I homeschooled throughout the whole of high school, granting a certain level of credibility to share this post with you. I will show you what curriculum I used, how I keep my records, and apply to college successfully.
Before you read this, do your research to see if homeschooling is fit for you/your child. Read and understand about it so that you minimize mistakes. A child's education is a serious matter. If you have decided that homeschooling is the best out of other education options (public schools etc), then this is how you get started:
1. Check with state requirements
Different states have different credit and legal requirements. Check out the following links to get to know what your state requires you to do to get started with homeschooling :-
High school graduation credit requirements in your state: http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbprofall?Rep=HS01
Homeschool laws in your state: https://www.hslda.org/laws/
2. Form an education plan
Now that you know about the credit requirements for graduation in your state, you can start working on an education plan that complies with them. An education plan is essentially a blueprint that shows the student's course of study and how he/she would go around completing his/her grade. For example, for a high school student, you will need a 4-year plan that includes all the subjects they are required to complete for graduation. You will be in the charge of deciding what course/credit your child will have to complete in a semester or year. You will also have to schedule days of the week for P.E. and organize field trips on your own. Your education plan should also state clearly which curriculum (#4) you will use.
3. Register under an umbrella school
An umbrella school is an alternative education school which serves to oversee the homeschooling of children to fulfill government educational requirements. Umbrella schools vary greatly in what they offer and cost. Some offer group classes, a defined curriculum, sports, field trips, standardized testing, and more.
An umbrella school is optional, but I would really recommend it as it saves you to hassle to deal with paperwork and all that boring shit. When you apply to college, you don't apply as a homeschool student, but as a private-school student, which means you don't have to submit additional materials to be considered for admission that a regular homeschooler would have to. There are tons of umbrella schools for homeschoolers depending on what you want out of your homeschooling experience. Just google "umbrella schools" and compare them.
*One thing to consider when you are choosing your umbrella school is to decide if you want to register under an accredited or certified school. Most accredited umbrella schools (i.e. Lighthouse Christian Academy) are more expensive and require you to purchase their curriculum and follow their education plan. At the end of the day, you get a transcript from an officially recognized school, but you have no flexibility with your curriculum of choice and your education plan. Certified umbrella schools are just as good, except it's cheaper and lets the parents decide what curriculum to use. In fact, most colleges don't even care if your transcript is from an accredited school or not. Some public schools are not even accredited.
I registered under Homelife Academy (not accredited) and find it really affordable. The counselors are responsive. Grades are submitted to AppleCore, an online record-keeping and grade-reporting system, which makes it really easy to mark attendance, get report cards, and request for transcripts etc. I was concerned if colleges would accept my high school transcripts at first, but I had no problem being accepted with the transcripts HLA sent out.
4. Buy curriculum
If you register under HLA or similar schools, you have the flexibility to mix and match curriculum to suit your child's needs. I use ACE curriculum for all of my homeschooling needs because I find that it works for me.
5. Start your homeschooling journey!
There are things you should plan, like field trips, physical activities, and extracurricular activities. Just because you're homeschooling your child doesn't mean he/she doesn't need extracurriculars. One of the pros of homeschooling is the extra time you get to spend time with your family and focusing more on what interests your child (i.e. book clubs, open events organized by public schools, meetups, art classes, martial arts classes, etc)! Remember to capture all those memories and compile them into a portfolio.
Extra things you need:
Good luck in your homeschooling endeavors! Share this post with a friend whom you think will appreciate the help getting started.
Let us know what you think about homeschooling in the comments below! Are you homeschooling? Are you considering homeschooling? Why?
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