Can You Start Homeschooling In The Middle Of The School Year?
Homeschooling isn’t a decision that comes easily for every family, and that decision doesn’t always come for the same reasons or at the same time. Some families decide to homeschool before their children are even old enough to start school, while others, including my family, make that decision later when their children are already enrolled in public or private school.
Perhaps your child is struggling academically and not receiving the support they need. Maybe there are bullying or safety concerns, or perhaps a sudden illness or injury has occurred. Or it could be that you are just becoming increasingly unsettled about your child’s education and suddenly find yourself thinking that homeschooling may be the answer. Sometimes your reasons for homeschooling are urgent and come up suddenly and unexpectedly, but it’s already the middle of the school year. Can you start homeschooling right now mid-semester? Yes, you can, and here’s how.
The first thing you need to do is to learn about your local homeschool laws. You might think that your local school board is the best place to go for information on how to begin your new homeschool journey, but sometimes the staff there are not well educated when it comes to homeschooling, and other times they just aren’t very homeschool friendly. So to be sure you get the most accurate information it’s best to seek out a local homeschool co-op or support group, an online support group for your area, or an organization such as the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that gives an overview of homeschool laws by state. It’s important to know what is legally required of you to withdraw your child from their current school and begin homeschooling, but you can begin homeschooling at any time, even if it’s the second day, the middle of the year, or the last week of the school year.
Once you’ve given the proper notice and submitted any required paperwork it’s a good idea to take a little time to deschool. This just means taking a short break from formal schooling to help you and your children shift your mindset from the classroom to homeschooling, which can look very different. Learning doesn’t have to stop during this time. Watch documentaries together, visit a museum or an interesting historical site, go to the library, do some fun science experiments, or go on a nature hike and study some of the interesting things that you find. This deschooling time is especially helpful when transitioning to homeschool mid-year. It gives your family time to destress and refocus and gives you time to research your homeschool curriculum options.
While you’re deschooling, take some time to learn about your teaching style and your child’s learning style, as well as the numerous curriculum options, umbrella schools, and co-ops. It may all seem overwhelming at first, but it’s important to remember that there really are no right or wrong answers here. If you choose a curriculum or teaching style that isn’t working for you, you have the freedom to change it at any time. Few homeschooling families find the perfect fit right at the start. There is almost always some trial and error before you settle into a comfortable and effective routine.
Whatever your circumstances are that are causing you to pursue homeschooling in the middle of the school year, know that you are not alone. And you don’t have to navigate it alone either. Our Mentor Moms are here to share their experience and knowledge with you to help make this transition easier and less stressful for you and your family.