My parents never planned to homeschool, and they certainly never planned to switch to homeschooling mid-year. But halfway through my sixth-grade year at a private school, homeschooling became necessary for my family.
At first, my brothers and I cheered my parents’ decision to start homeschooling. But we found it to be a hard transition. We missed our friends. We missed playing basketball, singing in choir, and participating in group projects.
But despite the difficult adjustment, I am very thankful that my parents made the decision to start homeschooling my brothers and me. It was the best decision they could have made. My brothers and I flourished in our homeschool environment. We could focus on the joy of learning.
If you are thinking about making the switch to homeschooling mid-year, here are some answers to common questions. I’ve also included some tips on how to switch to homeschooling so you can make the transition to homeschooling as smooth as possible.
Can you start homeschooling mid-year?
Yes, you can legally start homeschooling mid-year in all fifty states. You do not have to wait for the beginning of a school year to make a change to your child’s schooling.
Can you start homeschooling at any time?
Yes, you can start homeschooling at any time of the year. There are many reasons that families might find it helpful to start homeschooling partway through the year. For some, homeschooling allows a child to escape bullying or other difficult situations at school. Others may choose to switch to homeschooling because of academic reasons or because of family changes (such as a job transfer).
Can you homeschool for only half a year?
Yes, you can homeschool for only half a year. Once you are ready to transition to homeschooling from a public or private school, you may do so legally. You will need to be sure and follow your state’s homeschooling laws. The alternative is also true—you can enroll your child in a private or public school after homeschooling part of the year.
How to Switch to Homeschooling
Research how to homeschool legally in your state.
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, but the legal requirements vary from state to state. If your child is currently in a public school, be sure to find out the proper procedures regarding withdrawal. Some states require you to send a letter of intent to homeschool to the district superintendent. Others (such as my state) require homeschoolers to join an accountability organization. The best way to find out the legal requirements in your state is through the legal section on the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s website. You may want to consider purchasing an HSLDA membership to gain access to personal legal advice and support from their staff lawyers.
Choose a curriculum.
When I started homeschooling midway through sixth grade, my mom chose to continue using the same curriculum I was using in school. That choice helped make the difficult transition to homeschooling a little easier.
However, you may feel that a change of curriculum is necessary. Maybe your child is being exposed to anti-biblical teaching in his or her current school curriculum. Or maybe the curriculum is not a good fit for the learning needs of your child. In cases like these, you will want to find a new curriculum that fits your family’s values as well as your child’s needs. You may want to check out Jenna’s post “How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family” for tips on what to look for when you are researching different curriculum options.
Different curriculum options don’t follow the same scope and sequence. If you are going to change your curriculum, you may want to consider giving your child a placement test to see where he or she performs academically. The results will help you choose the correct curriculum grade or level.”
Plan to take a break from schoolwork.
Be aware that it will take a while for your child to adjust from a traditional school routine to homeschooling. This adjustment period is often referred to as deschooling. You can help your child jumpstart this transition by giving him or her a break from formal schoolwork. Go on some field trips. Do some creative projects. Spend some extra time together as a family. Ease into homeschooling to give your child time to adapt.
Set up a homeschooling routine.
Homeschooling is different from a traditional school, and it shouldn’t be treated the same. You don’t have to start exactly at eight o’clock. Your child doesn’t have to sit at a desk, working until the designated recess time. You don’t even have to finish every subject every day.
However, it is important for you and your child to establish a homeschool routine so that you can ensure that homeschooling gets done. I often advise new homeschool parents not to bind themselves to detailed schedules. Get some great tips on creating a homeschool routine in Jenna’s post “How to Create a Homeschool Schedule by Grade.”
Find a supportive community.
Some students who transition to homeschooling from public or private schools may struggle with a sense of loss. They may miss their classmates and the social activities that schools provide.
It’s important that you and your child have a supportive community that you can lean on. You need the help and encouragement of other homeschool moms as you begin your homeschooling journey, and your child needs opportunities to connect with other homeschoolers. You could join a homeschool co-op near you, or you could even plan regular get-togethers for homeschooling families in your church or neighborhood.
Tips for Transitioning to Homeschool from Public School
There are many reasons why parents might choose to homeschool their children. Sometimes they choose to do so because they are dissatisfied with the public schools in their area. Below are some tips on how to switch to homeschooling from a public school. Find more information about how to make this transition in the post “Transitioning from Public School to Homeschool: Should You Make the Switch?”
- Decide when you want to make the switch.
- Talk to your family members about why you want to homeschool.
- Research the legal requirements in your state.
- Learn what you need to do to withdraw your child from public school.
- Choose your curriculum.
- Set up a homeschool space and get organized.
- Establish a homeschool routine.
- Find a supportive homeschool network.
Tips for Transitioning to Public School from Homeschool
Sometimes families do need to transition their child into a public school after homeschooling for a while. To make that transition easier, here are some tips for switching from homeschool to public school mid-year.
- Talk to your family members about why you want to make the switch.
- Find out what you need to do to enroll your child in your local public school
- Try to follow a traditional school routine in your homeschool to prepare your child for the routine of going to public school.
- If you aren’t sure what grade level your child is, consider giving him or her a standardized test.
- If your child is in high school, he or she will need a transcript. Learn how to create a homeschool transcript from a free template.
- Buy necessary school supplies.
- Make sure that you make plans for yourself. Transitioning your child into a public school after homeschooling will be an adjustment for you too.
As you try to decide which educational option is best for your child and your family—homeschool, private school, or public school—remember that you still have opportunities to influence your child’s life, regardless of where he or she is being educated during the day. Pray for the Lord to guide you! He has promised that if we acknowledge Him, He will direct our paths (Prov. 3:5–6). And He will be with us (and our children) through every transition of life.