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Getting Started

If you already made the decision to homeschool your children, you might be asking yourself, “now what”?  Don’t worry and have confidence. Hundreds of thousands of families have traveled this road ahead of you, and they have left a wealth of experience for you to glean. We recommend you join a support group.

Other homeschool support groups in the area:

Olivet Private School (Umbrella School)
568 S.E. Port St. Lucie Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, Fl 34984
Phone/Fax: (772)879-9707
Sunshine Christian Academy
Stacy Jones 772-260-1801

Here is some information to get you started:

1.      Read, and then read some more. Your local library and the internet are a good place to start.

2.      Make one of your internet stops the Homes School Legal Defense (HSLDA) website.

3.      Consider joining a statewide homeschool organization. Statewide groups do not replace a local support group. Many statewide associations offer annual homeschool conventions and some serve as a voice for homeschoolers at the local school board office and in Tallahassee. The two largest associations in Florida are the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA), and Secular Home Educators Association of Florida (SHEAF).

4.      Talk to other homeschool parents. Find a support group, get involved and stay involved. Most support groups offer social and academic programs to enrich your homeschool. Along with the fellowship and support of other homeschool families, many support groups also offer co-ops, field trips, social events, academic fairs, 4-H, scouting, and athletic events. Contact a group in your area and plan to attend a meeting. It’s a good idea to visit several support groups in order to find the one that fits your family. 

5.      Become familiar with Florida’s homeschool laws and attend a homeschool orientation. Parents ETC offers new homeschoolers orientations several times a year.   HSLDAFPEA and SHEAF also offer information on Florida’s homeschool law.

6.      Choose a teaching method and/or curriculum. There are many options available from daily lessons prepared for you to designing your own curriculum. We have provided a list on our site for your benefit. Talking to other homeschool parents is a great way to research curriculums without purchasing it first, and discuss teaching methods.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we all learn in different ways. Become familiar with your child’s learning style and were they need the extra help.  

Some questions you may be asking yourself:

1.      How will homeschooling affect my family?

Since every family is different, the effects of homeschooling will be unique to each. Homeschooling can be life changing. Ideally it creates personal growth for both parents and children. Homeschooling will have a profound effect on your child and your family's future. Some days might be a challenge however; every part of the journey can be exciting, adventurous, and rewarding. 

2.      Am I qualified to homeschool?

You already homeschool your child but you just didn’t know it. Did you help teach your child to talk, walk, hold a fork, dress himself, sort blocks, play peek-a-boo, or learn new games? Then you’ve already homeschooled. Do you love to spend time with your child, love to explore the world with him, love to see him learn new things. Then you are definitely qualified to homeschool. Homeschooling begins at birth and academics are just one a part of the education we provide our children. The resources are endless, and there are so many curriculums available that will help you find the best way to teach your child. 

3.      How will I know if my child is learning?

Children love to learn. It is as natural to them as breathing. Children absorb new information like a sponge. They learn by following their interests, with one curiosity leading to another. Homeschooling families learn together and know that learning is a life-long process. If you follow a curriculum, these come with worksheets, quizzes, and tests. Parents can also choose to issue a yearly test and see their child's progress. These tests do not need to be sent in to the school district. It will be for your personal view and record keeping. 

4.      Is it legal to homeschool my child?

Homeschooling is legal everywhere in the United States including Florida, but homeschooling laws vary from state to state. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides information on homeschooling in all 50 States.

5.      How many hours a day must I teach my child?

Florida homeschool laws does not mandate any number of days per year or hours per day to be spent in academics. This is a decision that you as a parent need to make. It doesn't have to be all sit down work with a textbook before them. Children can learn in many ways like building things, playing board games, baking, reading a book, watching an educational documentary, field trips, etc.

6.      What about socialization?

Children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-aged children to become socially well adjusted. Actually it’s quite the opposite. Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Also, just like children who attend public and private schools, your children can enjoy friends at church, 4-H, scouting, dance, martial arts, organized sports, and many other activities. If however you are involved in a support group, your children’s social opportunities can include the programs offered through the organization. Parents do need to make the effort to attend, participate and talk to other parents. If your child makes a connection with another child, make effort to connect with that family.  

7.      What if I don’t know how to teach a subject?

Just as adults learn through research, inquiry, and exploration, your homeschool child will learn to master subjects the same way. But, just to ease your fears, you will not have to teach higher level academics unless you really want to. Necessary higher-level academics can be done in various ways.  A community college class, a tutor, or textbooks gear for self learning with an added teaching DVD, or co-op class with a parent more knowledgeable about the subject. These are just a few of the options available.

8.      My kids won’t listen to me. How can I do this?

You will question yourself a lot, maybe several times a day in the beginning. This is normal. The transition from parent to teacher might take some time. Find homeschooling friends, and support each other. It helps to hear that others have similar struggles and how they've managed to overcome them. Ask questions and gather ideas. 

9.      Can I afford to homeschool? Isn’t curriculum expensive?

Homeschooling materials have come a long way in the past few years. Our options now extend beyond private school curricula and used textbooks. Packaged curriculum can be expensive. Used products are now more available than ever. Support groups often host curriculum sales, members post their items for sale to their group. We now have online sale groups like face book and craigslist. There are many options and resources for “homeschooling on a shoestring”.

10. Can children really learn outside a classroom?

Yes, children are always learning. Homeschooling usually gives your children the privilege of getting one on one attention and help. They will be able to advance and learn just like in any classroom.