Step 1: Research Homeschool Laws in your Country, State or Local District
Homeschool laws very by country, state, or even county. In the United States America many states are very lacks when it comes to homeschooling, no testing or registration required. Other states require official withdrawal from the public school district, specific curriculums to be followed, yearly testing, and/or home visits. These requirements very across the world, so if you live in Canada, United Kingdom, or the West indies, you must also research. You can get into quite a bit of legal trouble if you live in one of the stricter states and miss some check points.
Homeschool parents may consider purchasing a planner to keep track of state laws, contact information for local school districts, yearly testing, benchmarks reached, and lesson plans.
To ensure that you have no legal trouble when making the decision to homeschool your child research the laws regarding homeschool in your state. A good place to start if you live in the USA is https://hslda.org/legal. Click on your state to see what regulations are there, even low or lightly regulated homeschooling states may have some surprise requirements. In the next section there is a simple breakdown of the New Jersey Homeschool Regulations which are very lacks. We will then compare them to the state next door, Pennsylvania, which has one of the strictest homeschool requirements per any US state.
Breakdown of New Jersey State Homeschool Regulations
A Glance at NJ Homeschool Law as of 2021
- Homeschooling Option
- School is REQUIRED for children ages 6 to 16
- No notification needed to homeschool
- No teacher qualifications required
- No State Mandated Subjects
- No Assessment Requirements
- No Immunization Requirements
Under NJ law homeschooling parents must provide an education that is academically “equivalent” to what children would receive at school. The word equivalent is important, because it does not mean identical. Parents have to make a good-faith effort to give their child an education that is appropriate for their age and covers major subjects (reading, writing, arithmetic, science). If you live in NJ and are tasked with providing your child with an “equivalent” education at home, looking over the NJ core curriculum by grade level will help you understand what your child should be learning. https://www.nj.gov/education/cccs/
NJ homeschool laws do require parents to track the number of days your child receives instructional learning. These records may be requested when a child applies to college, joins the military, or tries to get a license before age 18.
Breakdown of Pennsylvania State Homeschool Laws
PA Homeschool Laws at A Glance
- Four Homeschooling Options
- School Required for Ages 6 to 18
- Notification REQUIRED
- Teacher Qualification (with exceptions)
- State Mandated Subjects
- Assessment Required (with exceptions)
- Immunizations REQUIRED
There are 4 options to homeschooling in PA. Parents can choose to operate under the Homeschool Statute, homeschool with a private tutor, enroll your child in a “satellite” of religious day school, or enroll your child in a “satellite” of an accredited day or boarding school.
In the state of Pennsylvania, when a child turns 6 years old (on or before September 1st of the academic year) he or she must begin their record of attendance. These attendance records may be requested for social security benefits, military enlisting, college applications, or getting a driving permit before age 18.
To begin homeschooling in PA, parents must fill out an affidavit, get it notarized, and mail it Certified Mail to the superintendent of the local school district. Unlike New Jersey, Pennsylvania homeschoolers must follow a curriculum with Mandated State Subjects.
If you are looking to homeschool your child out of fear of vaccinations, you have to research your states homeschool laws. In the state of PA , parents must submit a Certificate of Immunization Form. There is a separate form that must be submitted for immunization exemption based on religious beliefs.
Step 2: Research best homeschool academic material (that fits your goals)
What do you want your child to learn? Or, what should your child know at their age? What are the local schools teaching? What are the best private schools in the world teaching? How do you get your homeschooled children access to that material? Research! Research! Research!
Get a notebook out or open a document processor to brainstorm. Think what did you know at your child’s age? Write a list of a few things you were taught, if you have a partner ask them to add to that list. What do you want your child to learn? Make that list.
Look at your country or states education requirements. Visit private school websites, download free brochures or even send an email to request information about the school curriculum. You may not want to teach your child all the things listed, but you will have an idea of what children your child’s age are learning.
Find a community of other homeschool parents. This can also help with getting playdates, saving on field trips, and building social skills for your children. Seasoned homeschool parents can be a great relief to beginners, as they are proof that it can be done successfully. They can recommend great homeschool programs, lesson plans, and a curriculum that will take some of the stress away from teaching your kids at home.
- Preschool Curriculum Recommendation – Teaching My Preschooler
- Kindergarten Curriculum Recommendation – Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills Workbook for Kindergarten
- 1st to 5th Grade Curriculum Recommendation – Horizons 3rd Grade Complete Set (Sets available for each grade level)
- Middle School Curriculum Recommendation – Khan Academy
For elementary aged children the Welcome to Elementary School series created by Unabashed Kids Media is a great supplement for homeschool children. All workbooks contain over 150 pages of academic worksheets in the subjects of math, science, reading, writing, and geography. These workbooks can be purchased on Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Nobles online.
Step 3: Determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses, then set goals for improvements.
Now that you have a broad idea of what you want your child to learn at home, we should assess our children to see what they know already. This can be done with a test prep book for your child’s grade level. Don’t worry if the material on the test is too hard, ideally you will give your child the same test in about a years time to see how much they have improved.
After giving your child a benchmark test, you can then find FREE or PAID resources to build your child’s skills. This can include buying math, reading, or science flashcards, registering for online learning platforms, workbooks, and/or textbooks. Or printing out free game boards, worksheets, selecting videos from free online resources. Be more interactive by planning activities and outings, like going to a museum, planting a garden, going fishing or camping, learning to swim, or traveling to see historical landmarks.
Most homeschool parents have a planner to help them keep track of academic goals, lessons, and activities. Teaching Kids at Home is a simple homeschool planner created with love and care by Unabashed Kids Media.
Step 4: What Homeschool Material Should You Purchase? Where can I get FREE Homeschool Material?
It will be beneficial if you set up a study area that your child can go to everyday while learning. This will require a desk, pencil storage, and a small bookshelf. Wall decorations are a fun addition to the learning area.
Textbooks and workbooks will be needed for each subject. Buy textbooks based on the curriculum plan you chose to follow. Scroll down and you will find affiliate links to some great homeschool décor, storage, utensils, and academic material.
Teacherspaysteachers.com is a great resource to get FREE or low cost worksheets and lesson plans for children of all ages. Khan Academy was created by a father aiming to help his child develop stronger math skills. The platform has grown quite large and have many free videos and questions to help build math skills from Pre-K to college level.
Also check out UnabashedKids.com/worksheets
Elementary School Material List (Click to Shop on Amazon)
- Dry Erase White Board 9×12 Inch, Bulk Set of 16 Lapboards
- 16 Educational Posters for Classroom Décor & Kindergarten Homeschool Supplies Baby to 3rd Grade Kids
- Welcome to Elementary School Workbook Series K to 5
- Kindergarten Homeschool Supplies Alphabet Educational Posters Charts for Toddlers Kids Pre K Preschool Teach Learning Material
- Teach My Kindergartener Deluxe Learning Kit
- Sentence Building for Kids—Sight Word Builder for Early Reading
- The Giant Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans for Children 3 to 6
- Back To School Supply Box Grades K-5 – 32 Pieces
- Math Flash Cards Set of 4 packs: Multiplication , Division , Addition , Subtraction Flashcards With Rings
- Alphabet Flash Cards Games : Wooden Number ABC Letters for Toddlers
- Learning Resources MathLink Cubes
- Analog Clock, Tactile Learning
- Sight Words Flash Cards with Pictures, Motions &Sentences, 220 Dolch Sight Words
- Humble Math – 100 Days of Timed Tests: Multiplication: Grades 3-5, Math Drills, Digits 0-12,
- Crayola Washable Kids Paint, 12 Count
- Homeschool Storage
Middle School Material List (Click to Shop on Amazon)
- Homeschool Organizers and Storage
- Homeschool Desk
- School Supply Bundle for Middle to High School Students
- Back to School Supplies Essential Bundle – 4th Grade | 5th Grade | 6th Grade | 7th Grade
- Mark Twain Media Discovering the World of Geography Workbook—Grades 7-8 Political and Physical Geography
- All About Money – Economics – Business – Ages 10+: The Thinking Tree – Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling Curriculum
- Workman Publishing Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook
- The 100+ Series: Human Body Workbook―Grades 5-8 Science Book, Human Anatomy, Bones, Muscles, Organs, the Nervous System, Health and Nutrition
- How to Write an Awesome Paragraph Step-by-Step
- McGraw-Hill Education Vocabulary Grades 6-8
- Mastering Essential Math Skills, Book 2: Middle Grades/High School
- 15 Educational Math Chart for Kids, Classroom Decoration Banner Math Poster for Elementary and Middle School
- Real-World Math: Grades 5-8
Highschool Homeschool Material (Click to Purchase on Amazon)
- Reading: Play – Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller
- Reading: Poem – Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Reading: Novel – The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- Reading: Novel – The Stranger by Albert Camus
- World History: History of the World Map by Map
- World History: From the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day
- World History: When The World Was Black: The Untold History of the World’s First Civilizations
- Science: Everything You Need to Ace Chemistry in One Big Fat Notebook
- Science: Everything You Need to Ace Biology in One Big Fat Notebook
- Science: The 100 Series: Biology Workbook—Grades 6-12 Science
- Math: No-Nonsense Algebra
- Math: College Algebra and Trigonometry
- Math: Essential Calculus Skills Practice Workbook with Full Solutions
PBS KIDS FREE trial through Amazon Prime Video https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/offers/signup/?ie=UTF8&benefitID=pbskids
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Purchase a Simple Homeschool Planner
SIMPLE HOMESCHOOL PLANNER: The Teaching Kids at Home Planner by Unabashed Kids Media is a softcover planner that includes monthly and weekly planning pages plus a helpful yearly overview. This large academic planner features 12 two-page monthly calendars and 48 weekly layouts for lesson planning, goal planning, scheduling extra-curricular activities, and more. The all-in-one academic planner book also includes note pages, curriculum material budgeting, contact information logs, a book reading tracker, and more.
SUPERIOR ORGANIZATION: Sectioned by months and weeks. Including 16 pages for individual lesson planning. Each section is designed for neatly organizing each component of the lesson and allowing you to add notes for future reference.
GOAL SETTING SUCCESS: Set goals for your children in the monthly planners, then record steps for completion in the weekly sections. Check if each goal has been accomplished at the end of the month on the monthly recap page.
Step 5: Follow your plan and build a consistent learning routine
Consistency is the key to learning. Set a schedule for when your child will intentionally learn academic material. A reading, math, writing, activity, arts, and science time should be included in your child’s daily or weekly schedule. Studying does not come naturally to every child. A consistent learning routine will build-up a child’s stamina when it comes to learning new material, especially when said child must read or write for a long period of time to understand the material. Set a schedule for younger children and teach older children how to independently set their own work schedule. Provide guidance so that children follow their study schedule consistently.
Set weekly goals and follow lesson plans. Mark if your child has mastered a new skill or needs to work on improving said skill. Praise and celebrate all of your child’s accomplishments.