If you’re new to homeschooling, you probably have a lot of questions. That’s normal. Once the initial excitement of the decision wears off, it can be difficult to know where or how to begin.
So, what will you need to do to get started? Here is a step-by-step list to help take the first steps of your homeschooling journey.
Know the Minnesota law, and file your paperwork.
By law, homeschooling in Minnesota is every parent’s right. And, you don’t have to hold a teacher certification or be a college graduate to do it. It is not terribly difficult to meet the requirements, but it is important to know and understand what the Minnesota statutes say about homeschooling.
We’ve created forms that will help you understand what your obligations are, and also help you comply with those obligations. We talk you through specifically what you need to know on our Minnesota Laws and Forms page.
Don’t panic — time is on your side!
When they first start out, many parents feel overwhelmed by the number of curriculum, class and activity options available. It’s easy to feel like you need to make choices quickly and come up with a plan right away so that your child doesn’t “fall behind.”
The truth is that you and your child working together at home can accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time than teacher and a classroom of 30 kids.Taking a little time to ease into your new endeavor can make the transition smoother and give you a chance to learn more about how your child learns best, which will ultimately lead to a more effective and productive use of your time together.
Do some reading.
A good place to start is to learn more about homeschooling from people who’ve written about their experiences. No two families homeschool in exactly the same way, so seeking out several points of view will help you understand what your options are and what resonates with your child’s learning style. Once you see what has worked for others, it will be easier for you to choose methods and materials that are a good fit for you and your family.
Your family’s homeschool experience is yours to shape, but learning from others’ experiences can help you decide how to structure — or creatively not structure — your children’s learning. Check out the Homeschool Books and Resources page for recommendations.
Connect with other homeschoolers.
Once you have a basic understanding of homeschooling and the laws that apply to it, you’ll want to gain access to another great asset for new homeschooling parents: the support of experienced homeschoolers. Here are a few great options:
- Sign up for the MHA Newsletter on the right sidebar. You’ll get the latest in news and information on MHA events, including the Convention, Science Fair, Used Book Sale, and Summer Picnic.
- Attend MHA Events — Whether still wet-behind-the-ears or a seasoned pro, you’ll have ample opportunities to learn more about homeschooling and meet other homeschoolers.
- Join the Yahoo Group for the Minnesota Homeschoolers’ Alliance— You’ll be connected with hundreds of homeschooling families who’ve “been there.”
- Join the Facebook Group for Minnesota Homeschoolers – This is a very active group with lots of conversation about curriculum, testing, scheduling, events, etc…
- Visit our Partner Website: Homeschool Adventures — Here you will find all the latest on homeschool field trips, co-ops, groups, testing options, classes, and tutors.
When your family is ready to start homeschooling, just send your reporting form or letter to your school district’s superintendent (you’ll learn how to do that on our Minnesota Law And Forms page). Reporting forms are due by October 1st of each school year or within 2 weeks of withdrawing your child from school.