The first step is looking for online homeschool curriculum that is accredited and highly rated in this field. This means checking out the curriculum for your child’s grade as well as their future levels to see how the school handles the transition between grades and into high school. There are many online homeschool options to choose from so parents should allot plenty of time to carefully review each program and talk to the Admissions specialists to get questions answered. Once you have narrowed the list down to the single program for enrollment, there are additional steps that need to be taken per their checklist and direction.
One of the most common tasks when moving from one school platform to another is the transition of records so the new school can properly assess the student’s grade and academic levels. This is not necessary for a child beginning in kindergarten but is required for all other students. High schoolers have to provide an additional document in the form of their official transcripts and everything must come directly from the prior school to the new program. If the family was previously homeschooling outside of a formal enrollment, there may be forms and other documents that need to be provided so be sure to get with the school’s admissions staff as soon as possible. This is the most important step and can be started as soon as parents have made a decision and begun the process with the new homeschool program. Schools recommend that parents let the prior school know that the documents are being requested so they can process them as quickly as possible especially if the transition is taking place in the middle of the year or right before school is scheduled to start.
Another important document that parents will need to supply is the student’s birth certificate so the homeschool program staff can authenticate and make the proper grade assignment according to laws and regulations. Students in grades 1-8 may also need to send in report cards and standardized test results for a specific time period if these are available. If parents have copies, then this may be sufficient at least in the beginning of the process to keep things moving forward. Some families are interested in the part-time program which may have less restrictive requirements because the student is still primarily enrolled in their school of record. Talk with the admissions staff to see what the differences are, and make sure the courses selected are acceptable credit for the student’s school.
After all documentation has been reviewed, an English and/or math assessment may be recommended for the student to ensure proper placement. This is helpful when deciding between a standard or higher-level class if they are in middle or high school grades. Issues can sometimes be identified which means the student will receive the necessary attention and adjustment in their classes to help them succeed and work at the correct level for their learning abilities. When looking for online homeschool curriculum, check if they have special programs for students with different educational needs, and inquire about the process to get them enrolled if they meet the requirements. The program’s review of the documentation, assessment results and discussion with the parents can take a few days depending on the time of year, but the school does its best to get everyone started in a timely manner and align with the necessary schedules. Print curriculum students, those in K-2nd grade, will receive their material via the mail; while online students will be set up in the portal and provided their login information so they can access their classes and grades as either a parent or student.
The last item in the checklist is getting the financial set up as the majority of the top online homeschool programs charge tuition and possibly a few other fees. Homeschooling does not have to expensive but even if parents choose to do everything on their own, there are still associated costs so why not take advantage of certified teachers and a program that will keep formal records for the student so that it’s one less thing for the parent. Finally, a welcome letter and packet is typically sent to every new family giving them vital contact information, teacher info, and other items that will aide them in getting started.
Having an idea of the steps to get started as a homeschool parent can help reduce the confusion and stress from beginning something new. Every program is slightly different so there may be changes in the checklist provided but these are common steps that most schools adhere to, ensuring they have all the pertinent information about the student. After this is done, the only items left are deciding where in the house to do school and creating a daily start/stop schedule to keep everyone on track.