You can homeschool.

Home Schooling: Start here.
Home Schooling: Start here.
Home Schooling: Start here.

Introduction















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Fulfilling Results

When my husband Phil first mentioned the idea of homeschooling our three children, I tried to pretend I hadn't heard him. Even though I was an experienced classroom teacher, I had seen a number of successful homeschool moms and had thought, "But I don't have their placid temperament or their particular strengths." What I soon learned was that God uses each parent's strengths to provide a unique environment for the family, and they are led into many new and broadening experiences.

Now that our three children are all adults in their 20s, Phil and I have the incomparable joy of seeing them happy and fulfilled in the area of life and service to which God has called them at this time. Much to our delight, our two sons have married and both are committed to teaching their own children at home.

—Beverly Jones


Confidence for the Future

I remember when we started homeschooling in 1985. I wondered if I could keep homeschooling once we reached high school. I wanted my children to be in a healthy atmosphere, spiritually and emotionally, but could I really prepare them for college and a future career?

Benjamin, the oldest of our four children, attended the College of William and Mary on a full-tuition academic scholarship. He is now the speech writer for senator John Gornyn (TX). Emily, our second-born, is a junior at the University of Virginia. Following in their footsteps, Ellis, our second son, is using the University of Nebraska's Independent High School program, and 8-year-old Florence is enjoying her 4th grade Calvert School lessons. I am so grateful for the daily time I get to spend with each of them, especially now that the older ones are leaving the nest.

If you feel God is calling you to continue homeschooling during the high school years, let me encourage you—you can do it, with his help. Though we've had the typical ups and downs of homeschooling life, I can now look back on the results of my daily efforts, and have confidence that he's prepared them for whatever the future holds.

—Jeanne Domenech


Definitely Prepared

My parents decided to homeschool me because I had speech problems, and they didn't want to expose me to the teasing of school children. They taught me from kindergarten through 12th grade. I loved my "school" experience, and I don't believe I ever wanted to attend a traditional school, public or private. It gave me the unique opportunity to truly grow up with my three siblings. And I was involved in many activities, including 4-H, AWANA Bible club, and volunteering at a local hospital. Today, as a 2002 graduate of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, having earned a business administration degree with concentrations in accounting and information systems, I already have a job as a full-time accountant. Looking back on my schooling experience, I was definitely prepared for college—emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

—Carrie Ireland


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The Big Questions


The BIG Questions
Is it legal?


Michael Farris HSLDA Chairman & General Counsel

“Because the United States Constitution is the highest law of the land, homeschooling has always been legal in all 50 states,” says Michael Farris. “It has been a bit of a fight to get the various members of the education and social services establishment to accept that fact, but great progress has been made. Currently about three-fourths of the states have specific laws authorizing and regulating homeschooling. In the balance of the states, homeschoolers may legally operate as a small private school or provide ‘equivalent instruction.’ The details vary considerably from state to state and opinions about the law vary from district to district. What does not vary is HSLDA’s commitment to the constitutional right to teach one’s children at home.” For a summary of your state’s homeschool law or regulation, go to www.hslda.org/laws.

I don’t have a teaching degree. Can I really teach my child?




Yes, research and practical experience show that it is dedication and hard work, not special training, that produce outstanding educational results in a homeschool setting. (See Figure 1 to the right.)

HOW DO I DO IT?
Where do I find curriculum and materials?

There’s an ever-increasing variety of curriculum—from traditional textbooks to homeschool-specific curriculum and correspondence courses. Thankfully, experienced homeschool moms have put together review guides, saving newcomers time and frustration. Just two such guides are Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling and Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Start by contacting homeschooling veterans in your local and/or state support group—ask what they have tried, what has or has not worked for them, and why. You need to get to know your child’s learning style. (See Useful Tips.) Attend a couple of homeschool seminars and curriculum fairs where you can look at your options firsthand. To find a support group or state homeschool convention near you, visit HSLDA's website.

How much time does it take?

A lot less than you think. Homeschooled students don't have to take time to change classes or travel to and from a school, so they can proceed at their own pace. In elementary years especially, parents and children often find that they may only need a few hours to accomplish their work for the day.

“Many homeschooled teens supplement their education with community college classes, taking over the direction of their education much earlier than other kids their age.”

Fox News,“First Wave of
Homeschoolers Comes of Age,”
April 5, 2002


What if I have several children in different grade levels?

You'll be surprised at the subjects that can span grade levels. Certain curricula lend themselves to multilevel teaching. You can design your program so that older children work independently in the morning while you work individually with younger children, and then while younger children take naps in the afternoon, you can have one-on-one time with older students.

What about my child's special needs?

Thousands of families are homeschooling children whose special needs range from Attention Deficit Disorder to severe multiple handicaps. Parents often find that when they bring these children home to be educated, they come out of the “deep freeze” that has kept them from making significant progress. Gone are the comparisons, labels, social pressures, and distractions that a regular classroom may bring. Parents can offer their children individualized education, flexibility, encouragement, and support, which may be ideal for children who are learning-disabled, medically sensitive, or attention-deficit. HSLDA offers resources and help at www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner.
ARE YOU SURE I WON’T RUIN MY KIDS?
What about socialization & special interests/enrichment activities?




Research has found that most homeschooled students are involved in a wide variety of outside activities, interact with a broad spectrum of people, and make positive contributions to their communities. Experience has shown that homeschoolers are well socialized and able to make lasting friendships across age and cultural divides. (See Figure 2 at right.)


Homeschoolers “are the epitome of Brown students,” says Dean Joyce Reed. “They are self-directed, they take risks, and they don’t back off.”
Brown Alumni Magazine,
“Homeschooling Comes of Age,” January/Feburary 2002.
"We've got a whole lot of falsehoods associated with schooling," says J. Gary Knowles, a University of Toronto researcher. . . . "We have . . . weird rites of passage that are . . . quite dysfunctional."

Knowles has found homeschoolers to be more self-reliant and focused. "They're able to move into adulthood with a much better sense of self and have a very good sense as to what they want to do," he said. . . . "Where did we ever get the idea that 2,000 13-year-olds were the ideal people with which to socialize other 13-year-olds?" . . .

Fox News,“First Wave of
Homeschoolers Comes of Age,”
April 5, 2002

What about the high school years?

Homeschooling your child through high school offers great benefits for parents and students. Sure, there will be challenges such as more difficult subject matter. On the other hand, your high schooler requires less supervision and can take increasing charge of his own education. You can do it, and HSLDA wants to help you! Check out the great resources at www.hslda.org/highschool. HSLDA’s two high school coordinators—moms who’ve graduated their own children from high school at home—bring a wealth of experience and friendly advice to share with member families who are navigating these challenging, yet exciting years.

What about a diploma, graduation, & college?

Homeschool graduates closely parallel their public school counterparts—about two-thirds go on to post-secondary education, and one-third directly into the job market. (Brian Ray, Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America, NHERI, 1997.)

Homeschool students who have utilized community colleges for foreign language, lab science, or higher mathematics courses discover as an added bonus that these course credits make it easier to enroll in four-year colleges after high school graduation. (See "Making a transcript" under Useful Tips.)


* Formerly The Big Book of Home Learning, vol. 1-3

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P.O. Box 3000 · Purcellville, VA 20134-9000 · Phone: (540) 338-5600 · Fax: (540) 338-2733 · E-mail: info@hslda.org