How to Get Started Home Schooling
Are you thinking about home schooling and wondering where to start? People want to start home schooling for different reasons and at different times in their children’s lives. Home schooling your children requires a commitment to learn and grow for them and with them. You will need to educate yourself about what homeschooling is and is not, if you plan to succeed in this endeavor. Home schooling your children is an opportunity to create a new lifestyle that liberates your family to learn and grow together. This journey takes some effort on your part to make it a successful endeavor but it's worth it.
You’ll need a “goal”, a reason why you want to do this. Do you have one? You’ll need to educate yourself about the laws, filing your notice of intent and what curriculum to use. That's not hard but you do need to understand these basics so you are confident about what you are planning to do. You will need to listen and read the information recommended below to give yourself the information you need to decide the “why and how” of home education. Getting the right information about homeschooling will help you get the confidence you need for this journey.
If you think home schooling your children means taking a box of books and putting it in front of them and saying “here you go, get to work,” then you’ve come to the right place to learn the truth. Home schooling is so much more than workbooks, paper and pencils. It's a unique opportunity to connect with your children and share your ideals. It does require you to read and plan; daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. You want to give your children the best and it will take a little work on your part to prepare for this, but don’t worry, there are books to help you learn and guide you, but it will require some time if you plan to succeed. Personal help is available too. Our group has meetings to help you with many different areas of homeschooling.
If you are brand new to homeschooling follow the plan outlined below. If you’ve homeschooled for a while and just moved to Virginia, purchase the CD about the Law and Testing to learn about our state law at this link.
1. Listen: There are CD’s and MP3’s available to purchase by Yvonne Bunn, the state lobbyist for the Home Educators Association of VA. These are offered live at different locations around the state and at the HEAV Convention in June. Visit Best Christian Conferences to purchase the 2010 recordings for the most up-to-date information. These are $7 for CD’s or $3.50 for the downloadable MP3’s. Click here to visit Best Christian Conferences.
Purchase Thursday’s workshops, 11, 12, 13 and 14 for 4 full hours of information that will give you all the information you need to understand what homeschooling is about. Purchase #13 for the law information.
2. Read: Find some books about homeschooling and choosing curriculum. Most libraries in the area have some books about homeschooling. Find a book like “Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling”, Chesterfield Co. has this book and many others. How to Homeschool, A Practical Approach by Gayle Graham. Some other books we recommend are: Anyone Can Homeschool- How to find What Works for You, by Dorian & Tyler, You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick, she also has a beginning set of books available in Chesterfield Co. about How to Teach Reading, Math, and Writing. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore have a number of books such as The Successful Homeschool Family Handbookand Better Late Than Early.
The Christian Homeschool by Gregg Harris is a great book for Christians who want to understand why public or private school may not be the right choice for them. We put together a list of some of our favorites. See the resource page below for more titles.
3. Attend: Attend our home school support group meeting to meet other homeschoolers in our area. Check our calendar for our meeting dates. To attend live Homeschool Success Seminars in the HEAV office during the year please visit this link. Join a mentoring group like the one our group has for new homeschoolers. Attend the HEAV Convention in June, Thursday offers 4 FREE workshops for new homeschoolers and a preview of the exhibit hall after the workshops end.
If you follow this plan you will be well on your way to gaining the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed at this endeavor. I often refer to homeschooling as the “Ultimate Freedom”. It is the chance to spend your days learning and growing with your children in a way most will never understand or experience, and having the freedom to do things together you would otherwise never get to do.
Home School Legal Defense Association
Yearly fee $110, discount price $95 with membership to TCHE or HEAV. If you choose the monthly debit you will pay a little more but you can pay monthly. TCHE Members receive a group discount. Ask the leader for the discount number, it is only available to paid TCHE members. HEAV will do a monthly debit or you can pay the full price at the time of your application. They also have scholarships, please visit their website for more info. They will give you legal counsel and representation for any home school related situation or question. Your membership helps them protect homeschooling in all 50 states and around the world.
Home Educators Association of Virginia membership $35 a year, discounts on books, activities, convention.
Our state organization keeps us up-to-date on changing legislation and home school events throughout the state. They offer Home School Success Seminars during the year and a home school convention in June of each year with an attendance of over 10,000. You will receive a magazine, email newsletter and legislative alerts.
Morning Star Educational Network Has a lot of good information for the Christian home school family.
Order their free DVD to learn more about homeschooling from a Christian perspective.
TCHE has an extensive library for members with CD’s from the convention and various videos and many of the resources listed below. TCHE members are welcome to check them out. Here is a beginning book list in recommended reading order. You can find many of these on EBay and at used curriculum sales. HEAV also has many of these books for sale at their office in Richmond or online at www.heav.org
Making the Most of the Preschool Years by Valerie Bendt
How to Homeschool: A Practical Approach by Gayle Graham 1st Choice for new homeschoolers to learn about planning
The How and Why of Home Schoolingby Ray Ballman
The Christian Homeschoolby Gregg Harris
Better Late Than Earlyby Raymond and Dorothy Moore (must have before kids start elementary school)
The Three R’s: Grades K-3by Ruth Beechick
The Way They Learnby Cynthia Tobias (about learning styles, visual, auditory, kinesthetic )
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschoolingby Debra Bell
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbookby Raymond and Dorothy Moore
You Can Teach Your Child Successfullyby Ruth Beechick (grades 4-8, a favorite of mine)
Transcripts Made Easyby Janice Campbell-highschool level information
Catalogs/Websites: This is just a beginning list of curriculum providers and not an endorsement of any particular course.
Christian Liberty Press and Academy This is a very affordable packaged curriculum with the option to have them keep your records.
Timberdoodle www.timberdoodle.com General resource catalog with lots of special science, art and music courses.
Rainbow Resource Center store www.rainbowresource.com General resource catalog has Everything and more.
My Fathers World www.mfwbooks.com Curriculum of whole books and workbooks.
Sonlight curriculum www.sonlight.com Curriculum of whole books, not just textbooks and workbooks.
Christian Book Distributors www.christianbook.com A wide range of curriculum and other materials.
A Beka Books www.abeka.com Bob Jones www.bju.edu Textbooks, DVD courses, correspondence courses