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Depending on what your state requires, you may need to register through your Department of Education or with a homeschool organization before you begin homeschooling. Some require you to complete an application that describes the methods and resources you’ll be using, send a copy of your children’s immunization records, or jump through other hoops. Others require only a notice of your intention to homeschool. Most fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Make sure you thoroughly understand your state’s requirements so you don’t run into legal issues after you withdraw your children from school.

Can I start homeschooling after the school year begins? How do I withdraw my children from school?

In most states, if not all, you can begin homeschooling at any point during the year. Your support group’s website should include information about the withdrawal process, or you can call your school district to ask for their preferred procedure. (To avoid inadvertently violating attendance laws, I recommend obtaining legal homeschool status before you withdraw your children from school.)

If there is no established withdrawal procedure for your school, I recommend sending a certified letter to your district’s superintendent and the principal of the school your children currently attend. Explain you are withdrawing your children (state your children’s names, and the date of withdrawal) from their school and are educating them at home according to your state’s homeschool regulations. Sign the letter and keep a copy (with proof of certified mailing) in case you are asked to provide documentation later. If your children attend a private school, it should be enough to simply inform them you’re withdrawing your children to begin homeschooling.

If you decide to wait until after the school year ends to homeschool, there’s usually no need to officially withdraw your children. Just make sure you’re legally registered to homeschool in your state (start the process at the beginning of summer vacation in case of delays), and don’t re-enroll them in public or private school when the new school year begins.

What subjects do I need to teach? What are the requirements for each grade level?

Some states require specific subjects for each grade, while others leave it up to the parent. If your state lets you choose your own subjects, focus on the broad areas of reading/literature, writing, history/social studies, science, and mathematics. The arts (music, drawing, theater, etc.) often aren’t mandated, but are worthwhile areas of study nonetheless. Each of the broader areas can be narrowed down even further: American literature, composition, health/physical education, world history, choir, grammar, state history, geography, biology, algebra, etc.

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