When we first started thinking about homeschooling, I kept trying to figure out when we should start our homeschool year. Now, with a decade of being a homeschool mom and former teacher under my belt, I know that there’s really no “right” answer to when to start homeschooling.
Like everything else about it, homeschooling and your schedule are a matter of personal choice and family preference. That being said, there are some things you might want to consider before jumping in mid-year of starting the last week of June!
Knowing When to Start Homeschooling
Beginning to homeschool your children can be a fun and rewarding experience. I remember being so excited about starting! It just knew it was going to be amazing and I couldn’t wait to get started immediately.
But, with any new endeavor, there are many questions that come up at first that you’re not quite sure of the answer to. When to start homeschooling is often one of those first. Here are some things to keep in mind and consider.
State Homeschool Year Guidelines
Before the beginning of the regular school year, be sure to look up your state’s regulations with the department of education. Many of the rules will vary depending on where you live. Some states list the homeschool regulations directly on their website for easy access…others make you search a tad bit more for the information you need.
You will find that some areas require starting by a specific date, while others may simply list a number of schooling hours to be completed within a certain period of time. When to start homeschooling will depend not only on these regulations, but also on your family’s plans and needs.
Homeschool Dates in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania where we live, the homeschool law says that reporting can begin July 1st and must be completed and turned in by June 30th of the following year. They don’t specify which days you have to homeschool, just that you need to have 180 days total or 900 instruction hours.
Since I always liked to get a jumpstart on the year, we would weave learning days in throughout the summer, so that by the time we officially started on August 1st (which worked best for our family), we already had some days under our belts. It provided a nice buffer for those winter months when we’d all come down with the flu or colds at the same time!
Start Homeschooling in the Summer
Some families also decide to start homeschooling in the summer time, before the traditional school year starts. Some do this in order to get a jump on the coming year or make up work from the prior year of school. Yet others may simply wait until they are required to start or base start and end days on the local school district’s schedule.
If your child is in a lot of after-school type activities, it might be best to wait until the school year starts for the local public schools. It’s really just a matter of preference. As long as you get your required hours and/or days in for the homeschool year, you can start whenever you want to!
No matter when you decide to start, keep in mind that when to start homeschooling is partially (and sometimes even fully) up to you. So be sure it falls in line with your family’s needs or any specific needs any of your children may have as much as is possible, following local regulations.
What’s your preference? When do you normally start your homeschool year? Tell us about it in the comments below!