Start homeschooling: State Laws and Essential Subjects
Welcome to the engaging and rewarding world of homeschooling.
You’re one of the brave and lucky ones. You've decided to not only take the leap of courage and school your kids outside of the social norm of school and also, you've signed up to the beautiful bonus of spending more time with your kids (that's my favourite part). Sure, there's a few things to know before getting started, but homeschooling has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
It's been such a joy and a happiness for me - and for my kids. Worth every second and it's made my girls into the accomplished adults they are today.
Start homeschooling with a good maths curriculum
Maths is essential. There’s no doubt about it - plus, all the homeschooling regulations require maths to be taught at home (some states have more rigorous reporting procedures about subjects, so it's worth looking into what topics and areas your kids need to cover each year).
There’s a big difference from just “getting through” maths and teaching maths through your homeschooling curriculum to mastery. I went through many homeschool maths curriculums until I found Math-U-See - many curriculums that just sent through the abstract ideas of numbers and didn't teach the full understanding of each concept.
My desire was to ultimately provide my kids with the best resources so they could reach beyond the textbook and utilise their maths knowledge in everyday situations. And, I found something that works. Not only for me, but for thousands of other homeschooling families too.
I mean, imagine you were never taught maths at school. Imagine growing up and not knowing what numbers were or how to use them. Imagine not being able to count out your change, budget your weekly expenses or run your own business because you weren’t taught maths effectively. You would be devastated!
With the current situation of maths being taught in schools, Australian average results are dropping drastically. The use of textbooks and the rise of online maths work takes away the most important part of maths - the hands-on aspect of numbers.
Using hands-on manipulatives and teaching methods, true maths mastery can be successfully taught. Maths mastery shows students the patterns in maths, why they are learning and how they can apply maths in their everyday lives. These skills are fundamental. When kids have a strong grasp of maths, it provides ongoing opportunities and not only enhance confidence in using maths on a day-to-day level, but also increases confidence in all areas of life.* This is important not only for keeping up school grades but also for future jobs, career and life choices.
I believe every child deserves (and has a right to!) the opportunity to be taught maths in the best and most supportive way, whether it be for general instruction, intervention, learning differences or support for gifted children that need specific instruction at their own pace.
*Research proves that kids gaining confidence in maths dramatically affects their confidence across all subjects and aspects of life.
How do I know where to start with my child's maths?
First of all, its important to identify how much your child knows (and the gaps that need to be filled in). The Online Placement Tests is easy to use and takes your child through multiple questions, determining their maths understanding. Results are automatically calculated and you'll be directed to the best place to start for your child.
Once you know where your child is at, you can start building from there. Most kids have gaps in their understanding which, right now, don’t make much difference, but as they progress into learning more complicated maths problems, they struggle endlessly! It's the same as building a house; if the foundations are weak, you’ll have a house that falls over when the first storm hits.
You can take the free Online Placement Test here.
Choose a strong English program for your kids
Having a strong English program will support your child to learn literacy skills they can use throughout their life. According to the Australia Curriculum, students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society. Literacy involves students listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.
Literacy encompasses the knowledge and skills students need to access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school. Success in any learning area depends on being able to use the significant, identifiable that is representative of the content of that learning area.
Therefore, it's important to choose the right English and literacy program for your child. You want to impart strong, solid knowledge of the language, skills and literacy understanding that we use in our everyday world.
What about other homeschooling subjects?
There are so many programs and curriculums out there on the market that sometimes it's a bit overwhelming! You have the responsibility to choose your child's education and what the best fit is for them, and sometimes it's a bit daunting.
We've put together a list to share some of our favourite materials, programs that have been tried and tested to work. We know from experience that it can be hard to know what to choose and where to start. So these recommendations are here to support and hopefully inspire you whether you're new to this, or you're needing a clean slate and a fresh start!
You can check out the Best Homeschool Curriculums on the Market here.
What if I need extra support to start homeschooling?
Sometimes you need a little extra support to start homeschooling and make the leap into the home educating journey. The best thing to encourage you to have the first step is talk to someone who has homeschooled before. Ask them what has worked for them, and what didn't work.
Learning from the mistakes of others without having to make them yourself is much easier! It's also good if you can include your kids in the discussion. Ask them what they find interesting or exciting, and then use that to decide on what you do. If your kids have a vote in the decision making process, they will be much more engaged in the process. Check out the homeschooling styles and methods and see which one aligns with your ideals and how you want to teach your kids.
Here's our favourite 100 Maths Activities for Homeschoolers that you can start doing right away with your kids, even before you've signed up and registered yourself. Remember, learning happens everywhere and is accessible at any time.
Homeschooling State Laws and Registration Requirements
Before you start homeschooling, you will need to educate yourself on the state laws and regulations. To find out the official information, just choose your state from the list below. If you've already decided to go ahead with homeschooling and need to register, you can also find that info by following the links below.
Hope that helps - happy homeschooling!