Six Steps for Beginners
1994-2005 by Ed Dickerson, all rights reserved.
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I have to tell you that I found your [advice] to be more valuable to me than anything I have read or researched in the last MONTH! I just wanted to say THANK YOU. --S.F.
Take These Steps

1 State Law

Learn about your state law. The public library should be able to help you. School districts often don't know, and if they do, may not help you. Local or state support groups may also be of help. Be wary of people who advise you to break the law, and those who are continually sounding alarms. Homeschooling has essentially been legalized in all 50 states. In general, you won't have trouble unless you seek it.

Detox: Shatter Schoolish Thinking!
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2 De-Tox

Prepare yourselves emotionally and psychologically for a succesful experience. Homeschooling is not just schooling-at- home. After all, if you wanted the school experience, you'd send them to school (see #3). So don't simply try to duplicate school procedures at home.More?

3 Goals*

You're not sending your children to school, so you want a different experience for them. What is it exactly you do want? If you don't know, how will you be able to assess progress? Don't forget, school assessments measure progress toward school goals. You have chosen something else. But the "something else" you want isn't defined until you do it.

4 "Curriculum"*

Most people select this too soon. It's like buying your wardrobe before you know the climate you'll be in. Even beyond that, people who would never force their children's feet into ill-fitting shoes think nothing of forcing children's minds into off-the-rack, "standardized" curricula that fit no one.More?

5 Strategies*

Certain goals require particular strategies. Think of a goal as a destination. If you want to go next door or only a few miles down the road, almost any means will do. If you want to go to Australia from the U.S., don't plan to take the train. "Where," the goals you set, will determine "how" you can and cannot get there.

6 Record-keeping*

State law will determine some of this, but your own peace of mind is more important. You need to come up with a system that's not too cumbersome, and which satisfies legal requirements and your own needs.

*These are addressed in my guidebook, Destinations. More?