Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Begin Homeschooling, Part One, Laws

Quick Start to Homeschooling

It's recently come to my attention that A LOT of people out there are interested in how you start homeschooling. Some of them do not even want to homeschool, they are just interested in how you start.

First, I believe it's important to let everyone know that it IS legal to homeschool. Each state has their own rules and regulations regarding how you go about homeschooling, but no where in the United States of America is it illegal for you to teach your children at home. 

** I am NOT a lawyer and do not pretend to be one, I am just a homeschooler that knows a few steps you need to follow so that you won't get into trouble on accident.**

Once you've decided to homeschool your children you need to find out what the rules and laws are for your state. You can do this by googling "state name home school laws" or you can go to and find your state. This site has wonderful information not only just on what you need to do legally but some lesson ideas. If you do go to the site I listed, please know that they may not have the most up to date information available and it may be in your best interest to google your state laws anyway. Also, a good place to start out is by going to HSLDA ( there is a ton of good information there and they are up to date about things. Also, for a small yearly fee, you can become a member and should a problem crop up they'll help you. You do NOT need to become a member to look at information on their site.

Let's use Michigan as an example (we're currently in Michigan).  In Michigan I am not required to let anyone know that I am going to homeschool my children, although it is considered a nice thing to do. If my children were in a public, private, or charter school I would need to go to the school and withdrawal them while informing them that I intend to homeschool the children, which I could do either verbally or with a letter of intent. There is no set form for a letter of intent, it's simply a type-written formal letter that states that you intend to homeschool your children from a certain date on. (The site I listed above does state that there is a letter that must be sent in annually but when I looked up our state laws there is not.) Some states, Kentucky is one of them, require a yearly letter of intent to be sent to the county or local school board. That information will be listed on your state's board of education page.

Michigan has few other requirements. Until high school you only have to worry about teaching English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Reading, and do a unit on Michigan History. You do not have to participate in the state standardized tests nor do you need to keep attendance or grades. There is also no set number of days that your child need attend school. Other states, Kentucky included, require a certain amount of days or hours per day or a combination of both. Some require that you keep a grade and/or record book, or a transcript. There are some that require teaching degrees unless you intend to claim religious right. Just as each state is unique in it's geography and history, they are also unique in their laws and regulations.

I will note here that although we live in Michigan currently we are also residents of Kentucky. As such I follow both Kentucky and Michigan regulations. I send in my letter of intent to my Kentucky county representative at the school board office and follow all of their other regulations. I make sure that my children do a unit on Michigan each year. We spend a good portion of our year in both states and to make sure neither gets upset with us I follow both states rules.

Let's hop to it!!!
So, you've decided to homeschool. You've looked up your local laws. You've decided you're still going to homeschool. What's next? 

There's a million plus ways to answer that question. If you're a religious family do you add in a structured religious lesson? Do you just add a morning prayer before lessons? What curriculum do you chose? Do you need to pay attention to your children's learning styles? What is a learning style? What in the world did you get yourself into?!?!?!

Breath. There is so much information out there you're going to overload. YOU know your children and your home best. YOU know if your children would respond to a formal religious lesson plan, or would do better with a prayer, or forgo the religion and school mix all together. You could look into a bunch of books about homeschooling and learning styles, there's a lot of good ones out there, honestly you'll figure it all out with or without them. As for curriculum the chances are in favor of you going through at least a couple before you find what works for you. 

I could talk about this forever but it would make for a really long read. So, we'll call this part one. Part two will be about choosing a curriculum that's right for your family and I'll try to have that to you Friday.

**Upcoming posts: How to Begin Homeschooling Part 2, Curriculum. Our Homeschool Experience, and A Day in the Life

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