How do I Start Homeschooling?

Thinking about homeschooling for the coming school year?

If your child is currently enrolled in a public, private, or charter school, but your child is home due to a long-term school closure, you don’t need to file any official paperwork.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to formally homeschool your child so that he or she is not enrolled in any official school, you will need to file paperwork with your local school department. If your child is currently enrolled in school, you will need to withdraw him or her with the school office and/or school department.

 While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, each state establishes its own rules and regulations. I always recommend that homeschoolers join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association ( They provide a wealth of information on homeschooling law and what is expected in each state. I also consider them to be homeschooling insurance. If you run into any legal trouble with your local school district or with child protective services due to homeschooling, they will offer advice and intercede on your behalf. In my twelve years of homeschooling, I’ve only had to call them once, but I am glad that they were there.

Common materials that your local school district may ask you to provide when you send an intent to homeschool letter are a list of subjects you plan to cover and books and materials that you plan to use. Notice the key word “plan” in that sentence. Many times, what I end up doing for my homeschool ends up looking far different that what I planned for when filling out the paperwork. This is not intentional. I do send in what I plan on doing, then life happens and my plans change. Homeschooling is flexible. Do not feel that you need to slavishly adhere to the plan that you submit prior to the school year.

I also recommend that you connect with a homeschooling group. There are many groups on Facebook for Catholic homeschoolers. There also may be local groups that you can connect with. It is important for you to be able to connect with other homeschooling parents and for your children to have other homeschooled friends.

For more information on getting started with homeschooling, including curriculum resources, homeschooling students with special needs, homeschooling high school, and much more, check out The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling  

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at