Hi everyone! I’m back today with another Homeschooling 101 post. Today we’re talking about switching from a public or charter school situation to homeschooling mid-year.
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is how to go about switching from public school to homeschool mid-year. It’s more common than you think to pull students out mid-year and begin the homeschooling journey. And there are several factors that can contribute to your need to switch your schooling choice. Whatever they are, just know that you’re doing the best for your child and it may or not be a challenging switch. But if it benefits your family, then it will be worth it in the long run.
As a homeschooler you have the flexibility to start at any time of the year. Most families choose to switch from public to homeschool at the semester break, but you can really make the change anytime you feel it is necessary for your family.
Here are a few tips for making the switch to help you get started, and hopefully make the transition much smoother for your entire family!
Know your state law
If you are considering removing your student from public or private school during the school year, you’ll want to check with your state laws regarding this process. In most states you will be required to send in a withdrawal form to your school district, and then submit either a Notice of Intent to homeschool, or enrollment in an umbrella or independent school that allows work to be done at home.
Discuss the withdrawal
Along with discussing the timing of the withdrawal with your spouse (if possible), you’ll also want to discuss it with your student so that the decision isn’t unexpected. Help pick a date that works best for your family and proceed from there.
Get records from the school
Make sure to get whatever records you need from your school. That may include transcripts, attendance records, as well as immunization reports and anything else they may have on file for your student.
Set up a daily schedule
You’ll want to create a basic schedule for your new homeschool day. Having a basic plan in writing will aid in the transition process. It will also help you stay on track and feel like you are getting necessary things accomplished. Even if you don’t stick to your schedule like glue, having something basic in writing will greatly aid in the organization of your school. You’ll also want to discuss your new homeschooling plan with your student so they know what will be expected of them when they make the transition from school to home.
Take a little time to research the local homeschooling groups and co-ops in your area. While it is not a requirement to participate in a homeschooling group, it can be very helpful when first starting out. Getting to know other homeschoolers helps you feel like you are not alone in this journey. They can also help you with questions, concerns, and general support and encouragement.
Allow time to adjust
You can expect a period of adjustment whenever bringing a child out of a school setting into your home. You might need to begin slowly to give your student time to get used to the new schedule. If your student was behind previously, you might also need to spend some time getting caught up on basic skills that slipped through the cracks in the school system. Don’t be afraid to go back a grade level, or at least to a skill that they missed and start over so you can be sure they understand before moving forward.
Keep it simple
Since you are starting mid-year, you probably have not had adequate time to plan an entire curriculum. I suggest keeping things manageable at first until everyone gets used to the change. Make sure to focus on core subjects. If your student had something that was working well for them in the school, consider using that curriculum for the rest of the year to make the transition a little smoother for them.
Sign up for extracurricular activities
If your student was participating in extracurricular activities sponsored by the school, you may want to take some time to research how to continue with these. Some school districts will allow homeschool students to continue to participate in a sport. Depending on the reason you are withdrawing from school, you may not want to continue with the school district you were previously associated with. In that case there are usually several other options for homeschoolers including local competitive and recreational leagues for most sports and extracurricular activities.
For more information on this and many other homeschooling questions check out my Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!