Getting Started with Homeschooling

Illinois HOUSE (Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience)
Illinois HOUSE is a statewide network of support groups for people involved in homeschooling. They provide email and phone support about issues related to Illinois homeschooling. Common questions include how to withdraw a child from public school, what the school district needs from homeschooling families and how to deal with officials who ask for more than they're entitled to receive.


If your student is currently enrolled at a public or private school, you will need to send a letter of withdrawal/transfer and a transcript request.  You can find examples of those letters and forms at the IL HOUSE website at this link:  http://www.illinoishouse.org/withdrawing-from-school.  Please read through the information on that site carefully.

Be aware of the current homeschooling laws in IL.  You can find all current homeschooling laws and requirements on the IL HOUSE website at http://www.illinoishouse.org/.

There is a small overview of the most popular homeschooling styles at this link: http://www.illinoishouse.org/homeschooling-styles.

Check out these eBook Guides for homeschoolers.
Welcome to Homeschooling, Guide for Families from Time4Learning
Getting Started in Homeschooling from Simply Charlotte Mason
Homeschool Tips From a Homeschool Veteran from Smockity Frocks



5 Essential Ingredients to Homeschooling Success

By Terri Johnson – co-author of Homeschooling ABCs

We’ve all seen it… or, at least, heard about it… the homeschooled child who wins the geography bee, or the one who graduates at the age of 15, or the one who excels in musical accomplishments…

Now, obviously, a student does not have to be homeschooled in order to accomplish one of the feats above, nor does every homeschooled child excel in such notable ways. However, every homeschooling parent desires for success in teaching their children at home and launching them into the world to become all that they can be.

The flipside to this statement is that no one wants to fail when it comes to teaching their children at home. So, what are the five necessary ingredients to homeschooling success?

The first one is the desire to foster a closer relationship with each of your children and your kids with one another. If you don’t want to spend more time together and deepen these relationships (or, at least, want to want to spend more time together), then homeschooling may not be the best choice for you. However, I am sure that you have heard it said before that at the end of the day, no one is going to say, “I wish that I had spent more time at work… or by myself… or with my canary…” No, the universal regret that aging and dying people declare is their sadness over not spending enough time with their loved ones. Teaching your children at home is an amazing opportunity to spend more time with your dearest loved ones and have no regrets.

The second ingredient to homeschooling success is a teachable spirit on the part of the parent. This is essential because, like it or not, you will learn so much more teaching your own children than you ever did in school the first time around. So, you might as well like to learn.

On that same note, the third essential ingredient to successful homeschooling is creating a home environment that is conducive to learning. This may show itself differently in each of our homes, but the result is the same – a place where kids can learn and enjoy it.

A home that is conducive to learning may have quiet and cozy reading nooks, bookshelves crammed with great books, a listening corner complete with headphones and a beanbag chair, uncluttered smooth surfaces for writing, stacks of coloring/activity books and colored pencils, a place to gather together and talk about the day’s events. You get the idea… Create centers in your home that make learning fun and accessible.

The fourth ingredient for a successful homeschool is 2 hours of your time to devote to your children’s studies. Truly, when the one-on-one teaching method is employed in your home, you do not need all day in order to get things done. In fact, a child in K-2 grades might be finished with her schoolwork in as few as 45 minutes (of course, that probably does not include the time that you spend reading together because who can get enough of that!).

At the other end of the spectrum, you might not need that much time with your middle schooler or high schooler either, because they become such independent learners by this age. The kids that will need the majority of that time that you have designated for school – those full 2 hours – would be your students in 3-6 grades as math and grammar assignments might get a little more involved.

The final ingredient for homeschooling success is a library card. That’s right! With access to a huge roomful of books, a world of learning opportunities is at your doorstep. Let’s say that your child is interested in insects or flowers, electricity or magnetism, transportation or inventions… check out as many books as he can devour on the subject and then some more. Watch your child light up with the delight of learning.

With these 5 essential ingredients incorporated into your homeschool, you will experience successful learning in the lives of your children, because this is the measure of success – children that love to learn!

Enjoy those learning moments…

Terri Johnson