Choosing to homeschool is a big decision and it can be a bit nerve-racking when you have to pull your child out of public school first. If your child is currently attending a traditional public school you will need to pull them from school before you can begin homeschooling. The good news is, this is not nearly as scary as it seems.
Before you pull your child from public school do a quick search and pull up your states homeschool laws. These laws often set guidelines as to what is required to pull your child out of public school to start homeschooling. These laws will also help you along on your homeschool journey, helping you insure that you are covering all of the requirements of your state – what courses you need to cover, how often and what kind of record keeping you need to turn in, and so forth. Some states have low restrictions and some have high. Don’t let the high restrictions derail your homeschooling plans; I’ve homeschooled in very restrictive states and not so restrictive states and the high restrictions weren’t as bad as they initially seemed. So don’t get discouraged.
Homeschool Legal Defense is a great place to start researching homeschool laws. I would also strongly encourage you to check out your state’s main homeschool group or association; they will likely be able to provide you with even more state-specific info as you get started homeschooling. Some of the state organizations that I have experience with offered state-specific homeschool handbooks, provide you with forms to help make withdrawing and paperwork a breeze, organize annual homeschool conventions, and so many more things so be sure to look up your state’s main group and dig into their website to see what resources they have to offer.
Be polite in your correspondence with your school district, keeping things short and sweet, only giving them the required information, and nothing above and beyond that. Do not give any more information to the school employees than required by law (this is why it’s good to be well-informed and educated on your parental rights regarding homeschooling in your state). Most states do not require you to tell the actual school that you will be homeschooling. If this is the case just tell them you’re withdrawing your child from the school and get on your way. Do not feel pressured to give more information than required. In my experience, unfortunately many school districts aren’t fully informed on the homeschool laws and overstep when it comes to this sort of thing, so stand your ground and do your research.
Keep your conversations and communication with the school district in writing so that you can go back and refer to it as needed, plus this provides you with good records and proof that you are fulfilling the requirements. Sending all paperwork through the U.S. postal service with proof of receipt is what I would recommend using; be sure to make copies of anything you send the school. However, if the school district is fine with, or prefers for you to send the paperwork via email, that would be a much easier route to go; just be sure to get some proof of receipt and keep records and backups of those emails.
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I offer every new homeschool mom is to find some sort of support group (or mentor) – what that looks like is completely up to you. It can be a local group that meets up for field trips or play dates, it could be a homeschool co-op where the moms share in the teaching duties, it could be an online group that offers discussion and encouragement. You will have lots of questions as you get started in this new season of your life; that is completely normal. And rest assured, homeschool moms are some of the most helpful and knowledgeable people – we love helping new homeschool moms out! So don’t ever be afraid to ask someone your homeschool questions!!
Here are some great groups and places that will help you find a group that is a good fit for you (your state’s main homeschool organization/association might also have a list of groups local to you) –
- Homeschool Speak
- My Joy-Filled Homeschool
- It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School
- The Well-Trained Mind Forum
- HSLDA Directory of Organizations
- com Group Directory
- The Homeschool Mom List of Local Groups
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