If you’re new to homeschooling or wondering how to homeschool, or curious about the topic and considering homeschooling programs and homeschooling pros and cons, or just looking for some homeschooling 101 stuff, asking the question “What is homeschooling anyway?” is a great place to start.
(And, let’s just hold off for a bit on researching the best homeschooling curriculum, OK?)
(Especially if you’re new to homeschooling.)
First . . .
WHAT IS HOMESCHOOLING?
In the most simple definition of homeschooling, homeschooling is when a parent takes control of their child’s learning and educates the child at home instead of sending them to a public school or private school, or more traditional avenues. Homeschool parents accept complete responsibility for their child’s education instead of relinquishing control of their child’s education to another person or institute.
(This is a quick definition of homeschooling, so let’s take a closer look into What is homeschooling?. In a short space, I’ll try to make this a comprehensive–but easy to understand–article on homeschooling.)
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THIS IS PART 1 IN OUR SERIES FOR NEW HOMESCHOOLERS.
What Is Homeschooling Like?
With homeschooling, parents educate their own children at home.
Being able to choose how you homeschool is one of the biggest homeschooling advantages!
(We’ll get into a full list of homeschooling pros and cons in another post.)
Depending on where the homeschooling family lives, they may be required to follow a specific state-required curriculum or lessons.
Homeschool laws and regulations vary by state and country, so before you begin check the homeschooling laws for your area!
In the United States, each state has their own set of laws and regulations for homeschooling.
If you are wondering:
What do you have to do to start homeschooling?
Can you start homeschooling at any time?
Can you start homeschooling in the middle of the school year?
Know this . . .
. . . you must first understand the homeschooling laws for your area before you do anything else.
Reviewing your homeschooling laws will answer all of the above questions (and more) for you.
(We’ll guide you through more of this in STEP 2 of HOW TO HOMESCHOOL, so be sure to read it after this!)
Also, if you live in a country other than the United States, closely check your country’s homeschooling laws!
In some countries (like Germany), homeschooling is illegal and may have repercussions for your family . . .
. . . even if you are temporarily living in those countries overseas (like with military families).
WHAT IS HOMESCHOOLING? 60 Second Homeschooling with Homeschool Super Freak [VIDEO]
What Is Homeschooling? (HINT: Homeschooling Doesn’t Just Happen in the Home)
One of the biggest homeschooling misconceptions is that homeschoolers are isolated kids who never leave the home.
However, many homeschoolers have part of their studies at home and also participate in regular classes, activities, and meet-ups outside of the home.
Homeschooling parents are often focused on giving their children a well-rounded education full of life experiences!
Many parents also put homeschool socialization as a priority.
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A Short History of Homeschooling
Homeschooling was actually the norm in early America, going as far back as colonial times when people came over on the Mayflower.
Then, it was standard to school your children at home while completing all the other homesteading chores.
It wasn’t until 1837 when Massachusetts opened its first public school that the move toward compulsory education started . . .
. . . not long after parents were even being jailed for not sending their children to school!
(READ ON TO FIND OUT WHY!)
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By 1918, all states enacted compulsory education, requiring children to attend school, and making homeschooling a crime in all states.
Homeschooling Was Still Illegal in the 60s and 70s, But Changing . . .
In the 1960s and 70s, homeschooling started to gain a widespread interest again.
However, at that time removing children from public schools to homeschool was illegal.
During this time, when parents removed a child to homeschool, the traditional schools recorded the amount of time that children were out of the school as unexcused absences instead of a withdrawal from the school . . .
. . . which got parents into A LOT of trouble!
SO . . .
Some parents started the homeschool process before children were ever enrolled in the traditional school system so that no public school record of the kids existed.
Some families even went as far as to move to a new community where their children were never enrolled in that local school system and wouldn’t be “found out.”
Unbelievably, other parents were still fined or even served jail time for simply wanting to teach their children at home.
If you live in an area where homeschooling is legal, then count your blessings!
There are still many areas where you cannot homeschool or that have very strict regulations on how you homeschool.
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Making Homeschooling Legal (Again)
Late in the 1950s, Nevada and Utah started to allow homeschooling again.
It wasn’t until 24 years later in the 1980s, that other states followed.
By 1989, Michigan, North Dakota, and Iowa were the only three states that still considered homeschooling illegal.
By 1993, all 50 states had enacted legislation to make homeschooling legal again.
So, what is homeschooling like (really)?
To be completely honest . . .
. . . homeschooling is hard.
It takes a lot of work and commitment and should not be entered into lightly.
HOWEVER . . .
. . . it is one the most amazing things that you’ll ever do!
Having a hand in how your child is educated, being able to encourage their natural interests, and help instill a lifelong love of learning are things that will serve your child throughout their entire life!
If you’re new, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give (aside from starting with your state laws), is to find a HOMESCHOOL SUPPORT GROUP ASAP.
Come on over and join us, even if you’re just curious about homeschooling or just starting your research!
We support and share a ton of things for homeschooling parents and educators at all levels — from the curious, to newbies, to homeschooling parents who have homeschoolers graduate!
I’ve also listed some of the other common “how to homeschool” questions below.
READ ON . . .
COMMON HOW TO HOMESCHOOL QUESTIONS (ANSWERED!)
Need More Help With How to Homeschool and Questions You Have (or That Others Are Asking You About Homeschooling)?
Check out my homeschooling book (available in print and electronic formats).
It hit #1 BESTSELLER in FOUR educational categories!