One of the most frequently asked questions is how to switch from a school setting to homeschooling mid-year. Can you start homeschooling in the middle of the year? The answer is a resounding yes! It’s pretty common for parents to pull their children out mid-year to begin homeschooling, and there are many reasons that might contribute to the desire to homeschool.
Whatever your reasons, remember that you’re doing what you believe is best for your child and it may or may not be a challenging switch. As a homeschooler, you have flexibility with how and when to start schooling. While most families choose to switch at the semester break, it’s really up to you to decide when the switch will work best for your family.
Here are a few tips for making the change and transition much smoother for your entire family.
1. Check out your state laws. It is important to follow the laws and take the appropriate steps required by your state.
2. Check in with your statewide homeschooling association. This association can offer advice on the steps to take to remove your child from school.
3. Find a local homeschool group. Your local homeschool support group can also help with the specifics and can usually assist with the procedure by providing forms, requesting the school records, helping with curriculum advice, etc.
4. Consider what you’ll need to make curriculum decisions and purchases. In some cases, you can still use the school books from the school you left, but don’t count on it. For some families, this is one of the hardest aspects of making the switch. If you are willing to use the current school curriculum, you can ask the school for assistance. You can also check Curriculum Express, as they have a variety of publishers, discounts on their products, can help you find curriculum based on learning style and have teacher’s guides available.
5. Request school records. You’ll need to decide where you child stands academically, as well. Most states have a required number of hours per year, and a certain number of those hours must be in core subjects. To ensure you fulfill those hour requirements, you’ll need to know how many hours/days your child has already completed so you know how much more you need to finish.
6. Speak with other homeschool families. They can offer their own advice about how to help you make the transition, and they’ll be able to suggest resources, as well. You can also consider joining a homeschool co-op or homeschool group in your area.
7. Sign up for Extracurricular Activities. If your child was participating in extracurricular activities through the school, you might want to consider getting him or her signed up again through another organization. Some school districts will allow homeschool students to continue to participate in a sport or choir/band. But if you don’t want to continue with the school, find interactive online classes or take a gym class at a local YMCA. The possibilities for interaction are endless!
8. Decide on your style. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that it allows parents the freedom to determine what and how their kids learn. Are you hoping to re-create a traditional school environment within your home? If so, a traditional approach might work best for your family. Proponents of classical education focus on the great works of Western literature, while “unschoolers” allow their children to determine the course of their own education. Essentially, you’ll have to discover what works best for your family.
9. Use the library. Utilizing the library and the Internet can be invaluable as you make your transition to homeschooling in the middle of the year. Nowadays, you can simply look for resources that are related to the curriculum you just ended with at your old school. Some of these include: non-fiction books, historical fiction, biographies, educational fictions such as The Magic Treehouse, or videos and documentaries.
10. Decide on a recording method. Most states require some sort of record keeping for hours and school work. Even if you aren’t asked to turn it in, it is still a good idea to know how you plan to record your child’s school work and if you will be issuing report cards or other types of grades. There are a number of homeschool management software tools available to help you track grades and lesson plans.
Sound a little overwhelming? You can also use an all-inclusive homeschool partner like Bridgeway Academy to help you with record keeping, assist you with finding local homeschool groups in your area, find additional resources to help your kids, and find the perfect curriculum for each child’s learning style.
Still trying to decide whether you want to make the switch? Just remember that you’re doing what you believe is best for your family. There are a lot of great resources available to homeschooling families, and with Bridgeway Academy you’re never alone in the journey. Visit www.bridgewayacademy.com to learn more or call us at 800-863-1474.