Getting Started in Home Education

Home schooling is a movement that has grown tremendously in the past 15 years. From a few thousand home schooling families in the early eighties, there are now approaching two million families spread across the United States. The results of home schooling have been phenomenal: the first generation of home schoolers are graduating with good educations, going on to college, jobs, and marriages, becoming good citizens—it works! Even the states seem to be realizing this, as more and more bills are passed to legalize and protect home schooling.

Unfortunately, with the increased popularity, the vision that started home schooling off to such a wonderful start is being watered down and lost. As we speak to people, their emphasis is almost always to give their children a better education than they can get at a public school; it is rarely to bring their children up in the Christian faith. We need to regain that priority!

There are many curriculum options to choose from (we only have a small fraction of what is on the market), many of them making life simpler for both home school parents and students. This has obvious advantages: you can pick what most interests you, choose what works with your teaching styles and your students' learning abilities, etc. But it also has two not-so obvious disadvantages: First, you really have to research your options, to pick what will work best for you, not just pick whatever you see first or hear is most popular. Second, you must realize that although these books may make home schooling easier, they do not make it easy (although it might be easier than you think)! Home schooling, like most anything else, requires hard work, discipline and perseverance.

Legal Requirements

In Oregon it's very simple to get started! You need to tell your local Educational School District (ESD) that you are going to home school. Send them a letter giving the following information: parents' name, address, and phone number; the student's name and date of birth; and the name of your local school district. After that (at least currently; this may change), the only legal obligations you'll face are having your children take tests in 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th grade. You can certainly test during the other years if you wish, but you are no longer required to do so.

For further information, or for links to other states, please see our State Law page.

Establish your goals:

In preparing to choose curriculum, you should:

  • Examine the purpose and vision of your family.
    God's plan for your family is made evidentby your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your children. Consider these questions: What do you want to teach your children? What can you to teach them? What are your children's desires and aptitudes? Answers to these questions will develop over time, but it's important to set goals now.
  • Determine the needs of each of your children.
    Each of your children are different.Try to identify their unique gifts and help them develop those to the glory of God; also think about the skills or attitudes they struggle with andcome up withstrategies to help them improve.
  • Think of ways to make your home a learning environment.
    This might include creating a classroom specifically for school, or designating a corner just for reading. We would recommend building a library that you and your children can have access to at any time. If you lead by example and provide encouragement, many children will read and learn muchon their own.
  • Determine what kind of teacher you are.
    Do you need products that will basically do all the work for you? This certainly might be easiest, but is it best? Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Would you prefer curriculum that will give you a basic framework and allow you more flexibility and creativity?
  • Decide which teaching approach you wish to use.
    There are several approaches to choose from, including: using textbooks only in well-defined subjects; pulling subjects together in unit studies; or using the "classical" approach; among others.

We consider the few books listed below as some of the most valuable tools and items we offer to help you establish a home school vision and plan your curriculum. There are, however, many other choices.

Did you find this review helpful?
Parent Categories
Getting Started in Home Education
Getting Started in Home Education