The prospect of homeschooling your children can quickly overwhelm you as you realize that there is so much that you need to learn yourself before you can begin to teach your children. However, as with any other large and complex endeavor, if you break it down into its component parts it becomes a much easier problem to solve.
Every parent will have his or own set of skills and experience, so that defining a starting point becomes difficult. However, the real secret lies in doing some basic research and then matching what you find to your own skills and experience to produce a homeschooling action plan.
Before you do anything else however it is a good idea to know the rules of the game and that means acquainting yourself with the law. Homeschooling is legal throughout the United States but is not governed by federal law but by a set of state regulations, which vary considerably from one state to the next. In many cases there are relatively few restrictions, while in others the state chooses to make life much more difficult, but certainly not impossible, for the homeschooling parent.
A good place to start your search for information is through the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) which not only provides an excellent source of information but also actively pursues cases on behalf of parents when they fall into conflict with individual state boards of education.
The next port of call should be one or more of your local support groups. Homeschooling has been practiced throughout the United States for more than forty years now and in this time hundreds of support groups have sprung up covering every state. What for you may seem a daunting prospect is now a part of daily life for millions of others and you will find that they are only too happy to provide you with both advice and often practical help.
There are also many books available covering every aspect of homeschooling and an excellent starting point are the books of John Holt from which you can learn a great deal about the philosophy behind homeschooling. John Holt wrote extensively on the subject from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1980s and one title, ‘Teach Your Own’, which was updated by Patrick Farenga in 2003, is still very widely read even 20 years after John Holt’s death.
In addition to the many books available there are also a number of excellent magazines published, most coming out bi-monthly, and these provide a very good way to gauge current thoughts and ideas and to keep up with what is going on in the world of homeschooling today.
Finally, there is of course the Internet, which not only provides you with an excellent research tool when looking for information about just about any aspect of homeschooling, but will also be one of your most valuable tools when it comes to tracking down teaching materials later on.
Some initial background research and reading will soon point you to the areas that need your attention and will help you with a whole range of different aspects of homeschool planning from the legal requirements of your state, through designing a curriculum to sourcing teaching materials.