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… register as private schools, while others (like Pennsylvania) mandate that homeschooled children take standardized tests as they reach the third, fifth and eighth grades. Not sure what the rules are in your jurisdiction? Your best bet is to contact your state’s homeschool association or the HSLDA. And to be safe, parents should put in a phone call to their local school district to see if they need to formally withdraw their children from the classroom roster. Otherwise, you might get an unexpected visit from a truant officer investigating “educational neglect.”

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2. Decide on an approach. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that it allows parents the freedom to determine what and how their kids learn. Are you looking to re-create a traditional school environment within your home? If so, a structured curriculum approach (also called traditional approach) might be best. Proponents of classical education focus on the great works of Western literature, while “unschoolers” allow their children to determine the course of their own education. Find what you’re most comfortable with and what fits your child.

Sometimes the most effective way to get into your own educational groove is to take cues from other homeschoolers. Talk to other people who have done it, and if you agree with them, go with it, and if not, find something else.

3. Tap into your local homeschool community. Like anything else, homeschooling can get lonely without outside support. But as homeschooling gains in popularity, many zoos and museums are instituting events designed specifically for homeschool parents. In addition, homeschooling co-ops, in which parents trade expertise, are cropping up in different areas.

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