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Getting Started in Eight Steps

The number-one question thousands of parents ask is probably your next question: How do I get started? The good news is that it is not hard to get started homeschooling, and certainly not as hard as many parents perceive it to be. Although there are some legal issues to be dealt with, you will find you don't have to: fill out forms as complex as your tax return, declare to the world and (yikes) Aunt Mildred that you are now homeschooling your children, join a group of perfect homeschooling parents (there are no perfect homeschooling parents), or add a costly addition to your home for a classroom.

The reason homeschooling works so well is that it can be customized to fit your family's needs, financial situation, living environment, parents' work hours, and child's educational needs and interests.

Remember, homeschooling (because it is individualized) does not take as much time as classroom learning. Perhaps either you or your spouse has decided to quit working and stay home full-time to homeschool your children. You can choose to set up a highly organized and scheduled homeschool (where your children learn certain subjects at certain times), or you may prefer an unstructured approach (where they learn according to their own rhythms). Since your children's needs and interests change over time, you may find that the style of homeschooling you start out with is not the style of homeschooling you end up with.

The goal is to set up an educational plan that makes sense for your family and work schedules, and one that also focuses on your child's individual goals and learning style.

The following steps will get your homeschool off to a good start:

1. Begin with a homeschooling "exploration" period.

2. Become homeschooling savvy.

3. Learn about the different homeschooling styles.

4. Set your goals.

5. Choose curriculum and other learning materials.

6. Get organized.

7. Evaluate your child's progress.

8. RELAX and enjoy this special time with your children.

    Excerpted from: Homeschooling for Success: How Parents can Create a Superior Education for Their Child by Rebecca Kochenderfer and Elizabeth Kanna
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