While trying to navigate this sometimes overwhelming system I have learned there are many ways to start homeschooling.
1. Online Programs – Programs like K12.com allow you to work through the traditional school system but from home.
Pros: You child is on track with the state requirements, you have a teacher who you meet with weekly and your child learns from online daily. You are provided with all the materials you will need to teach from home including lesson plans.
Cons: Rigorous schedule, basic computer programs that kids may find boring, little room to deviate from plan. State testing (for those who want to avoid it), all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.
2. Create your own school- Become a recognized charter school by the state, all you need to do is fill out a form and name yourself or whoever will be teaching the child as their teacher.
Pros: Complete control over what and when the student will learn, no testing, no vaccination records
Cons: No state testing may mean not being able to accurately track your students growth, must fund yourself, must provide own curriculum and lesson plans.
3. Public Charter Schools- Allow you to choose your curriculum as well as allowing you to choose what school materials you want to order.
Pros: Your tax dollars pay for your school supplies, the school has a per child per semester budget for you to use on approved school supplies. You pick the curriculum and design the learning environment. A teacher meets with you monthly to monitor the progress of the student.
Cons: You do have state testing, you have to fill out all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.
We feel the public charter school is the best option for us. Its allowed us the freedom we want over or children’s education and the school supplies we may need are covered by the state. They do not cover any religious materials and the supplies are delivered to the teacher who then brings me what I need. She and I meet every 20 days for her to obtain samples and assess my oldest. SJ is the only one officially enrolled in school but since she and KJ are so close in age he tags along for most of her learning activities. This is our first year homeschooling and so far so good.