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Our topic this month is on transitioning from public school to homeschooling. Well, as a homeschooling family who just started out on the homeschooling route, we actually don't have any experience in making that big change from public school to schooling at home. Unless you count preschool co-op!
We started out homeschooling when my daughter was 4. She was so ready for kindergarten, but was too young. In fact, we would have had to wait 2 more years for her to be at the right age to start K, with her late birthday. So we took the plunge early.
I read about homeschooling, talked with my friends who were doing it, got ideas for curriculum from them, and joined a local homeschool support group to meet others who were homeschooling. All of these things helped to build up my confidence for taking on homeschooling.
One of the most helpful books that I found as a newbie homeschooler was the Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling. It included discussions on making the decision, how to go about learning about your state's homeschool regulations, and much more.
From that book, I found out that we needed to educate ourselves on our state's homeschool requirements. As Washington state homeschoolers, we found out there there were no regulations until the child turned 8. After that, our state law laid out the subjects that needed to be covered each year, and the annual testing that also needed to be done.
|A is for Apple - Preschool|
Each state has it's own homeschool law, and they are quite varied. Some states ask for annual testing,some do not. Our state allowed us to test our own child at home. (But we did not have to until she was 8 years old.) There are a few states that ask for portfolios to be made of the child's work, which is then sent into the school district for review. Our state did not ask for that. To find out your state's homeschool requirements, a good source is the site called HSLDA, which lists that information here.
When I first looked at that site, I was overwhelmed. But then I found out that it was not hard to deal with our law. And homeschooling gave us the freedom to choose what curriculum we wanted to use, and how we wanted to approach it. That freedom was priceless as we went about figuring out how to meet our daughter's 2e needs. Especially when it came to learning resources and curriculum.
|Early studies of endangered animal|
One of the first things I did to find curriculum for my child, was just to visit our local teacher's bookshop. There they had a number of resources for all ages, up to 8th grade. I just picked out a few preschool/early learning things, with my daughter's help. If she was interested in bugs, we got something on that topic. The library was of course a great resource, too. That was how we got started. Then later we began to familiarize ourselves with some of the homeschool curricula that was out there.
If you are looking for homeschool curricula ideas, there is a site called Cathy Duffy Reviews, that has been going strong for years, and has reviews on most everything homeschool related there. The Rainbow Resource site also has a plethora of creative homeschool resources. I have often turned to them for less traditional ideas. I also write homeschool curriculum reviews on a site called The Curriculum Choice, which features reviews by homeschool moms who have used the resources in their homeschools. Although they are mostly Christian focused, my reviews are mostly secular. Some of the faith based options that we liked, and were good for our daugther, could be modified so that we could use them in a secular way as well.
|Science fun in elementary.|
Over the years, I have gathered together our favorite resources for different ages, under The Early Years, (Preschool ' 6th grade), Middles and High School to give you some ideas, if you are looking around for ideas.
Then once we had our curricula, we started to look around for a homeschool support group to join. I wanted to connect with other moms who had been there, and of course I wanted my daughter to meet other kids her own age. We found a local support group in our area, and went to their monthly meetings. If you want to connect with one in your area, this site might help. The Homeschool Mom also has support groups listed by state and city here.
Since our group only met monthly, I also searched around for another social activity or two for my daughter. We found some at our local Parks Department, and then decided to join a music movement group. My daughter loved those classes, as they involved a lot of movement, and she was a VERY active kid. It became such a good way for her to make her first "school" friends.
|My middle schooler, taking a break outside.|
So by reading up on homeschooling, learning about our state homeschool laws, exploring curricula, and then finding a support group to join, we built up our confidence, to get going on this in our family. And I am so glad that we did. Had we gone the public school route, we would have had the usual challenges of getting our 2e daughter's unique learning issues met and addressed there. But at home we could accommodate for her attentional issues, sensory needs, and her difficulty with auditory processing. We could even adjust her annual testing, to take into account these important issues.
|Hiphop Dance Club on campus.|
If you are wondering if homeschooling can prepare your kids for later college admission, we would give you a hearty YES! Our daughter went on the college, directly from homeschool, and went into an honors program there, where she thrived. Pictured above, is my daughter's hip/hop dance club, which she started on her campus, freshman year.
The good news re applying as a homeschooler was that she got accepted into each college on her list, with scholarship offers. That was with her homemade homeschool transcript. Having had the chance to have her 2e needs met during the elementary and middle school years, she either grew out of those issues, or she learned how to accommodate for them herself. Now she is working in an internship where she is the campaign manager for a local city councilperson, pictured here.
This post is a part of the Gifted Homeschool Forum's blog hop. To reach all the other great posts on this topic, please click here.
If you are looking for some tips on college from a homeschool perspective, or homeschool college prep information, feel free to click here, for more on my book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.
Click here to get yours!
Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,
Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early years, high school & college and wrote the book Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.