Beginner homeschooling parents have a lot of questions and today I want to answer all your common questions about homeschooling. I was a homeschooled kid who is now homeschooling her kid. Both my son and I have ADHD and homeschooling was and is the right choice for us.
If you are considering becoming a homeschooling family you may have a lot of different types of questions that you need answers to before you begin this journey.
First, it’s completely natural to feel a bit lost when it comes to homeschooling in the beginning. It’s kinda like starting a new job. You are learning the ins and outs on how the day works, adapting to make certain procedures work for you, and figuring out the best way to complete your tasks.
The one main thing to keep in mind when you start homeschooling is that it should be a fun experience for both you and your kid. Figuring out how to make it fun might take some work, a lot of communication, and some time but you will get there.
Answers To Your Questions About Homeschooling
Let’s dive into some of the biggest questions I see about homeschooling.
1. How many hours in a day do you homeschool?
That depends on your kid, their age, and what method of homeschooling you are doing. Most states have a time requirement that needs to be reached when you are homeschooling. Here in Pennsylvania that is 180 days or 950 hours.
We have 186 days in our school year, so that equals out to about 5 hours of schooling every school day. We get about 6 hours of schooling every school day, but our schooling doesn’t look like traditional schooling in the slightest.
Went for an hour hike today? That’s earth science. Did an hour of gardening? Life cycles of plants. Painted? Art. Cooked food? Chemistry.
See where I’m going with this? Everything is educational, throwing a ball in the back yard is PE and counts towards your hours. Hitting your states requirements is easy when everything is educational in some way shape or form.
The actual time you spend on solely book studies or curriculum is more like an hour or two depending on the age of your kid.
2. Are homeschool supplies tax deductible?
According to A2Z Homeschooling, there are three states where homeschool supplies are tax deductible and they are Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
This isn’t that big of a deal because essentially you are private schooling your child at home. If you were to send them to an actual private school you wouldn’t be able to write off that tuition on your taxes.
3. Are homeschooled students less social?
Actually no. In fact in most cases homeschooled children are likely to be more social than kids who go to traditional school.
In a traditional school your kids sit in silence while they learn from a teacher, they get maybe an hour total of socialization throughout the school day. Then your kids come home to do an hour or two of school work, then they eat dinner, then get ready for bed. Traditionally schooled kids aren’t necessarily learning social skills through all of this.
The homeschool kid is going to parks, museums, and extracurricular activities each week often resulting in the same or more interaction time than kids in traditional school. If you have kids close in age at home they are also getting that socialization that way.
If you are concerned about your kid making friends I highly recommend joining 1 or 2 homeschool groups in your area and planning meetups. You can also put your kid into extra curricular activities like sports, dance, martial arts, or art classes.
If you know of a lot of homeschoolers in your area come together as a group to do group lessons each week. If one of the moms knows and can teach art, let her teach all the kids in the group. Another can do baking classes at a local community center. There are loads of ways you can add additional socialization to your child’s life if you are a homeschooler.
4. Can Homeschooling Be Free?
Yes. It’s a bit more work on your part but you can have your homeschooling be free. Here’s how.
First, go to Google and type in Your State along with Education Standards. Most states will have a website that lists out what your kid should be learning in their grade level. From there you simply type out your curriculum based on those standards.
Now you go to Google and find free worksheets on each of the lessons, subjects, and studies your kid will need for the year. You also search YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, and Disney+ for documentaries to watch on these subjects. You also go to your library and check out books on these subjects.
You now have your homeschooling plan for free. It takes some research and work to curate your curriculum but it’s completely for free.
Keep in mind that there are always going to be some homeschooling costs that you will end up paying. These could be supplies for crafts, small subscription services, and purchasing of extra books or online classes. However, these costs can be spread out throughout the school year making it more affordable for you.
For free homeschooling resources you can check out my post here.
5. Is Homeschooling Legal?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the United States. That being said, each state has their own guidelines for how you should run your homeschooling in order to wave the compulsory attendance laws in that state. You will want to become a member of HSLDA in order to protect yourself and make sure you are following the laws of your state.
You will want to check your state’s homeschooling laws to make sure you are complying with the state laws, meet qualifications (which are typically a high school graduate,) and make sure you are meeting the evaluation guidelines in place.
Some states require an outline of your educational programs, book lists, and your daily school schedule. I highly recommend keeping these things even if your state doesn’t require it just so you have it on hand in case something comes up.
Side Note: HSLDA is not a secular organization. That being said I highly recommend having a membership with them because they have documents, lawyers, and all the help you may need if your state or local school superintendent has any issues with your homeschooling choices.
6. Where to get homeschooling materials?
You can find worksheets for free simply by searching Google. You can find videos to pre-screen on YouTube. OutSchool has online classes you can pay for to supplement your kids education.
As far as a curriculum and homeschool programs go that takes a bit of research. I personally used Secular Homeschooler to find the curriculum we used. I wanted a secular program that was more of an outline that would allow me to supplement with books, workbooks, videos, and documentaries where needed. You’ll want to find a curriculum or program that fits your lifestyle too.
You can simply search Google for Best Homeschool Curriculum and find multiple sites that give honest reviews on curriculum.
While most sites will have a disclaimer on affiliates, as far as I know there are no affiliate programs for any homeschooling curriculum so most reviews are going to be extremely straightforward and honest.
7. Who pays for homeschooling?
You do. There is no funding for homeschooling so the bill is yours. Some homeschool curriculums will have payment plans, some aren’t too expensive, and then there are some that are really expensive.
For me I went with Oak Meadow. I spent a little over $600 on my curriculum for all of 1st grade. That wasn’t too bad for me. Like I previously mentioned before though there are multiple free ways to do homeschooling.
8. Will homeschooling affect college?
Not at all. A lot of homeschoolers go on to university and get the college degree in their fields of choice. Your child can still take standardized testing, can still apply to college, and still go to college. You may even be able to find scholarships for your child through homeschooling organizations as well.
In a lot of situations homeschooled kids get a lot more real world experience during their homeschool journey. Be it parents who taught them to cook, balance a check book, taught them about buying a home, or providing extra classes at community college for job or college prep work.
9. Are homeschooling diplomas valid?
If you get a diploma through a private homeschool or online school they are valid. If you are doing a free version of homeschooling or a homeschooling where your child isn’t having a teacher check and grade their work, you may need to have your kid get a GED as a diploma.
I personally took the GED route with my schooling. I was homeschooled way back in the 90s and early 2000s and credits didn’t transfer when we switched to an online program in sophomore year of highschool. So instead of repeating to gain the credits I went and got my GED instead.
Things are a lot easier now on that whole front than they were for me years ago. Check with your curriculum and if you are switching curriculums (especially in high school) check with the school to make sure records from the previous curriculum are sent over.
10. Will homeschooling ruin your child?
No it will not ruin your child. However, a child not being able to learn in the way that best suits them can lead to self esteem issues, bad grades, and mental health problems that will ruin your child.
Homeschooling or traditional schooling will not ruin your child. In either case it boils down to the parents providing a support system for their kids that allows them to succeed and do well.
For me the bulk of the reasons I decided to homeschool had to do with how my child learns and what he would be learning in traditional schooling.
Most if not all of the text books this country uses are made in Texas. Texas has passed bills recently that regulates how certain subjects are taught in schools that I don’t agree with. This means the textbook publishers will need to follow those guidelines and it will spread out through all 50 states.
I don’t want my child going to school learning a white washed, watered down, science denying curriculum to then come home and get actual facts at home. Then he’s disrupting the class and teacher to correct the information being taught, he gets in trouble, and I have to fight with the school and the school board.
These are my own personal feelings on this and I understand that I am completely privileged to be able to make this decision for my family. Not everyone has this same ability. So even if you are homeschooling for the same reasons I am, I ask that you continue to vote, sign petitions, and stay active in your school districts. This can help the countless families who cannot homeschool their children.
More On Homeschooling
Below is a list of all my homeschooling posts where I dive deep into homeschooling and everything you need to know.
- So You Want To Homeschool – Must Read Beginner Homeschoolers Guide
- 9 Important Tips On How To Choose A Homeschool Curriculum
- 7 Practical Tips For When Homeschooling Gets Tough
- The Best Free Homeschooling Resources
- 5 Reasons To Homeschool Your Child
As you dive into homeschooling I recommend joining a few Facebook groups that can help you get started, find curriculum, and be a support for you during this change. It may also be helpful to find a local homeschool group that does meetups.
Socialization is not just for your kid, it’s for you too. People who send their kids to traditional school are not always going to grasp or understand what life is like being a homeschooling parent. It’s helpful to have a support network around you of those who do what you do, even if it’s not exactly the same way.
What’s your biggest homeschooling question? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite homeschooling boards.