. Plus, it's super affordable so don't stress!
I am serious... homeschool insurance will cover you A.S.A.P. There are people out there that are completely against children being homeschooled. From my experience, they will not hesitate to share their opinion on the subject with you, which includes harassing your children about what they do all day.
The insurance that I recommend is Home School Legal Defense. HDSLA has an affordable monthly fee and also offers a discount if you purchase a yearly membership.
Check the Laws in Your State
This is probably a given, but each state has different laws about homeschooling. There are a few states, like Oklahoma, that are easier to homeschool in than say... New York or Vermont.
HDSLA offers an interactive map, Homeschool Laws by State, to help parents navigate what they need to do to get prepared.
Also, just keep in mind, if there is ever a question, stick with what the federal law says. What does that mean? Well let's say some states don't require you to keep records in any form, but federal law does require record keeping. You keep the records to cover your hiney. That's just an example, do the research for yourself, please.
Develop an Efficient way to Keep Records
Developing an efficient record system is key to staying organized, but also keeping yourself covered legally. By now hopefully you have researched what type of records you need to keep for your state.
A regular grade book purchased at a school supply store isn't necessarily ideal, but if that is all you have, you can make it work. You can also check out the grade sheets I made specifically for homeschooling my daughter.
The grade sheets have 3 subjects per page and track 3 weeks per page.
You may also want to purchase report cards.
With all this in mind, understand that you will probably fine tune your record keeping method as you go.
Create a Homeschool Calendar for the Year
Your state will require you to teach your student for a certain amount of days per year. For example, my state requires 180 days with five professional days. Now, for the rest of the 175 days... lets just use that as our example, yours may be more or less.
This is where the calendar comes in. You will most likely want to plan in holidays, vacations, etc... through the school year. Starting from the first day you start school, plan out those days. Then, count out how many days you will need to teach. Yes, you can count weekends as long as you will be teaching on those days.
You can download the free calendar I made here.
For those five professional days I plan some type of homeschooling professional development for myself. Search your area for homeschool expos or conferences. In my state, children are not required to do school work on professional development days.
Professional development is a type of maintenance of your homeschool knowledge and expertise. PD will help you be a better homeschool teacher and become more prepared and confident in your teaching. Plus, it is a good way to network with other homeschool parents
Compose a Rough Scope and Sequence with Your Curriculum
"WHAT IN TARNATIONS IS A SCOPE AND SEQUENCE!"
Don't stress! A scope and sequence is not a scary thing, I promise. Many curriculums have these included. If not, scan the table of contents, this is a good place to start.
Why do you need a scope and sequence? Teachers use scope and sequences to plan out their curriculum for the year. Also, this is the time that I cut out chapters or lessons I don't want to teach.
Of course, you may have to change some things you planned. You know, fractions are hard!
Having a list of your state standards (if required) is probably a good idea. This way, you know you are including chapters, lessons, objectives, etc... that you need to teach your child. Don't skip the chapter on the properties of multiplication if it is something you need to teach. You know what I mean?
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I hate it when I invest in something and later feel like what I purchased was not worth what I paid.
Alternately, I love it when I can provide teachers and homeschool parents with quality resources that they can utilize.
For that reason, I compiled a free resource containing ONE task card out of every task card in my MEGA bundle. That way, teachers can try the resource before they make an investment.