Getting Started–Step 1: Decide
Should I homeschool my children? More and more parents all over the world are asking this question. Why do people choose to homeschool? There are many reasons: academic excellence, scheduling flexibility, special needs, and freedom to individualize a student’s pace and interests. Parents also want to remove their children from bullying, unnecessary exposure to immorality, and worldviews that are contrary to those of the parents.
You are the only one who can make the decision to homeschool your children. It is an important choice, so you’ll want to take the time to consider all your options, pray about it, and discuss it with your spouse.
NCHE has worked hard to pioneer and establish friendly homeschool laws in NC because we believe that parents have what it takes to educate their children at home. The first step in homeschooling is simple and often underestimated: you must decide to homeschool. So that you can make an informed decision, we provide research and statistics about homeschooling in North Carolina, as well as the benefits of home education, under the “explore” tab in the menu at the top of our website.
Take special note of our article on Reasons to Home Educate which gives you 10 great reasons to homeschool.
As you research homeschooling in order to make your decision, you will also learn a lot about how to homeschool. So if you decide to jump in, you’ll also feel much better about knowing how to get started.
1. Determine Your Questions
Make a list of questions you want answered in order to make this big decision. Most likely, some of them are:
- What are the laws for homeschooling in NC?
- What are the advantages of homeschooling?
- What qualifications do I need?
- Will my children have an opportunity to socialize with other kids?
- How much time will this take?
- What does a normal day look like?
- How much will it cost?
- What curriculum will I use and where do I get it?
- What will I do when I don’t know the subject I’m supposed to teach?
- What kind of support will I find in my area?
- Will my kids be able to go to college?
1. Connect and Learn from Experienced Homeschoolers
NCHE has an active Facebook page where you can read, ask questions, and discuss topics with homeschoolers.
NCHE regional liaisons are also great resources. RLs are dedicated volunteers who are knowledgeable about homeschool support in specific geographical regions across our state. Find your NCHE regional liaison or active homeschool groups in your area on the NCHE regional pages.
You may have homeschoolers in your church or neighborhood. Ask around to find these people and connect with them.
2. Attend Conferences
NCHE’s Thrive! Conference is the best homeschool conference in North Carolina. This 3-day event in late May features knowledgeable speakers, a huge vendor hall, 1:1 mentoring, activities for children, a college fair, and the largest homeschool graduation ceremony in the state. The Thrive! Conference is the best place to learn about (or learn more about!) homeschooling.
The Summit is our annual 1-day conference for educating exceptional children and boasts large-group learning sessions from national speakers and small-group breakout time where you will meet other families homeschooling children with special needs.
Reading books, articles, blogs, and websites is one of the most helpful ways to determine if you want to choose to homeschool. As you research reasons to homeschool, you will also learn about different philosophies and methods. Learning about different philosophies and methods will help you become aware of your own ideas so you can hone them and help your children grow in knowledge and in character.
NCHE’s GREENHOUSE magazine will help you learn more about reasons to homeschool as well as identify basic educational concepts. Knowledge of these concepts will help you select curriculum and determine how your homeschool will operate. It’s that simple! GREENHOUSE, a publication of NCHE, is published 3 times a year and is mailed to NCHE members. You can learn more in archives of past articles.
NCHE has a blog that posts two posts each week to provide fresh inspiration and practical tips. Check out the NCHE blog here.
Here is a list of carefully selected books on homeschooling.
- Better Late Than Early, Raymond and Dorothy Moore
- The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook (formerly titled Home School Burnout), Raymond and Dorothy Moore
- For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
- Home Schooling for Excellence, David and Micki Colfax
- Homeschooling the Early Years, Linda Dobson
- The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start, Linda Dobson
- Homeschooling the Middle Years, Shari Henry
- Learning All the Time and Teach Your Own, John Holt
- The Three R’s Series and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully, Ruth Beechick
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, Debra Bell
- Educating the Whole-hearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson
- Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning, Sally Clarkson
- 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, Cathy Duffy
- The Heart of Homeschooling, Christopher Klicka
- Ignite The Fire, Terri Camp
- Getting Started in Homeschooling, Sonya Shafer (free ebook at simplycharlottemason.com)
- A Charlotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola
- When Children Love to Learn, Cooper, Anderson, Macaulay and Beckman