How To Start Homeschooling
Home schooling is a major undertaking that requires planning, preparation, and commitment.
CHEF recommends a prayerful and thoughtful approach to the first-time home educator. Homeschooling should not be undertaken lightly or hurriedly. Because of this, we have compiled the following checklist of things you need to do to prepare to home educate your children.
Give yourself at least 30 days to prepare
Ninety days is better. You will need to do research, order curriculum, and affiliate with a home education church school. You need lots of time for that. Don't take your child out of the classroom school until you have taken all these steps.
Learn all you can about home education
Think it through... it must be a heartfelt decision. Do some homework and reading. Some of the many helpful books available include:
- The Right Choice--Home Schooling by Christopher J. Klicka
- The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris
- How to Home School, A Practical Approach by Gayle Graham
- The Home School Manual by Theodore E. Wade, Jr.
- The How and Why of Home Schooling by Ray E. Ballman
- The Big Book of Home Learning, Vol. 1 by Mary Pride
Enroll in a local church school.
You will need to enroll in a local church school organized as a home education ministry in order to comply with Alabama law. Your children will be enrolled with the church school, you will become a faculty member, and your home will become a classroom of the school.
Join Home School Legal Defense Association
If your children are of compulsory attendance age (between the ages of 6 and 17), CHEF highly recommends Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The annual fee is $120. Join the HSLDA Discount Group sponsored by CHEF of Alabama and save $20.
Attend seminars and curriculum fairs
CHEF hosts a convention and curriculum fair every year.
Subscribe to a home education magazine
You'll find them very helpful and informative. You'll find a list of these on our resources page.
Select your curriculum
Consider your teaching style, your child's learning style, affordability and objectives. Several books and articles helpful in choosing curriculum are:
- Cathy Duffy Reviews Articles and reviews of books Cathy believes are important for those interested in homeschooling, education, and related politcal and spiritual issues.
- “Classical Education”—Home School Heartbeat interview with Leigh Bortins
- “Common Teaching Approaches” (article)
- “What is Classical Education?” by Susan Wise Bauer (article)
- 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy (curriculum reviews)
- Choosing and Using Curriculum by Joyce Herzog
- What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Sampson. Grade-by-grade skills checklists for K-8th in major subject areas.
- The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson
- Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual by Catherine Levison
- Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
- The Three R’s: Grades K-3 by Ruth Beechick
- The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer (classical)
- Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
- Christian Unschooling by Teri Brown and Elissa Wahl
- Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt
- “What Should I Be Teaching?” by Vicki Bentley
- Easy Homeschooling Curriculum by Lorraine Curry
- “Homeschooling on a Shoestring”
- “What Does it Cost to Homeschool?”
- “Navigating the Used Curriculum Route” By Vicki Bentley
Order your curriculum
There are many options for home education curriculum. You may wish to use one publisher's complete graded coursework for the first year. Please see our resources page for a preliminary list of curriculum suppliers. Once you get on a few of the catalog mailing lists you will have many catalogs in your mailbox on a regular basis. Once you have begun you may want to design your own curriculum from the many available sources. Curriculum catalogs are also a convenient way to see what is available and order your materials if you are familiar with the curriculum. Other options are available such as correspondence courses, Internet based courses, computer based courses, and satellite delivered courses.
When not to try homeschooling
If both husband and wife are not in agreement that home education is right for their children, it is best not to proceed. Keep praying!