Choosing to homeschool your children is a gift of time, talent, and future possibilities. The National Center for Education Statistics states that there are more than 1.5 million homeschooled students in the United States (NCES, Issue Brief, December 2008).There may also be a million reasons that families have chosen to homeschool their children. The decision to homeschool is an important one that requires lots of thought and planning. Fortunately, a number of resources are available to make it easier for you. Calvert Education has been working with homeschooling families for over a century and, in that time, we have gathered important information about the decsion process that families go through.
Throughout our history, we have learned that homeschooling requires a family commitment to be successful. Below are some questions that families typically consider before starting to homeschool.
What are your reasons for homeschooling?
- To improve your child’s academic performance
- To influence your child’s life and education
- To develop a richer relationship with your child
- To ensure your child’s special needs are being met
- Other reasons (or maybe all of the above)
If your child has special needs, how will those needs be met?
- If he or she is currently receiving special services, will the state allow them to continue if you homeschool?
- Will the adaptations you need to make to his or her home instruction still enable you to master the Calvert curriculum?
- Will you be able to receive necessary services through the public schools, or will you need to find them elsewhere? If so, where can you find them?
- Are you able to dedicate the time required to provide a thorough education for your child at home?
Have you discussed with your family a plan for how to handle household tasks and other responsibilities while you homeschool your child?
Have you reviewed state laws and local requirements (if any) for you to homeschool?
Support is important to successful homeschooling.
Have you identified possible areas to obtain support and advice? Do you have friends who homeschool?
Are there local or Internet support groups to join?
Have you considered calling Calvert's Education Counselors?
Which grade level is best for my child?
Using Calvert's placement assessment process ensures proper placement in our academically challenging program, which is crucial to the success of your child...and you! Calvert provides a free evaluation for older students to let you know where your child would be most successful in our program.
For students who may be ready for Pre-Kindergarten through Third Grade, we recommend our Primary Assessment, which allows parents to self-test the child’s readiness for each grade level. All of these tests are available by mail or for download from the Placement Testing section of the Calvert website.
Where can I find local and state homeschooling requirements?
While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, many jurisdictions require families to notify the school system in writing before starting to homeschool. Some school systems have deadlines for making that decision. It is best to find out what rules apply for withdrawing from a school.
Calvert's State Resources pages provide links and regulatory information for every state.
Other homeschoolers, support groups, librarians who deal with homeschoolers frequently, and school officials can sometimes offer additional information that can assist you in preparing to depart from a public school. These requirements may include submitting to occasional portfolio reviews, holding regular meetings with teachers, and/or participating in standardized testing.
Knowing what legal requirements you might face before you start can significantly improve your chances of success with homeschooling.
Connect with Other Homeschoolers
Once your enroll in a homeschooling program, you may seek out other homeschooling families. Although not essential to every family, many families find that having a support network of other parents participating in homeschooling can assist with the hurdles that homeschoolers occasionally face.
As homeschooling has grown in popularity, the number of support groups in local communities has skyrocketed. These support groups can provide additional resources, play days, workshops, social events for parents, or a wide variety of other activities. Lists of local groups are often available from libraries or other homeschoolers.
Another avenue for information about support groups and virtual support groups is the Internet. Thousands of homeschooling parents and children are participating in e-mail-based support groups, where members post messages that are sent by e-mail to members of the group as they occur or daily.
Calvert Education is eager to see your homeschooling experience be successful. We have Education Counselors, teachers who are experts in the Calvert program, available by phone, fax, or e-mail to families who are enrolled in Calvert or considering enrolling. They can assist with everything from solving a math problem to modifying lessons to help a reluctant reader.
You can reach our Education Counselors:
• By telephone at 888-487-4652 or 410-785-3400
• By fax at 410-785-3418
Finally—It Is Time to Homeschool!
Once all the considerations above are addressed, it is time to homeschool your child. We hear all the time from our families about the unique and amazing experiences they share as a family while they learn and grow together.
We welcome you to the growing Calvert Education family and wish you much success with your homeschooling journey!