How to Homeschool Your Child (The Ultimate Guide for 2023)

Updated 11/11/23

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I know why you’re here. You want to know how to homeschool your child and if you’re qualified to do it.

You see how it is out there. 

Another school shooting. 

Reports of school violence and misconduct on the nightly news broadcast.

Covid-19, The Flu, and the RSV virus are spreading like wildfire. 

How do you keep your child safe and in school simultaneously?

The answer is homeschooling.

Homeschooling provides a structured environment for learning while keeping your child safe from danger.

But how do you know if you’re qualified to homeschool your kid, and what’s involved in the process?

We’ll show you how to homeschool at any level and teach you everything you need to know on how to get started and the steps to take to get the job done.

Let’s jump right in!

How to Homeschool Your Child: The First Steps.

Why Homeschool? Have the “Talk”

You need to have the “Talk.” Sit down with your significant other and family to discuss if you want to homeschool your child. Involving family members is extremely helpful when making big decisions and establishing a support network.

Most of you have already figured out why you want to learn how to homeschool your child. But for those exploring options, let’s dive in and see some of the reasons why more and more people are choosing to homeschool.

  • Safety

Growing concerns over gun violence and school shootings have forced many parents to choose homeschooling over public schools.

The recent Covid-19 Pandemic and other infectious diseases could put your child at risk, especially if they have compromised immune systems.

  • Distractions

It’s hard to escape modern technology. Cell phones, tablets, and electronics are a constant distraction for young students. In a home setting, the parent controls interactions and device use, which sharpens focus and improves learning.

Cell phones and electronics are the leading cause of physical interactions between students and teachers. Homeschooling is a more structured environment that eliminates such incidents.

  • Class Size
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It’s no mystery that class size has always been an issue with public schools. Homeschooling provides one-on-one teaching with fewer distractions and produces the best results.

According to NHERI research( National Home Education Research Institute),

“ The average performance for homeschooled children was 15-30 percentile points higher than public educated students.”

  •  Special Needs Child
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Children with “special needs” have the advantage of a structured home environment and are perfect candidates for homeschooling. You can spend more time teaching without the pitfalls of transportation and setup for conventional in-school learning.

  • Gifted Children

Some children are gifted and learn faster than others. Traditional schools tend to teach to the crowd, and talented children can lose interest, which results in lower grades. A targeted curriculum geared towards the child’s interests can significantly improve learning.

Homeschooling Laws by State

You’ll need to determine what State Laws say about homeschooling.

Research your options before speaking to any school district or State officials.

Remember that “distanced” learning is tied to your school district and is not the same as homeschooling. After determining your state’s requirements, you’ll need to contact your school district to remove your child from the school properly.

Each state has specific requirements regarding what information you’ll need to provide throughout the child’s homeschooling.

You can check state laws and conditions here at HSLDA.

Are Parents Qualified to Homeschool?

The short answer is yes; however, some states require a parent to have a high school diploma, so check before you start.

Parents don’t need a college degree to teach their children. The important thing is to choose the right curriculum for homeschooling that best suits you and your child. Most of the learning will be at lower grade levels, some of which you’ll be familiar with.

How to Homeschool and Work Full-Time

It is possible to work full-time and homeschool. 

The good news is that teaching can be done at any time and not necessarily at conventional periods. 

  • Learning times can be adjusted to fit a flexible work schedule. Also, consider changing your hours to accommodate a homeschool plan.
  • Due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, more companies are offering remote work for their employees. If the option is limited, ask to work a few times a week remotely.
  • Ask extended family members or relatives to chip in a few times per week. If your child has cousins the same age, consider group homeschooling them together.
  • Grandparents are an excellent resource for helping with homeschooling. They have a bounty of knowledge, and most have the available time.

How to Homeschool: The Next Steps

Choose a Homeschool Curriculum

Research the curriculum online to see the best options available. Most come with textbooks and testing materials and are organized and easy to follow for both the parent and the student.

  • Pick a curriculum geared towards your child’s interests and abilities.
  • Don’t purchase too early. Be sure you understand everything involved with the process and requirements. Some curriculums offer online conventions and webinars to explain their products so you can find the best fit. 
  • Read the online reviews for each curriculum to see what people are saying.
  • Many options are available to infuse religion into your homeschool curriculum.
  • Consider used or discounted curriculum.
  • Check out this list of the 7 best online homeschool programs of 2022.

Deschool before you Homeschool

Homeschooling aims to provide your child with the best education in a safe and comfortable environment. Some parents opt to “deschool” their children by taking time off and away from traditional classroom learning and slowly integrating the homeschool curriculum into their schedule.

Create a Homeschool Space

The great thing about homeschooling is you can do it anywhere.

The kitchen table, a sofa, or a bed are all acceptable options for setting up a class. The point is to avoid conventional schoolroom set-ups and create a comfortable organic learning environment. 

  • Be sure the area has adequate lighting.
  • Keep the child away from music and television.
  • Turn off cell phones.

Homeschooling Supplies

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Make sure you and your pupil are set up for success by gathering all the supplies you’ll need for the homeschool term.

Look for sales at local stores or shop online and buy in bulk for a better deal. Sometimes you can connect with homeschooling groups online and find free and donated materials—more on that in a bit.

Here are some ideas on what you’ll need;

  • Writing supplies include pencils, pens, crayons, chalk, markers, highlighters, and pencil sharpeners.
  • Chalk or dry eraser board (with erasers).
  • Notebooks, notepads, post-its, index cards, folders, 3-ring binders,  a printer, printer paper & ink.
  • Arts & Crafts supplies like scissors, glue, and poster board.
  • A calendar for class and activity schedules.
  • Plastic bins or containers for the child to keep their supplies marked and organized.

Set a Schedule

Children perform better when they are organized and have set schedules.

Plan weekly classes and activities; that way, your student will be more prepared for the week ahead. 

The child needs to understand that homeschooling is not playtime, and set schedules will provide structure and let them know what to expect.

Set Goals

Curriculums all have their goals. The objective is to expand the student’s knowledge of subjects, which results in better grades and test scores. 

Also, homeschooling allows one to target a child’s interests or subjects where they thrive. For example, if a student is interested in science, then set a goal of completing a course early in the homeschool year so they can progress to the next level course sooner.

Connect With Homeschooling Groups

One of the best resources for learning how to homeschool at any level is to hook up with local homeschooling groups. You can find local groups on Facebook and social media platforms.

Homeschooling group members have experience and can help you choose the curriculum, show you their teaching environment, and provide helpful tips and advice. You can also find mentors and tutors for help with teaching when scheduling conflicts arise.

Another tremendous advantage of homeschooling groups is setting up activities and field trips for expanded learning. 

Sports, foreign languages, and other clubs are excellent ways for your child to broaden their knowledge, stay active, and engage socially with others.

If you want to know how to homeschool your child for free, groups can provide you with a used curriculum, textbooks, and other materials at no cost. It’s always wise to check online for free or donated materials.

How to Homeschool Preschool

Make homeschooling a preschooler fun and engaging.

  •  Use learning toys, like shape-sorters, for children to learn dimensions and puzzles to improve problem-solving skills.
  • Schedule set reading times and use books with fun characters and bright colors. Teach your preschooler up to two hours daily, which can be broken into 10-20  minute segments.
  • Utilize computers and electronics in the curriculum. You’ll find that children are fast learners when it comes to electronics. It will better prepare them for this technological era.
  • Use music and mnemonics (rhymes or associations) your child can practice daily.  The “Alphabet” song is a good example.
  • Schedule play dates, playtime, and other group activities to enhance problem-solving and social skills.

How to Homeschool High Schoolers

Most popular curriculums give the high school student a more hands-on approach to learning. 

  • Online homeschooling curriculum is available anywhere and anytime. 
  • Lessons consist of “modules” students can engage in at their own pace. 
  • There are no time restrictions. If the parents’ or students’ schedules change, the lessons can be accessed as time slots become available.
  • Parents can access their child’s lessons and monitor their progress daily. 
  • The best caveat of homeschooling a high schooler is a parent can customize their learning based on academic strengths and interests. 
  • This targeted learning will better prepare students for continued education or when they enter the job market.

How to Homeschool a Child With a Learning Disability

One of the challenges with teaching children with learning disabilities is that it’s difficult to get curricula in a conventional school to conform to your child’s specific needs.

That’s why homeschooling is an excellent choice for special needs students. 

  • Lessons can be taught and graded independently, unlike in a school environment where a child is placed in specific grade “levels.”
  • Children can learn and explore at their own pace.
  • Parents can build on existing strengths in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Online learning provides interactive puzzles and games to keep children interested in lessons.
  • Homeschooling builds confidence and allows parents to introduce new learning experiences in a stress-free environment.
  • The homeschooling curriculum is available for children with Autism, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, ADHD, and ADP (Audio Processing Disorder).

Homeschooling Tips for a Child Who Doesn’t Want to Learn

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Not every child is a bundle of joy. Some are more difficult than others. When children have problems, they may lash out or become frustrated. Maybe they’re afraid to speak in front of the class, or specific subjects make them nervous. Get to the bottom of why your child is difficult or doesn’t want to learn. 

Talking with your child will help determine their issues and concerns. It may be as simple as they think they’re not smart enough for some subjects. Homeschooling can eliminate those problems.

  • Consider deschooling your child if applicable. Sometimes a school environment can be stressful and a source of anxiety. Give your child a break before homeschooling so you can start with a clean slate.
  • Keep lessons short and simple.
  • Implement a schedule and stick to it. Children learn better in a structured environment.
  • Offer rewards for good behavior or when achieving goals. Rewards should be more than monetary but relatively simple, like trips to the park or a special snack.
  • Take frequent breaks and mix things up with fun games and puzzles.
  • Look to your homeschooling group for activities and field trips to improve social structure. Plus, your support network can offer tips and advice if you need help with problems.

How to Homeschool: Additional Steps & Tips

You must establish a structure if you want to homeschool at any level. Studies show that children thrive in a structured environment.

Here are some additional steps and tips for homeschooling your child for success;

Meals & Snacks

  • Prepare meals and healthy snacks in advance. Stay away from sugary drinks and sweets.
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  • Be sure to add meal times to the schedule and what the meal will be.

Real-World Learning

Including your child in real-world situations can assist with homeschooling.

  • For math and science enthusiasts, take them grocery shopping. Allow the child to use the scales to weigh fruits and vegetables. Have them keep track of the price of items and a running total of the grocery bill.
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  • A parent with a technical or construction job can bring the student to work and teach them measurements, angles, and engineering skills.

Sports

Allowing homeschooled students to participate in high school sports varies by State. You can see the requirements of each State here.

Some States allow homeschooled students to participate with earned credits, while others don’t let it at all.

If you have a sports-gifted child, consider your homeschooling options if you envision a sports scholarship in the future.

 There are private sports clubs and teams that require membership fees—research social media to see what’s available in your area.

Foreign Languages

  • Choose a curriculum that includes an introductory course in foreign languages.
  • Look to your homeschooling group for language classes.
  • Consider a foreign language tutor.

Homeschooling Seminars, Conferences, and Conventions

Attend seminars and conventions to learn more about the curriculum and what homeschooling offers.

Activities vary by State and year to year, so check frequently for availability.

Public Libraries

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Your local Library is an excellent resource for learning.

Most Libraries have computers for online research and offer various free classes for students and parents.

Importance of Self-Care

Homeschooling, raising a family, and working full-time can be stressful for any parent.

It’s imperative to include a self-care plan in your schedule. Maintaining a healthy body and mind is critical for lowering stress levels and creating a solid teaching mindset.

  • Yoga and Tai Chi are fantastic ways to lower heart rate and stress and improve blood flow.
  • A healthy diet can boost brain power and increase energy. Check out this article of the  19 Remarkable Ways to Improve Memory (+5 Newly Discovered) to see what foods to eat and avoid to maintain a healthy brain and body.
  • Take daily walks or participate in the child’s outdoor activities. 
  • Connect with homeschool group members for exercise classes and activities.

How to Homeschool: The Final Step

Once you’ve established a solid learning environment, there is one final step to complete the homeschooling process.

Keeping Records

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It’s crucial to keep accurate records of your child’s progress throughout the homeschooling process.

Check with your State’s requirements but at a minimum, keep records of the following;

  • Attendance.
  • Test Scores.
  • Report Cards.
  • Track Course Credits that apply toward college.
  • Transcripts (for future college applications).
  • Awards achieved through homeschooling groups and activities.
  • Diplomas or Graduation Certificates.

Compiling and tracking these records as you progress will help eliminate stress when it comes time to apply for college.

How to Homeschool for Continued Learning

Okay, you’ve completed the homeschooling process. What’s next?

Does your graduate enter the workplace environment or apply for college?

Here are a few helpful tips if you wish to pursue continued learning.

Scholarships

This is where maintaining good records comes into play. Tracking test scores, report cards, and GPA averages are critical when applying for college scholarships.

Having transcripts of your student’s work demonstrates professionalism and will help move their application to the top of the list.

Volunteer Work

Universities are looking for well-rounded young people to enhance their student body. Showing volunteerism and charitable contributions is a plus and should be noted on college applications.

SATs and ACTs

Some colleges require aptitude test results. Consider which test best suits your young adult and what specific colleges are seeking.

Consider Online Degrees

Online Degrees are one option to explore for continued learning. 

Online courses are designed for specific fields of interest. They are a fraction of the cost of conventional college courses, and you can earn a degree faster.

Consider the cost of moving, room and board, tuition, food, and textbooks for college. By the time your kid earns a degree, they’ll be over $100,000 in debt. However, with online degrees, a student can stay at home or work while learning, saving thousands of dollars.

Learning How to Homeschool is Easy

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Now that you’ve read How to Homeschool at Any Level (The Ultimate Guide for 2023), you know what’s possible.

Remember where you started? You had no idea if you could homeschool your child or if you were qualified to do it. You didn’t know where to begin or what was involved.

But, now you do.

You have the knowledge and the ultimate step-by-step guide to start your journey to achieving a better education for your child in a safe and organic environment.

Well done!

Let’s get started!

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