To make your transition to homeschooling a little easier, we recommend you follow these "assignments" to get you started.
Attend a Getting Started workshop. (Workshops are listed on the Event Calendar.) This workshop will give you a general overview of homeschooling in Maine, which should be your first step in researching home education. In addition, read everything you can about home education. A suggested reading list will be provided during the workshop. Making the decision to homeschool requires lots of initial homework on your part. Research the option to see if this is an alternative that will meet your needs and the needs of your family.
Research the options for fulfilling the law at our Law Summary page. This summary briefly outlines the two legal ways to homeschool in Maine. Both options work well. Choosing one or the other will be a matter of preference. Contact the HOME Office and your Regional and County Representatives, so that you are sure to make a well informed choice.
Join Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA - see the icon to the right, and click for more info!). Over the years, this organization has provided legal information, counsel and/or defense for hundreds of Maine families. They have also helped us many times with regulatory and legislative concerns. We highly recommend membership for homeschooling families in Maine. Even if your funds do not seem to work directly for your benefit, you can be sure that they are working to benefit us as a state and as a nation. Save 17% on a one year membership through HOME's Group Discount. Contact HOME for an application for HSLDA membership and to inquire about the discount and coupon code.
Join a support network. Support networks are a valuable resource for practical experience and "know how". Support networks provide a wealth of ideas, news, encouragement, activities, etc. Being involved will help you maintain success in your homeschool program. Contact the HOME Office and your Regional and County Representatives if you need help finding support.
Subscribe to The HOME Digest and HOME Email Updates. The HOME Digest will keep you informed of state and national news, annual events and field trips, conventions, etc. Also, it will provide interesting and informative articles on many topics related to homeschooling. You will want to subscribe to receive HOME's Email Updates via email, as well. Join HOME on facebook, too. Become a follower of Homeschoolers of Maine on facebook for daily news and encouragement (see the facebook icon to the right)! All of these avenues of support will keep you updated and connected with all that is going on in the Maine homeschooling community.
Choose or plan your curriculum. There are so many choices here! It can seem overwhelming. Begin by purchasing Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks Curriculum Manual to aid in your planning. A convention or curriculum fair will also be important, so that you can see materials and talk with others about them. (Visit our Event Calendar for all upcoming event information.) Contact the HOME Office at 763-2880 for free curriculum counseling, and to make an appointment to browse the resources we have at the office.
Get organized. Decide when, where, and how you will homeschool. A certain amount of routine and orderliness (within reason) will help you to accomplish your goals. For example, your day might begin with chores, a quiet devotional time and "formal" school work. After lunch might be the best time for hands-on activities, projects and classes or activities outside of the home. In the evening, you might plan to have family read-aloud time. Every family is different. During the first few weeks you will find what is most comfortable and workable for you.
Make a prayerful decision to homeschool. Before embarking on this great adventure it is important to come before the Lord as a family and ask for His guidance and His blessing in what He as asked of you. It will be a step in faith for you, but the Lord will be walking with you. You need not be afraid.
Remember to be flexible and adjust when needs change. Life changes, people change, situations change. Feel free to adjust and allow for the circumstances of "real life" to enhance and not hinder your home education plan.
When money is tight, get creative! There are many ways to homeschool without spending a lot of money. For some suggestions, please read Homeschooling In Hard Times (see the article at the bottom of this page).
When you feel discouraged (and we all do at times), be sure to share it with others in your support group. More than likely someone else has experienced the very thing you are feeling discouraged about. Continue to read books and attend workshops. Take time for yourself, with your spouse, or take time out of the regular routine to do something special with the kids. Most important: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! Take time to reflect back over the past weeks or months, and remember all that has been accomplished. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Let HOME Answer Your Questions! Contact HOME here!