How To Transition To Homeschool Mid-Year
Get to Know the Law
In all 50 states, you are allowed to switch to homeschooling mid-year. The main thing you need to know in order to start homeschooling is your state’s laws. The first thing you need to do is find out how to properly withdraw your child so that you are not breaking any laws and no one comes after you for truancy. Once your child is withdrawn it’s important to properly follow your homeschool laws, whether your laws leave you free to do as you please or you need to have your curriculum approved. Make sure you follow through with everything you need to do legally.
Deschool or Continue School Work
Once you know you are following the laws you need to decide what exactly you are going to do for the rest of the year. Alot of people suggest deschooling. Deschooling is a good choice, especially for a mid-year homeschool switch. Deschooling is going to help free you and your family from the public school mindset. Remember homeschool does not need to be a form of bringing the classroom into your home. Deschooling is a good time to get to know each other and learn how to live your whole life together again.
If you choose not to deschool I strongly suggest against jumping into a very structured or expensive curriculum. When I started to homeschool mid-year I really thought I was going to be the exception here. Everything I read and everyone I watched said you WILL change the way you homeschool over time. Whether that means changing curriculum, homeschool setup, routine, I thought once I got it “right” it would stay that way. Trust me when I say it will not stay the same.
I purchased expensive curriculum everybody raved about that was described as what I was looking for and it just didn’t work! It was no fault of the curriculum I just needed more time to figure out what worked. I suggest going with workbooks as a main source and guide and using all your free resources to fill in the gaps. Workbooks from bookstores or even just the grocery store are reasonably priced. You can get any grade level, and there are all kinds so you can hyperfocus on any learning gaps or perhaps the childs interests. I have an excellent list of my top workbook suggestions here.
Find Your Childs Level and Learning Style
This is a big one. Do not assume just because you pulled your child out of public school mid-year 3rd grade that they are on 3rd grade level in homeschool. They could be behind in some areas but also they could be ahead! A wonderful thing about homeschooling is that there is no need to waste time waiting on “everyone else in the class”.
There are online tests that you can use to assess your child’s level. Also in most curriculums, there is a placement test that will tell you what level to jump into. Simply flipping through workbooks and finding what your child needs to work on will work too. Try not to overthink it.
Research Curriculum and Homeschool Styles
While you are deschooling or finishing out the year on a relaxed schedule, this is your time to research. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos, join facebook homeschool groups,etc. First find your style, there are lots of articles on whats out there. Like literature based, classical homeschool, eclectic, gameschooling, ect and then research inside that realm.
You might find you don’t fit into any one style and you don’t necessarily need to. Posts like these here (Teaching Math) and here (Teaching Geography) can even help you homeschool with no curriculum at all and just meet your child exactly where they are.
Find a Good Routine
You don’t need a strict schedule but most children thrive off of routine. Something as simple as planning your days around mealtime can work. Just having checkpoints throughout their day so they know what’s going on. When your switching to homeschool mid-year your child is going to be used to very structured days. Ease them into the freedom of homeschooling. For us we have a quick morning routine to start our day. It includes eating breakfast, caring for your own hygiene, one chore, then they are free until lunchtime when we begin our school work.
Find a support system
I am not saying you need other people to homeschool but it’s definitely helpful. Having people to ask questions or simply who are going through the same things as you. This can be your existing friend group or family if they are super supportive, online groups, and of course in-person homeschool groups. Don’t be afraid to put the call out and make your own group in your area if your search is coming up short.
Last but definitely not least have zero expectations. I know it’s hard to “not know” but if you put big expectations out there you’re going to be disappointed. I don’t want this to be read in a bad way either. What if you buy 10, 3rd-grade books and you are super excited to get started and your child speeds through them, finish everything, and you’re left staring at each other on a Wednesday 2 months into homeschooling. Your going to need to shift your plans a bit. Take it slowly, get to know each other and what is best for your student. You got this homeschooling thing, mid-year or not.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. Leave a comment below and let me know what was your biggest challenge when switching to homeschool mid-year. Dont forget get to check out what we are up to daily on our Instagram here. And remember have fun and follow those rabbit trails!