I want to homeschool! Where do I start?

I want to homeschool! Where do I start?

Hi! Welcome!

You’ve got this!

Honestly, you CAN homeschool. And we’re here to help you get started.
This website offers support and homeschoolers who are in Whatcom County, Washington, so the law and the resources listed here specific to this area. If you’re homeschooling somewhere else, much of this will still apply, but you’ll have to look up laws specific to your area.

First: Make sure the legal stuff is taken care of.  It’s fairly easy to homeschool here. What you need to know is that it is legal to homeschool in Washington, and it’s legal to pull your child out of school at any time, for any reason, no questions asked. If your child is under eight years old, homeschooling laws don’t apply (make sure you read the legal stuff if you’ve already had your child in school.) But if you have a child under eight, you don’t need to do anything. Just enjoy them. Once your child turns eight, you need to tell the school you’re homeschooling, you need to do some kind of testing once a year, and you have to make sure you “qualify” to homeschool. All of the details are HEREThat’s pretty much it.

Second: Get started! What does homeschooling mean? How do you do it? What does it look like?
Totally depends on you, to be honest. In popular imagination, homeschooling means desks in a dining room, lined up in rows, with a parent standing at the front reading to kids. I’ve homeschooled for 17 years, and I’ve never met a family like that, but maybe they exist. For some families, homeschooling is books and art around the dining room table, with a few science experiments mixed in. For others, homeschool looks like classes at a co-op, gymnastics, park day, a trip to the library or a field trip. Some families find it really important to keep up with public schools, and others think the entire point of homeschooling is to avoid anything that even resembles public school. When you’re first getting started, you have all the time you need to figure what’s important to you, what your priorities are, and how you want your days to go.

Third: Meet people! The easiest way to get started is to come to park day. Every Wednesday, year round, rain or shine, homeschoolers get together to play and gather at a local park. The park changes from week to week, but it’s one of the best ways to get to ask questions, make friends for your kids (and for you!), and to make some plans.

Fourth: Figure out what your goals are. Are you homeschooling because your kids are gifted and were unhappy in public school? Because they have anxiety and needed something the public schools couldn’t offer? Bullying? Or because you believe you can simply give them a better education at home? The answers to these questions are crucial to how you get started homeschooling, and to figure out a path, but that just gets you going.
You also need to have a goal in mind. Are you going to homeschool through high school? Just for a year while your kids get through middle school? What do your kids want? Are they going to college, or to trade school? What are their hopes and goals? All of this is important as you’re figuring out what you need and what your plans are.

Here are some links to get you started:

Advice for newbies

Ten tips for beginners

Deschooling

Don’t recreate school at home!

More tips for beginners!

Some different styles of homeschooling

Curriculum and information resources

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