Did you know that December and January are big months for starting to homeschool? Of course, the biggest surge of new homeschoolers usually falls in August or September. This is a natural time for beginning because it aligns with the traditional start of the school year, and gives parents an opportunity to feel as though they are keeping in line with public or private school students.
But the second biggest surge of new homeschoolers often occurs in December and January. Most of the time, families starting in these months had not originally planned to homeschool, but circumstances with their child, their child’s school, or their child’s learning during the first half of the school year make it obvious that they are not able to remain in their present educational situation any longer. These "accidental homeschoolers" can find themselves a bit overwhelmed as they sometimes have only days or weeks instead of months to prepare for huge changes in their family life.
The good news is that if you are in that boat of mid-year start-ups, you are certainly not alone. And even though you are not starting at the traditional "beginning of the school year", it does not mean that you are at any kind of disadvantage. The great thing about homeschooling is that there is no set schedule or time-frame for beginning or ending. Some homeschoolers school on a traditional schedule, some school through the summers and take different months off, and others school year round!
As long as you have consulted your state laws for specific guidelines, and have researched the state homeschool resources available to you, you are already way ahead of the game. Now all you need to do is take some time to discover how your child learns best, figure out what style of learning might benefit your child most, and then begin to choose the materials, programs, and curricula that will help your son or daughter make the most of their homeschooling time. Mid-year start-ups even have a specific advantage. Mid-year is often a great time to find terrific deals on both new and used curricula. Curriculum publishers often put their materials on deep discount during those times of the year when sales are lower (such as winter and spring).
If you have just begun to homeschool, you might be feeling overwhelmed and like you "missed the boat." But just remember that if you feel that a home-based education is best for your child, then it doesn’t matter when you start, it just matters that you START. Welcome to homeschooling!
Kerry Jones is a homeschool mom of ten years who writes extensively on homeschooling and technology, and is a contributing writer of the Home-School-Online blog.