So you are thinking about homeschooling but don't know where to start?Here is a starting point it is by no means the end all guide, but will get you started.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."~ (Prov. 22:6)
1. Find out the laws in your state- The first place every parent should go is http://www.hslda.org/ . This is a Christian organization that stays up to date on all legislation and all state laws. You can find out exactly what the laws are regarding homeschooling for your state. Although you do not have to join the group, I recommend it. In today's times of ever decreasing freedoms, homeschool families are constantly under attack, sometimes jailed. Membership with HSLDA is what I consider a good insurance policy to protect your family. any problem you have with a homeschooling issue, their law staff is available 24 hours a day.
2. Decide how you want to teach and how your child wants to learn- There are several styles of teaching. Unschoolers kind of go with the flow and let their child lead in the learning. They tend to use a lot of unit studies which will incorporate all areas of education around one subject. Say the child is really into dinosaurs. You can read books about dinosaurs, compose spelling list of dino related words, study dino archaeology, study the book of Job, write stories about dinos, do dino math problems, study history of the areas where dinos have been found, etc. They tend to use everyday life as a teaching experience versus books and worksheets. Eclectic homeschoolers pull their material from everywhere. They do some bookwork, some life experience, some internet etc. They gather a little here and a little there to create a well rounded mix for their child. Then there are those parents that buy a boxed already made curriculum and follow it to the letter. You have to make the decision what might work best for you and yours.
3. Gather your materials- Once you have decided to homeschool, how you want to homeschool and found the laws of your state, then gather your materials. Some parents just embarking on this journey like boxed curriculum for security and confidence reason. It is also a lot easier. Homeschool workbooks and such can be bought at the bookstore although I don't like them. They are way too easy, no challenge, and secular. Two places to look would be http://www.abeka.com/ and http://www.bobjonespress.com/ . Both are Christian curriculum and you can get everything you need. Abeka runs about a grade level ahead of public school. In other words if your child is in 3rd grade in public school that would be the 2nd grade equivalent in the Abeka. I have not used Bob Jones, but many parents I know do and really like it. You can just google homeschool curriculum and find tons. Then there is also Switched on Schoolhouse which is an internet or DVD program that does everything for you, teaches, gives quizzes and tests, and grades and keeps records.
4. Decide how to keep records-I don't care which way a parent decides to teach or what materials they want to use. The second best insurance policy is to keep records of what you do teach and when you taught it. There are programs and such for the computer. I use http://www.homeschooltracker.com/ and the basic edition is a free download. I spend about two weeks in the summer organizing everything with this download and our days run much smoother while there is also a record. Some people simply use a spiral notebook and write down everyday what they did. Keep some of your child's work in a folder as proof, even if it is just a picture of what they have done. My daughter recently did a salt dough map, can't exactly put it in a folder. We took about six pictures at various stages that went into her school photo album that we keep. If you ever decide to enroll your child back into school these records could keep your child from having to repeat all the "missed" grades. Yes, that has happened.
5. Jump in with both feet and don't look back-It is not easy at first and can be very awkward and frustrating. Like any new adventure you can't figure out the ropes until you grab onto them. Homeschooling while a steadily growing movement across the country and world, is still an individualized process. Each family does things differently from every other family. You have to find what works for you and yours and this takes some time. You and your child/ren also will have to establish the new teacher student relationship. If your child is coming out of public or private school, consider given them some time to deprogram. Some parents recommend one month for every year the child was in school. I think this is a little extreme. When I pulled my daughter we did one month only. We did a lot of field trips during this time so although some education was going on they were more fun and designed to deprogram her brain. Even coming from a Christian private school they still need this time to let go of the schools routines and rituals.
6. Join a homeschool group- If at all possible join a homeschool group or two in your area. That way your child can spend time with other homeschool children and you can bounce ideas around with other homeschool parents or ask lots of questions. We have about 30 to 40 children in our group from babies to highschoolers. All the kids get along no matter the age and have a good time together. think about your child joining some YMCA sports and of course there is church. Between these three I can assure you there is no social problem.
7. Be prepared for negative reactions- Negative reactions are still a part of being a homeschooler, although positive reactions do occur. The most negative reaction is the question, "What about socialization?" I have enclosed the link to my article on this very question that exposes the truth behind socialization and what it really means. Negative reactions will happen, don't get angry or upset. There will be positive reactions also and I have noticed these are the ones I get most frequently. Public education is so bad here that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would almost prefer that aliens educate their children versus what we have now. So do your homework and memorize how you would respond when the lady in the checkout line at office depot accosts you for not supporting public education and declaring that homeschooling is the reason for the problems in the school systems.