By Julianna Dotten
Is it too late?
It’s never too late to start homeschooling. In fact, many families choose to begin mid-year or even later. Whether your children are struggling academically and socially or you’re facing another cross-country move, homeschooling is a great option to give your children an education tailored to their needs. Most of all, home education will allow you to give your children the kind of Christian foundation they will never get from the public school. Here’s some practical advice for beginning homeschooling in Colorado.
The legal side … Colorado homeschool law in two simple steps!
Step #1 • Decide which option to homeschool under
Colorado law offers three options for homeschoolers. Here’s a quick breakout, but find all the details and read the law here.
- File an NOI: Keep in mind that filing an NOI (Notice of Intent) to your local school district must be done 14 days prior to beginning homeschooling. For more information on filing an NOI in Colorado, check out the Colorado Homeschool Law. Since your NOI will go to the school district, let your school know you have filed a NOI and are withdrawing your student.
- OR Enroll in an independent school (or “umbrella” school), such as the CHEC Independent School. Basically, independent schools hold your records out from under the purview of the school district. Do not file a Notice of Intent! Let your public/charter or private school know that you have enrolled your child in the specific private/independent school.
- OR Homeschool as a licensed teacher. If you or your husband hold a current Colorado teacher’s license, good news! There are no testing, attendance, or record-keeping requirements. Still, we would highly recommend you keep documentation for your own use. Simply tell the school you are withdrawing your student to be taught at home by a teacher with a current Colorado teacher’s license.
Step #2 Get records from your school:
You’ll want immunization records, attendance, and transcripts on hand.
How to begin
Pray, pray, pray! Only with God’s help can we accomplish anything! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of homeschooling, bring those concerns before the Lord. He is able to provide in amazing ways!
Is your family on board? The more your husband and children are excited about this new lifestyle, the smoother the transition with go. Although your children may be upset at first at the thought of leaving their familiar classroom and friends, assure them that you are doing this because you love them. Vicki Bentley shares in her article, How to Start Homeschooling Mid-year:
“One of our girls, at age 14, became unhappy with our decision. We told her we were sorry she wasn’t happy, but as parents, it is not our job to make our children happy—it is our job to do what God has called us to do with them. Her dad and I will stand before God and answer for how we raised our girls. She graduated as a homeschooler and sent us a thank-you note for sticking with homeschooling even through the tumultuous times. She now writes curriculum and homeschool blogs, and they homeschool their three little girls. What would she say was the greatest benefit? That her heart was drawn to God and to her family.”
Also check out this handy resource: 8 Things You Should Know Before You Begin.
Setting some basic goals for the rest of your school year will get you started on the right track. If your child has been struggling academically in school, Bentley suggests using this time to review basic skills to lay the foundation for moving on. At this point, it may be best just to focus on the core subjects as you settle into your routine. Check out HSLDA’s podcast series “Homeschool Now! Starting Mid-year.”
Don’t try to recreate school at home
Although the desk and classroom method may be helpful as your child adjusts, remember part of the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility it allows to do what’s best for your child. Maybe your child really does learn best doing flashcards while hanging upside down on the couch! Sometimes going on a nature walk will teach more science than a textbook. Be flexible and don’t feel like your homeschool has to fit into a classroom model. Homeschooling 101: Switching to Homeschool Mid-year has some great suggestions on adjusting to the homeschool lifestyle.
Homeschooling can be a lonely journey without others walking beside you. Not only are other homeschooling families a key for your own sanity, they also provide like-minded friends for your children. Check out our list of Colorado homeschool groups to find one in your area and consider attending the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference, June 16 – 18, 2016.
Can I actually teach?
Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not a classroom. If you feel like you have to present already digested material to your student, you’ll get burned out quickly. The reality is, we can’t know everything we teach. Instead, the joy of homeschooling lies in learning with your student. Together, you have the privilege of discovering the world together. So don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up together!”
It’s never too late to begin the type of education that’s best for your child. However difficult the mid-year adjustment might be, let me encourage you this sacrifice for your children will pay off. As a homeschool graduate, I can trace back to my parents’ decision to homeschool as the starting point of much blessing in my life. As you invest not only academically but also spiritually in your child, God will bless your efforts.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).
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