1) Find Out Your State's Regulations -- The first hurdle when choosing to homeschool your child is learning the legal requirements where you live. Education laws governing homeschooling vary widely from state to state. For the most part, no matter what your home state is, the bureaucratic details are manageable once you have the proper resources and know what you are doing. For New York State regulations, click here.
2) Consider Designing Your Own Curriculum -- You have many options when it comes to curricula. The beauty of homeschooling is choice! Many families decide to homeschool with Partners with Parents so that they can create their own curriculum, tailoring a homeschooling program unique to their child's interests and aptitudes. Other parents choose a predesigned curriculum that sets a detailed structure for their child's school year. There are a number of excellent "off the shelf" curricula available for purchase. Just do your research before buying! A few homeschooling families who work with us choose a middle ground; they use an established curriculum as a framework, and we help them build in customization to suit their circumstances. For our short-term homeschoolers who are out due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, homeschool teachers coordinate with the schools and execute their curricula so that students don't fall behind.
3) Don't Forget Socialization -- It is undeniable that an important part of school is socialization. Children must have contact with their peers as they develop intellectually and emotionally. They must learn how to share, trust, work together, settle differences, develop relationships . . . in essence, become functional members of society. When homeschooling in and around NYC, there are myriad opportunities for such interaction to take place. Here, a critical mass of people means that group classes in any subject, both academic and recreational, are likely to be available any day of the week. Afterschool activities, with further opportunities for interaction, abound. The only way your children won't get socialized is if you conduct all lessons in your home and don't let them out at the end of the school day!
4) Consider Using the World As Your Classroom -- Take advantage of the educational opportunities where you live. Anywhere can be a classroom and anything can be a learning experience. If you live in NYC, there are literally millions of opportunities to learn. Spend some time researching what museums, cultural centers, galleries, parks, etc. are available near you. Don't be afraid to take a lot of class trips! There is no doubt that you can find scholarly pursuits that tie in to your child's curriculum and interests all around you. Be creative!
5) Join NYCHEA -- The New York City Homeschooling Educators Alliance, better known as NYCHEA, is the largest homeschooling group in New York, with over 300 families. It is an active member-run, volunteer-based, non-profit organization for homeschooling families in NYC. NYCHEA offers support, information, and connection opportunities for homeschool families, with hundreds of events and activities annually.
If any part of this process seems daunting, Sharon, our homeschool coordinator, can help you sort it out. Call us at (212) 928-5014 or e-mail us.