Friday, July 1, 2016

I want to Homeschool in Indiana... Where do I start?

How To Start Homeschooling in Indiana.
Many are surprised by how much homeschooling law varies from state to state.  I live in Indiana, and we are blessed to have homeschool friendly laws, BUT that doesn't mean every district/principal/superintendent is homeschool friendly.  Indiana's Department of Education (DOE) Website is also quite misleading, so  I highly recommend seeking information from Homeschool Legal Defense Associatin (HSLDA)  and  Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) 

Indiana Homeschool Laws

Basic Info: Indiana Homeschools are considered non-accredited, nonpublic schools. You must have 180 days in your homeschool year.  Indiana has no stipulations on what a "day" looks like in your house, or how many hours it is; which means Indiana can not mandate your curriculum choices, pace, or yearly schedule.  Your child does not need to participate in any testing. 

Are you transferring your child from public school to homeschool?

  • Written letter of intent to transfer- Sample transfer letters for principal
  • Indiana Homeschools are considered non-accredited, nonpublic schools, which is why (IAHE) recommends using the term "transfer" instead of "withdraw" when informing school.
  • You can take your child out of public school ANYTIME of the year, no need to wait for semester breaks, after testing, or end of school year
  • Become a member of HSLDA if your district gives you any problem. 
Are you homeschooling from the beginning? 
  • You DO NOT need to register with the state (even though the DOE's website strongly implies this).  Parents may choose to register, but this is your family's decision.  We personally have never registered our children with the DOE in 5 years of homeschooling.
  • If you do choose to register with the state, the Age of Compulsory attendance is not until 7 years old. 
Homeschooling Styles- What's the Flavor of your house?
Many moms make the mistake of looking for curriculum before first spending a little time researching homeschool styles. Not many curriculums are purely one style, but knowing your personal bent can take hours off your curriculum search. See this post for  5 Main Home-school Styles.
  1. Traditional
  2. Classical
  3. Unschooling
  4. Unit Studies
  5. Charlotte Mason 
  6. Eclectic- A mixture of a few or several of the above  

Homeschool Curriculum

We are in a golden age off curriculum choices, but that can also be extremely overwhelming. Seek help from friends and great reviews for Secular and Christian curriculum from Cathy Duffy Reviews. While there several options of styles (see above),most curriclum fits into a few different types  based on your family needs.

Boxed- Open and Go
Boxed curriculum come with a teacher's Manual, and all the books you need for teaching your child.  No hours of planning or seeking out books, just open the manual and teach each day from the books provided in your box. You can go at your own pace, but the template of the teacher's manual is extremely helpful. I am heading into my 5th year, and still love my "open and go" curriculum, My Father's World. Also See this post for my 4 "Open and Go" Home-school Curriculum.

Eclectic -Make your Own

Many moms piece together their curriculum from different publishers, and use a homeschool planner to plan their day. The increase in homeschooling families equals more resources available, meaning you can pick the curriclum that best meets the needs your family and child. 

K-12 Online Public School
K-12 is a free online schooling option. Please note this is not technically homeschool, it is public school at home, meaning you have no authority over your content , pace at which you cover the materials, or school schedule.   This is a good option for the mom who wants their child to stay lock-step with the public schools. This could be for someone who knows for sure homeschool is just a season, and their child will be going back into public school eventually.

Find Homeschool Friends (for you and your kids)

Find a Local Homeschool Group on Facebook 
This step will help you with all the rest.  I can point you in the first direction, but your local homeschooling can give you info on local field trips, play-dates, curriculum choices, dealing with unsupportive in-laws, and finding resources in your area.

Attend Home-school Classes and Activities 

Check your local YMCA, Library, and/or local Parks and Recreation for Homeschool-geared activities.  The homeschool community has grown in the past 20 years, which includes communities who have begun to offer resources and activities during the  school weekday.

Homeschool Cooperatives (Co-op)

A Co-Op is just short for Cooperative.  Not all home schools enjoy co-ops, they are just another resource if you choose to use them.  It is only a true cooperative if the parents all have a job, helping teach or assist in some way. Co-Op are all different, because they are what the Moms make of them.  Some meet weekly, some monthly, some just for field trips.  A Co-op can be big with dozens of families, or just you and one other family. See more on my post- What is a Homeschool Co-Op?






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