It may be July, but many homeschool moms are already pondering the beginning of the homeschool year.

Some families will start in August with the traditional schools in their area. Other families wait until after the Labor Day holiday. Still others school year round.

No matter when you begin your homeschool year, it’s always good to have a plan. Even if your plan is to continue what you’ve been doing, now is the time to check to be sure all is in order.

Some of the items on the checklist will only apply to those homeschooling for the first time. Other items will apply to new and veteran homeschoolers.

Checklist of Things To Do

  1. Decide which homeschooling plan you wish to follow
    To new homeschoolers it may seem as though there are as many ways to teach your children at home as there are homeschoolers. If you haven’t looked at the various options, now it is the time to do so. Those who have been homeschooling for a few years may be considering other options. Again, now is the time. (An Introduction to Home Education manual has a full chapter devoted to your choices.)
  2. Join or renew Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) membership (acceptance can take two to four weeks)
  3. Withdraw your child(ren) from school (only after you have received HSLDA acceptance)
  4. Choose a name for your school, if you plan to file a Private School Affidavit OR
  5. Join a private school satellite program (PSP) or other program (optional)
    A PSP is a private school that offers a homeschool option. The school will handle many of the record keeping requirements. Classes, field trips, and other activities may also be offered.
  6. Get involved with, or start, a local support group
    A support group is a group of families that have various supplemental activities.
  7. File your Private School Affidavit (If you are enrolling in a PSP, you may skip this step), form is generally available Oct. 1-15 each year.
  8. Develop a course of study for each student
    A course of study is one of the few records required by state law. It is simply a list of the course you plan to teach in the coming school year.
  9. Decide on curriculum
    This can be the most fun step or it can be the most daunting. There are so many choices, including making your own. Here are some suppliers you may want to consider.
  10. Purchase curriculum (allow time for orders to arrive)
    You can purchase your curriculum through a textbook company, a homeschool supplier, or a local teacher store.
  11. Buy supplies
    Paper, pencils, crayons, rulers, and other standard school supplies. If you are enrolling in a co-op class, you’ll want to check with the person teaching the class for needed supplies.
  12. Set up your files (pay particular attention to mandatory records)
    A variety of records are required and others are optional. Now is the time to get your recordkeeping plan in order. Check with your PSP to find out what records will be required by the school.
  13. Join CHEA of California
    CHEA is the only Christian organization in the state of California. We serve homeschoolers by promoting private Christian home education; providing training, information, and support to the homeschool community; and protecting your God-given right to direct the education and training of your child. Your Membership and donations allow us to continue our mission throughout the year.

Adapted from An Introduction to Home Education by Susan Beatty and Karen Woodfin Middleton, copyright 2012 by Christian Home Educators Press