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Successful Homeschooling: A Guide for Parents

By Liz Ackerman

Whether you are a new homeschooler trying to move from overwhelmed to organized, or a veteran who would like some fresh ideas, this series of articles will have something for you. Check here for ideas on scheduling, creating portfolios, and many other topics.

Legal Considerations

Organization is important to successful homeschooling While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, each state has the right to make its own homeschooling laws. It is important that you check to see what laws apply in your particular location.

Don't go to your local school district, as they are not always fully informed. Ask homeschooling friends, visit state homeschooling websites, and make sure that you understand the regulations that you need to follow. Look beyond the term "homeschooling".

For instance, in our home state of Colorado, it is legal for a family to declare themselves a private school and thus not have to take the regular standardized achievement tests and jump through other hoops required of those legally defined as "homeschoolers".

These articles will give you helpful information about both state and federal requirements.

Decide Why You Are Homeschooling

Stephen R. Covey, in his bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote of how important it is to "begin with the end in mind." If you don't know where you want to go on your homeschooling journey or why you want to go there, it will be difficult to organize since you won't know what tools you are going to need.

Take time to consider these ideas and discuss them with your family. Strive for unity since force never facilitates real learning. Remember, you have left compulsory education behind. Take advantage of your opportunity to exercise individuality instead of conformity.

Looking through these articles will give you some ideas of different philosophies of home education. Don't be afraid to come up with a personalized philosophy that fits your family. What have been the results of standardized education? Surely, you and your family can do at least as well and probably better.

How to Set Up a Schedule

Schedules are meant to be tools not slavedrivers. Remember that someone else's idea of how to schedule a homeschooling day may not work out for you in your particular circumstances. Use the information contained in these articles as idea starters rather than rigid things you absolutely must do. Also, keep in mind that what worked one year might not work the next, especially if you have a new baby, move, or have any other kind of family upset or emergency.

Scheduling and Recordkeeping Tools and Tips

Now that you have a basic outline of a family schedule, you will be glad to know that there are many scheduling and recordkeeping tools available. Try different ones and see which work best for you and your children. This may take some experimentation, but just keep trying. In general, the simpler the system, the better.

Homeschooling is not about creating more work for yourself or your children. Don't forget that great tool called delegation of responsibilities. Nowhere is it written that the Mom must do it all, or do it all, all at once. Allow yourself time to figure things out and to change your tactics as your family grows and changes.

Portfolios, Diplomas, Transcripts, Progress Reports and more

This section covers many different aspects of the home education journey. You can create and issue report cards for his progress. Perhaps you have a child that is about to graduate from your homeschool. You may wish to create a high school diploma for your child. You may be wondering how to make a transcript detailing your child's studies and accomplishments.

Alternatively, you may want to create a portfolio of your child's work. The use of portfolios instead of just transcripts and grades is becoming more prevalent. Even colleges are begiinning to look upon a well-prepared portfolio with respect. during the admissions process. Look for ways to keep track of and evaluate your student's progress in these articles.