So, you’ve decided that homeschool is the best fit for your family. Now you have to make some decisions to get the ball rolling.
Step 1: Approach
What general approach to homeschooling is the best fit for your family? Homeschooling allows you to tailor your approach completely to your children. And there are many options including course-based traditional, story-based Charlotte Mason, the trivium-based classical, and the free-wheeling unschooling.
What are your children and family’s fit factors? How can you tailor your approach to meet them?
- Does your child need a structured environment in which to learn?
- Does your child get excited about any specific academic interests?
- Does your family have any practical needs that should be considered?
- What are your child’s social needs?
Once you have a good grasp on your wants, research online the various approaches to homeschooling and choose the one that fits best with your child and your family’s needs.
Step 2: Curriculum and Materials
Once you know what general approach you want to take, it’s time to find the way to make that approach work for your family.
What curriculum do you want to use to educate your child? Homeschool families have access to many different tools to facilitate learning. These can include textbooks, workbooks, online classes, correspondence courses, videos and software. Determine what tools will best help your child learn.
Note: If you determine that your child would benefit from online learning, you do have the option to enroll your child in an online charter school at no cost.
Step 3: Co-ops and Support Groups
Do you want to work together with other homeschool families?
Ohio is home to dozens and dozens of homeschool co-ops and support groups. If you feel that your family could benefit from connecting and working with other homeschool families, joining a co-op or support group could be beneficial. In these groups, families come together to supplement their children’s homeschool experience through field trips, enrichment activities, extracurriculars, and group student instruction. Research online to find the co-ops and support groups in your area to determine if that is the best route for your child.
Other homeschool families in your area can also be helpful when it comes to finding out which curriculum and materials others have found helpful.
Step 4: Notification
You must provide written notification of your intention to homeschool your child to the superintendent of your child’s resident school district. The Ohio Department of Education provides a recommended notification form for your use. Don’t forget this step to make sure your child isn’t considered truant.
Step 5: Assessments
How will you handle assessments? Remember that homeschoolers have three options when it comes to completing the assessment requirement. Decide which option is best for your family.
Step 6: Field Trips & Extracurricular Activities
Just because you are homeschooling your children does not mean that they will miss out on field trips and extracurricular activities.
Many activity, arts, and recreation centers cater to homeschool students during the day when other students are in school. Extracurriculars can also be part of the co-op experience.
Homeschooled children are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities like sports at their local public school. Talk with your public school district about how to sign your child up for sports or extracurricular activities.