New to homeschooling? Let’s do some research. There is a wealth of information available on how to homeschool. Dozens of methods and thousands of opinions. At first, it can feel overwhelming to try to sift through it all and figure out how to begin. There is a nice article by The Homeschool Mom that might give you a starting point. (Click here.) You might also enjoy Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Homeschool 101 series.
Getting involved with other homeschool families is a great way to learn more, gain confidence, get ideas, discuss curriculum options, ask questions, find field trips, and connect socially. Many local homeschool support groups are listed on the Groups resource page.
Many people that are new to homeschooling want to know the “best” way or curriculum, but experienced homeschoolers know that there is no one way that is a perfect fit for every child. There are many different approaches to homeschooling and various styles of learning. Families might also choose to use an eclectic, or mixed, approach, or even avoid labels altogether and blaze their own path. If you’re interested in knowing more about some of the popular methods of homeschooling, check out homeschooling.com.
Trying to choose which curriculum program to use? Cathy Duffy’s book, 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, and associated review website, are often recommended as a helpful resource. Another source for opinions on a variety of curriculum is HomeschoolReviews.com.
Homeschooling in Hawaii
Regulations regarding homeschooling vary from state to state and change over time, so be sure to keep abreast of the latest in your area. For those in Hawaii, I’ve provided some links that you might find helpful as a starting point to your research.
(This is not legal advice and is for informational purposes only.)
- Homeschooling Q & A from the Hawaii State Department of Education
- Complying with Hawaii homeschool laws, according to the Home School Legal Defense Agency (HSLDA)
- HSLDA’s analysis of Hawaii homeschool law (must be a member of HSLDA to view document)
- Hawai’i Regulations & FAQs provided by the Hawai’i Homeschool Association
- Hawaii homeschooling laws provided by the A2Z Homeschooling website
Here are a few examples of some of the required documents:
- An example of a Letter of Intent (an alternative to the Form 4140) is shown on ChristianHomeschoolers.com
- A local mama from bringingschoolhome.wordpress.com kindly shared her Letter of Intent AND her End of Year Report templates with us!
Many homeschool families recommend the following organizations & services:
- Homeschool Buyers Co-Op offers great discounts on curriculum, programs, and educational materials through group buys.
- HomeschoolClassifieds.com provides a forum for buying & selling used homeschool materials nationwide.
- Oahu Homeschool Classifieds is a Facebook group for buying & selling used homeschool materials locally.
- Home School Legal Defense Agency is a non-profit homeschooling advocacy organization
Local Charter Schools
While not technically homeschooling, some families choose to utilize one of the local public charter schools that allow the majority of education to be done from home by a primary caregiver. There are three charter schools on Oahu: Kanu o ka ‘Aina via Harmony Educational Services (with no local campus but does offer an extra-curricular “options day” in a couple of locations), Hawaii Technology Academy (campus in Waipahu, last I heard), and Myron B. Thompson Academy (campus in Honolulu). They each have different programs, benefits, and requirements. They usually begin enrollment in February or March, operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, and some grade levels can fill quickly, so be sure to contact them early in the year if you are interested in enrolling your child. Keep in mind that a student enrolled in one of these programs is considered a public school student by the State of Hawaii and is subject to associated oversight and regulations. This also means that a Form 4140 or Letter of Intent is not required (and other homeschool regulations and laws would not apply) for students enrolled in these schools.