New Homeschoolers, Getting Started
Meme Courtesy of Indiana Association of Home Educators
Congrats on considering homeschooling! Here are some of our words of wisdom:
- Homeschooling is HARD… there we said it. Make no mistake, in Nevada if you file a NOI to Homeschool, you are legally taking “full responsibility for the education of your child”. Planning, preparing, and providing an education to your child cannot be taken lightly; you are after all preparing him or her for life outside of your home. HOWEVER, we can assure you that homeschooling IS a rewarding experience for both parent and child; a path worth taking! Many, many parents have successfully educated their children at home. You can do it too!
- Know and understand your state laws. It is LEGAL to homeschool in all 50 states. A great help in understanding Nevada state homeschool laws is our FAQ’s page and Support Groups/Info by County.
- Be prepared. Once you’ve made the decision to homeschool spend a lot of time researching and studying the many books, blogs, and websites available to learn how to begin directing the education of your child. There are many Facebook groups that can be an encouragement as well. Check out the NHN Facebook Page and find NV Homeschool Facebook Groups through the local Support Groups link in #2.
- Consider your options. Below is a discussion of reading materials on “how to homeschool”, learning styles of children, different systems of home education to consider, and links to resources to help you get started. This page is by no means complete as you will see when clicking into different links but a great place to start. So enjoy the exploration.
Click here to print a copy of the Notice of Intent to Homeschool form and find out how to complete and mail in the simple notification. Click here for more information on the NV Homeschool Law and the NV Homeschool Quick Start Guide
PLEASE NOTE: NOI’s must be mailed or delivered to the Superintendent of Schools in the School District in which the child resides (district mailing address) — DO NOT mail the form to NHN, we cannot submit it for you.
Yes, I want to homeschool my child but what should I do before I file?
- READ, READ, and did we mention READ? There are so many great books available on homeschooling!! Here are some favorites:
- The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith,
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell,
- The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn (even if you do not yet have a teen!!)
- If you have a teen/pre-teen, find a copy of And What About College by Cafi Cohen.
- 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning, by Cathy Duffy
- You Can Teach Your Children Successfully by Ruth Beechick
- For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
- Teaching Children , by Diane Lopez (this book is out of print but if you can find a used copy it is a great resource for what children should know in each subject, at each grade level)
- The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield
- What Is Classical Education by Susan Wise Bauer
- Choosing and Using Curriculum: Your Guide to Home Education by Joyce Herzog
- What Should I Be Teaching? by Vicki Bently (HSLDA online resource)
- Original Interview on Homeschooling; Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Raymond Moore This audio interview from the early 1980’s is credited as one of the events that launched the homeschool movement. Our friends a CHEA of CA have posted a rebroadcast of the original interview.
- Search the internet… there is much information available there. But be sure to “source” the website; you want to be sure you are getting reliable information. If a website doesn’t say “who” they are, what their worldview is, be wary. If in doubt, ask an experienced homeschool parent, co-op/support group/state leader who their favorite authors/bloggers are.
- Consider attending a homeschool convention in a surrounding state (Phoenix, AZ, Pasadena, CA, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, Boise, ID, and Salt Lake City, UT all have annual conventions). These conferences can be a great introduction to the world of homeschooling!
- Take the time to learn how your children learn best. This is a benefit that homeschooling offers us…to tailor our children’s education to fit THEM! There are 3 primary styles of learning: Visual Learners (seeing), Auditory Learners(hearing), and Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners (doing). University of Minnesota: Learning Styles A great book on learning styles is called In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong …read anything by him! Also check out books by Cynthia Tobias.
- Know that there are many different styles of homeschooling… there is NO right or wrong way to go about it. It is about what is RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD and you! Here are some “terms” to become familiar with:
- Deschooling- a period of time after a child has been in public school to get out of the mode of ‘school’ . You may find that if you try to go right into homeschooling you will have a battle on your hands.. so if you take time to have some fun, go to museums, out to lunch etc.. things you could NOT do during ‘school’ before.. it might help. The loose rule of thumb is…for every year spent in schools, they will need a month to readjust…to relearn that learning can be fun!!! To love it again.
- Curriculum based homeschooling- it is just as it sounds, you buy a prepackaged curriculum that comes with all the ‘bells and whistles’. There is such a wide variety to pick from. Cathy Duffy reviews different curriculum packages or Google “Full Curriculum Packages”.
- Eclectic homeschooling- An eclectic curriculum is where you pick and choose resources, books, textbooks, ect. for each subject to be taught from different curriculum publishers. So rather than purchasing your entire curriculum (prepackaged) from the same publisher or provider you build your own curriculum from a variety of publishers/resources. For example: A 1st grade English curriculum might use Hooked on Phonics , Pathway Readers , Spelling Power , and Writing Strands, all from different publishers. Similarly, you could choose Making Math Meaningful, Math-U-See, or Saxon Math for your 1st grade Math Curriculum based on how your child learns. And then read aloud the Little House in the Big Woods series by Laura Ingals Wilder for your Social Studies: History, Geography, Economics, and Goverment curriculum, all in one set of books! You are still using books and workbooks but from different sources that meet your child’s interests and needs. Rainbow Resource Center, Timberdoodle, and Sonlight have been long-time curriculum providers to homeschoolers. However, there are many more! Google “homeschool curriculum”.
- Unschooling- Watch “Learn Free” – a short documentary on youtube. Child led learning; Natural learning; Delight-led learning. Spirit-led learning. The child is given back his own education. Learning is happening all the time. The parent is always on the lookout for that ‘teachable moment’. It is a lot easier to do than it sounds. If the child wants to learn about the Civil War, that is what they study etc. We use whatever resources work! Here’s a hint: Unschooling is what you have done since birth. It is the way you helped them walk, and talk, and learn the alphabet. Find some unschoolers to talk to. It is very interesting!
- Unit Studies- Unit studies is like.. your child loves horses so you do a Unit Study that includes reading, language arts, math, and science. You do your math with horses, (age appropriate.. like counting them, percentage of white and brown, etc) your history of horses, biology of horses, etc. You study one thing that encompasses several subjects. Many people use this when they have many different levels in the household…it is easy to provide for all grade levels. Also, it works well with special needs children because you can focus on what they want to learn about. Konos and Weaver are two well known unit study sites or Google “unit studies for homeschool”.
- NOT Common Core State Standards – Many parents choose to homeschool to avoid “Common Core” now adopted in most states for public schools (Nevada in 2011). CCSS is equivalent to “national standards” and a threat to local control of public education. Nevada homeschool parents are NOT required to meet NV State Education Standards (Common Core or otherwise). View HSLDA’s “Common Core Issues” page for more info. To see whether or not your curriculum or textbook choices have “aligned with common core” (many have not!) check out The Homeschool Resource Roadmap. Also refer to worldbook.com for “pre-CCSS” or a “classic” course of study.
- Understand the differences between homeschooling and government funded “home based” education programs –What you need to know:
a.) Online charter schools are public schools and the child is a “public school student at home”. The parent does NOT chose nor control of the education provided to the child but rather serves as a non-paid teacher’s aide supervising the daily activities of the child. In this scenario, the child is not being homeschooled. Please see Homeschooling vs. Public School At Home as well as The Problem with Home-based Charter Schools that explain the differences.
b.) Education Savings Account (ESA) Opt-in Child allows the parent to provide a “home based education” but again this is not the same as homeschooling since there are different legal requirements. The ESA parent, acting as a “Participating Entity”, must comply with requirements set by the NV State Treasurer such as testing the child annually, submitting the results to the Department of Education, applying annually for the program, auditing of the account, etc., etc., etc.. In comparison, homeschooling requires a simple one-time notification, not an application, and is “self-funded” by the parent. This allows the MOST freedom in directing the education of the child without government controls. For more information please see Homeschooling vs. State ESA Grants, Kleenex vs. Puffs; Homeschool vs. ESA Program or click on our ESA tab.
c.) NHN has produced two useful charts that explain the differences as well; Nevada Parental Choice Options and a pictorial chart, Education Options in NV.
d.) The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) also has a good position statement on Charter Schools.
- Lastly, be sure to consider using a good Record Keeping system to demonstrate your child’s academic progress while being homeschooled. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can address your child’s individual educational needs while not being “beholding” to someone else’s standards (including the government’s). However, just as most of us recorded every “first” of our child’s life after they were born (and sometimes before 🙂 ), so too should we record the academic milestones he/she conquers. Record keeping will differ family to family but please don’t ignore it, you never know when you may need your records for a reason you can’t anticipate now. More information on this can be found in Section 4 of the NHN “Frequently Asked Questions” tab.
Now that you’re homeschooling: LOVE your kids 🙂 Hug them, learn with them, and have fun! NHN Officers are here to help, check out our Contact Page for assistance.
Here are some additional helpful links:
Homeschool Resources & Catalogs
HSLDA – Teaching My Kids
Eclectic Homeschool Online
School Is Dead; Learn in Freedom! Great site, offers a list of colleges that accept homeschoolers.
NHERI National Home Education Research Institute
Worldbook.com ‘s Typical Course of Study curriculum overview by grade