I Used to Teach Public School. Now I Homeschool. Here's What You Need to Know.
A former public schoolteacher answers the most common questions.
Note from Josh: I had some trepidation before publishing “Is Prepping Over?” but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It turns out many of you have been thinking the same things. I’ve been bugging my wife Hannah to write a homeschooling post for a while, but she’s been too busy… homeschooling. Thanks to the popularity of that post and many subsequent requests for homeschooling posts, I convinced her to take time from her busy schedule to answer the most common questions of prospective homeschoolers. In future posts, she’ll dive into the details of her program.
My road to becoming a homeschooling mother was weird. I loved public school. After college, I taught at the high school I graduated from, and I was deeply involved in school life.
Josh and I got married and had our first son 5 years into my education career, and in my mind, he would just go to public school. I imagined that he would love learning and books as much as Josh and I had. If you’re a parent, you’re probably laughing right now.
As we approached school age, I knew in my gut I wanted my children to be educated at home. After we made the commitment to homeschool, I am sure that the people who knew me at the time thought I had either been brainwashed or I was going insane.
You may be feeling the call, too, and asking yourself “Now what?”
While my former profession does help in some regards, do not feel like you need to run out and get an education degree to teach your child. You don’t. Here’s what you do need to know to get started, though.
How do I homeschool without going to jail?
First things first, legal stuff. You must know what the laws are in your state, both to comply with the law and so you’ll know when someone is asking more of you than is legally required.
That sounds intimidating, but you have help. The Home School Legal Defense Association is an invaluable resource, and they offer a simplified state-by-state breakdown of homeschooling laws. Pay close attention to details and deadlines. You cannot be too careful in this area.
In many states, your only option is to register as a homeschooling family with your local school board, and you will be responsible for supplying whatever documentation the school board requires, including curriculum choices, medical records, and grades.
Here in Tennessee, we have an option called an “umbrella school.” You register your child with the umbrella school just as you would with a private school, but most umbrella schools don’t offer any classes. Instead, for a nominal annual fee, the umbrella school helps you handle the paperwork. We go through Aaron Academy (Taylor Swift is an alumnus). Another option in Tennessee is The Farm School.
Look for similar options in your state, as they’re well worth the money. We pay Aaron Academy $80 per year and the only paperwork we have to submit are grades at the end of every semester.
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