Public and private schools are not for everyone.

How to Get Certified to Home-School a Child

by Tiffany Raiford

The decision to keep your toddler home with you is an easy one. However, the decision to send him to public school or to home-school him when the time comes is a different matter. You have to consider his learning style and the commitment you have to make to providing his education. In addition to the other more important reasons for choosing to home-school, not running into other moms and dads in your pajamas, with messy hair and a makeup-less face on the mornings you are running late dropping your child off is pretty tempting as well. If you decide to homeschool your child, you do not need to become certified, but you do need to know what requirements you must meet in the state you reside.

1 Learn what the state laws are regarding home schooling in your state. This information can be found by contacting or visiting the website of your state’s Department of Education or even your local school board. Some states require that you keep detailed records regarding your child’s home-school education, others require minimal records and some states have no record requirements. Furthermore, you can visit the Home School Legal Defense Association website (hslda.org) for more information regarding home-schooling laws in your state. The HSLDA site is free to anyone looking for home schooling laws and curriculum information, but it does require membership dues to obtain legal counsel.

2 Research curriculum options for your child, which are easily attainable by performing a simple Internet search. Additionally, your local school board’s website and your state Department of Education website will also have this information for you. If you choose, you can contact your local school board in person or by phone for curriculum information. You can use the general outline from the curriculum you find or purchase, create your own or use the curriculum you choose without any changes at all. This will help you determine whether you can both handle the extent of work required each day while home schooling. Furthermore, it will provide you with a lesson plan that will help you teach your child what she needs to know so she is not behind.

3 Document your child’s home-school experience carefully. Despite the fact that the state you live in might not require you to submit documentation throughout the year, you want to keep meticulous records. One reason is so you know what your child has accomplished throughout the school year. Secondly, if you and your child decide home schooling is not the right choice, you will want to provide these records to the public or private school in which you decide to enroll your child.

4 Register your home-school with your state if applicable. Some states, such as North Carolina, require that all children attend a legal school, which requires you to register yours as a legal school. You can do this with the Department of Education or Department of Administration, depending on your state's requirements.

Items you will need

  • Curriculum

Tip

  • Take the time to research different social activities, such as sports teams, clubs and activities you can sign your child up for so he has plenty of opportunity to interact with other children, socialize and make friends.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images