We get lots of requests for information from those who are new to homeschooling. Here are our best suggestions for how to get started.
Please note: DCHSA is a Christian organization, and we offer these suggestions from a biblical perspective. If you are not familiar with our mission and philosophy, please see the ABOUT US section on our website.
1. Search the scriptures and pray, pray, pray. Take the "desert island" challenge: If you had no book but the Bible for guidance, how would you raise and educate your child? (Of course, the Bible is not a textbook on educational philosophies, but God does tell us that His Word contains all that we need for "life and godliness" [2 Peter 1:3-4]. This certainly would include some broad principles of child-rearing and education.) What should we emphasize in our homeschooling? What is God's view of education? Who is responsible for raising our children? Does the government have a legitimate role in education, or have we allowed the state to overstep its God-ordained boundaries in this vital area? These are important questions. If you'll take the time to consider them, you'll develop some "gut-level" convictions about education that will stand you in good stead through your years of homeschooling.
2. Get connected with others who can help you. The best way to meet homeschooling families is to join a support group such as DCHSA. We welcome new members at any time. Right now we have over 450 member families, and we are adding new families every month. With members all over Denton County, there are almost surely some who live near you. Complete information on how to join can be found here.
3. Visit the website of the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), particularly the "Getting Started" section. For those who have been attending public school, THSC has excellent instructions for how to withdraw your child from school, including what the school can and cannot require of you. THSC also has a magazine that is free for the asking. You can sign up on their website.
5. Read a book or two on homeschooling.
6. Attend one of the major homeschool book/curriculum fairs in the area if possible. Here are the websites for our local bookfairs:
- Arlington - held annually in May. This is the "granddaddy" of them all and one of the biggest homeschool events in the nation. Be sure to look at the listings for the speakers and try to attend one or more seminars that interest you.
- Plano - held annually in August. Sponsored by NTHEN (pronounced N-then), the North Texas Home Educators' Network, this one is smaller and less intimidating than the Arlington event, but still excellent. They have great speakers here, too.
- Fort Worth Great Homeschool Conventions - Held in March at the Fort Worth Convention Center. This convention now rivals the Arlington Convention with quality of speakers and workshops. If you register early it is very affordable and fun for the whole family!
You will be amazed at everything that you'll see at these events: wonderful seminars, all kinds of books, curriculum, and homeschool-related materials, and hundreds of homeschooling families. Both events charge a small entry fee, usually $10 or less.
Please note: It is best not to buy a lot of school materials at the bookfair unless you are sure what curriculum you will be using. If possible, do some research before you go, and take an experienced homeschooler with you. You could just go to look, listen to some speakers, and get some ideas. You can always buy your materials later. There is no need to spend a lot of money, especially when you are just getting started.
7. Request "You CAN Homeschool," a free resource available by mail, from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). You'll also want to visit their website for lots of other news and resources.
8. Make homeschooling a family affair. If mom and dad are present in the home, I suggest that both of you seriously examine the scriptures regarding a father's role in raising his children, particularly in matters of spiritual instruction (Ephesians 6:4). I don't believe that all of the homeschooling should fall to mom. As a matter of fact, all of the child-training commands in the Bible are addressed to fathers! (For a wonderful example of this, see Psalm 78, where the fathers are instructed to teach the mighty deeds of God to their children so that the next generation won't forget Him.) Any father who takes the Bible seriously will want to have a hand in the instruction of his children, especially in their spiritual training.
9. Be encouraged. You CAN do this, especially if the Lord has laid this on your heart. There are wonderful tools available. There are support groups and "veteran" homeschoolers who can help you. You taught your children to walk, talk, and countless other things. You can do the "school" things, too. God will be your helper, and "is anything too hard for the Lord?"
Let us know how we can assist you. May the Lord bless you and your family,