Homeschooling 101 Handout
(to accompany presentation via Zoom August 10, 2020)
Presented by: The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers in Connecticut (TEACH-CT)
Email: gro.tchcaet@tchcaet “Join Our Email List” - home page
TEACH is a state-wide, all volunteer (made up of homeschooling parents), non-profit (501 C3 incorporated), Christian homeschool organization dedicated to furthering the interests home education since 1990.
Our “WHY” mission: Advocating for homeschool freedoms; equipping home educatiors.
Meet Us Here! https://www.teachct.org/about-us/
Membership: If you value the presence of a Christian homeschooling leadership organization in Connecticut, we would appreciate your partnership with us in the form of membership ($20/year), or a donation of any amount. For a list of membership benefits or to become a member, donate or volunteer please visit:
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) - https://hslda.org/ - membership recommended.
They will defend you all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary for the cost of your annual membership* but in addition to legal advice, also provide MANY other support services for free on their website, including help getting started, curriculum choices, teaching special needs and high school /transcripts.
HSLDA Academy Online courses - https://academy.hslda.org/courses/
TEACH membership (above) provides a $15 discount to HSLDA membership (*$115 vs $130) and $30 HSLDA courses.
Top 3 Questions People Ask About Homeschooling:
1) Is it Legal?
2) Am I qualified or how do I?
1) Is it Legal? Yes, in all 50 states, always has been! Public school has only been around for about the last 150 yrs in the US. However, states vary in their degree of oversight and regulation, both in statutory law and policy. Ex: CT has no explicit governance of homeschooling, NY and MA are much more restrictive.
All parents… shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state, and federal governments.
This first sentence [written in 1650 and essentially unchanged] is the basis of right to instruct our own children without state interference. Only if you are not instructing your child, or causing them to be instructed (by tutors or online classes, etc…) does the remainder of the statute - added in 1850’s - apply See CT Law page https://www.teachct.org/ct-law/overview/
a) Withdraw from school -If your child is/was enrolled in public school, officially withdraw them with a “Letter of Withdrawal” sent certified return receipt mail. Keep the receipt when returned. See CT Law page for sample/template. Withdrawing your child from school must be done not later than 10 days into the official start of school to avoid questions of truancy. (We do not recommend waiting until the last minute).
b) Guidelines If your child is 7 or older, you may decide whether you want to file a Notice of Intent. THIS IS OPTIONAL - NOT LAW. Visit “Evolution of NOI” https://www.teachct.org/ct-law/notice-of-intent/ for a discussion of the pro’s and cons.
c) Pandemic PODS, Micro-schools and other alternative educational options - see statement on TEACH website under CT Law. TEACH defines homeschooling as instruction that is primarily directed and facilitated by the parents and is free from government funding or control.
2) Am I qualified/How Do I? Yes, you have been your child’s teacher from the time they were born. God has given you a natural love and understanding of your child, and equipped you with everything you need to be their best teacher. There is also a plethora of support, resources and other people to guide you. All you need is the desire to give it a try, and a willingness to learn and grow together.
TEACH -“Getting Started” https://www.teachct.org/getting-started/overview/
HSLDA 7 Steps to a Great Start: https://hslda.org/teaching-my-kids/starting-strong
Deciding on Homeschool Method and Curriculum:
Two things to remember:
Almost any curriculum can be modified to work.
Whatever you pick will likely change if you stay with homeschooling.
Teaching Special Needs:
TEACH “Get Connected” - “Special Needs” https://www.teachct.org/get-connected/get-connected-in-ct/
SPED Homeschool - http://spedhomeschool.com/
HSLDA Teaching Special Needs https://hslda.org/post/6-tips-to-begin-homeschooling-your-special-needs-child and https://hslda.org/post/how-to-adapt-if-my-childs-not-on-grade-level
Planning to devote a special zoom session to exploring this topic with special needs providers - Date TBD
Special session August 31st on scheduling with Teri Maxwell of Managers of Their Homes https://titus2.com/products/managers-of-their-homes/
Mainly making decisions ahead of time - order of activities rather than specific times - move on to the next thing when time is up.
Think through how older children can help younger siblings, reinforce their own learning.
You are in charge of the time - when you school, when you are finished, when you take time off
Teaching Time Guidelines:
Your actual 1-on-1 instruction time need not exceed 2 hrs/child at any age, and several subjects can be group taught. Once they are reading on their own, they can also be completing assignments on own. By high school, working independently, taking ownership of their own educational path.
Rule of Thumb:
Up to 1 hr for < 7yrs Almost all learning for younger children should be in form of play/chores, reading good books, exploring nature and providing educational materials and further instruction as they show interest.
Up to 2 hrs - Age 7- 10 Gradually increasing, more work, some academics (< 3 hrs on own) plus play/hobbies.
**This age bracket, and transitioning into middle school will take the most of your 1-on-1 time**
Up to 2hrs - Age 11- 13 - Teach them how to plan daily assignments to get through the material, help as needed. Academics (3 hrs on own) and interest pursuits balanced 50:50
Transition to Facilitator Role in High school - You providing guidance on content, life direction, character/values development, teach “adulting” skills. They should plan on devoting up to 6 hrs on academics, or more if factoring in community college classes, etc. Allow time for internship, mentoring /job shadowing opportunities.
Zoom session 3rd week of August on homeschooling teens - watch for date!
3) Socialization/Get Connected
“Get Connected” https://www.teachct.org/get-connected/state-groups/
FB Page (public): TEACH Homeschool - https://www.facebook.com/teach.homeschool/
FB groups (private):
TEACH CT Homeschoolers - for those currently, or soon to begin, homeschooling in CT.
Considering Homeschooling in CT - for those still considering that option and gathering information.
TEACH CT Leaders - for those currently leading homeschool co-ops or support groups in CT.
Co-ops and activity groups are slowly starting to meet again with COVID guidelines.
Meeting with others is beneficial for children AND teaching parents, can learn about what works for other parents.
Tip: Finding 1 or 2 other families that you connect well with and can perhaps share activities and some responsibilities is usually more beneficial than lots of traveling and group activities. Remember the “HOME” in homeschooling - don’t pack your schedule too full.
You can do this - we are here to help! Encourage friends who have questions to join our FB communities or contact us.
This session is available on our You Tube channel - look for links on our website.