Getting Started Homeschooling
Whether you have recently decided to homeschool or are still on the fence, I have put together a post to help you navigate getting started homeschooling. In the past few months with everything going on with COVID-19 and our Governor recently announcing that schools will not be able to meet in person in the Fall, many parents are now being forced into homeschooling. Trust me, I know that this can seem like a daunting process.
Diving into the idea of homeschooling can be super overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from and so many decision to make. While the beauty of homeschooling is creating a program specifically designed for your children and family, this can also make it super overwhelming in the beginning.
There are so many decisions to make. Do you homeschool on your own or through a charter? What method of homeschooling is best for your kids and family? What curriculum do you choose?
Filing a PSA or Homeschooling through a Charter
Once you make the decision to homeschool, you meed to decide if you will homeschool independently or through a charter school. If you homeschool independently in California you will need to file a PSA. PSA stands for Private School Affidavit. You can find more details about the process for filing a PSA here. If you are in another state be sure to look into legal requirements for homeschooling as they vary state to state. The benefit of homeschooling independently is that you don’t have to report to anyone and you often don’t have to take standardized testing that some charters require.
We homeschool through a charter. There are many homeschool charter schools in Southern California to choose from. Some are 100% at home and others offer a few days of on campus instruction and the other days at home. The benefits of homeschool charters are onsite class instruction, homeschool support, and receiving educational funding to use towards curriculum, enrichment activities/programs, homeschool supplies, etc.
I plan to do a separate post on homeschool charter options in San Diego at a later date. Unfortunately, with the recent passing of Assembly Bill 77 (AB77) and Senate Bill 98 (SB98) charters have had their budget froze and will not receive funding for anyone who enrolled after February 28, 2020. Therefore, sadly most charters are not able to accept new students at this time.
Methods of Homeschooling
I remember when we first began our homeschooling journey, and I finally nailed down a homeschool charter that I felt was a perfect fit for our family, I felt relief. I then realized we needed to decide which method of homeschooling to choose and I once again felt completely overwhelmed. I naively didn’t even realize there were so many different homeschool methods. While there are subjects that you need to teach, the way you teach them is totally up to you. While that is one of the many blessings of homeschooling and creating an individualized learning experience, it also is one more decision you need to make. There’s classical, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, unit studies, traditional, eclectic, etc. Here is a great post briefly describing the 5 main homeschooling methods.
You are never locked into the style you choose. You can always change your method later or do a mix of a few different methods. Ultimately we chose a Charlotte Mason approach with a little bit of classical and unit studies. My husband and I found it really helpful to take this quiz to see which method would be the best fit for our family and child’s learning style.
Choosing a Curriculum
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can choose curriculum that fits each of your childs’ needs and you are free to supplement or change it up as needed based on your child’s learning style. It’s important to note if you homeschool through a charter you are not able to use funds towards any curriculum that is religious based. Once you have a good idea of what homeschooling style best suites your family, you can begin choosing curriculum. However, you don’t need to follow a curriculum. Some parents prefer to create their own lesson plans or to not have a lesson plan at all. It is totally up to you.
I know for myself that I absolutely need a curriculum to follow. While being a homeschool mom and also running a photography business, my plate is super full. I personally need something that is laid out for me and takes minimal prep time. Once you know your homeschooling style, you can google curriculums or lesson plans that follow those methods. Our main curriculum is called My Father’s World and is Christian based. It is a combination of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, classical education, and unit studies. We supplement with several others also. We use The Good and the Beautiful curriculum for Math and Science and All Around the World with picture books for world cultures/social studies.