I have a passion for homeschooling. Anyone that is familiar with Alaska knows that there are two options for homeschooling here and my passion lies with private homeschooling. As a local homeschooling group leader and private homeschooling mom that has already graduated two children, along with all of the work I have done with Alaskans Against Common Core, I often get asked the question: I WANT TO HOMESCHOOL BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?
This is a very daunting question for anyone that is even remotely curious or interested in this growing world of home education. Whether you’re planning to start from the very beginning of your child’s education or you’re pulling your child from a public or private school, the task can seem very overwhelming. Just one internet search of the terms “Home Schooling” will inundate any screen with a long list of websites full of information — some of that information may be pertinent, others may not! How is a parent supposed to sift through all of it? Just the sheer amount of search results can make anyone feel as if they aren’t qualified without at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Internet Weeding (such degree does not exist).
My main goal for this series of posts is to take the sea of information available and break it down into bite-sized chunks that are applicable and easier to digest. Researching homeschooling should not leave you exhausted and burnt out! Similar to the local classes that we host, breaking it down step by step is much easier to handle and makes the entire concept and idea of home education far more understandable!
The very first step for any parent is to look into the state laws regarding home education. In Alaska, our law is tucked within the Compulsory Education statute. An education provided by a child’s parent or guardian, at home, exempts that child from compulsory attendance – this means that your child does not have to be enrolled or attend a public or private school. Parents that are interested in trying to homeschool preschool or kindergarten are in luck because the statute applies to children aged 7 through 16! There aren’t any other requirements or regulations that apply to a family that is educating their children at home: no teacher certifications, no required hours or days of instruction, no required subjects, no letter of intent to homeschool, no required testing . . . just teach your child!
I encourage anyone even thinking about homeschooling to look at the information available at HSLDA.org. Home School Legal Defense Association has been fighting for parents’ rights to homeschool for over twenty years and they have a wonderful staff that is more than willing to help answer your questions and even point you in the right direction – whether you are homeschooling an elementary child, middle school, high school, or even special needs. The folks at HSLDA can help with curriculum to connecting you with local support groups to putting together transcripts to any legal questions or concerns. If finances are an issue, the charitable arm of HSLDA is the Home School Foundation who offers many different types of grants.