1. Find out what the laws are in your state or country. As a homeschooler, you will be responsible for maintaining your child’s academic progress, and you may be legally required to provide proof that your child is meeting certain standards. You will want to have a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities are before you get started.
In the United States, the Home School Legal Defense Organization (www.HSLDA.org) can help you sort out your state’s requirements, and offers support to help you meet them.
2. Research curriculums. There are many homeschooling curriculums available, in several different formats. Some are online, others consist of textbooks and materials that you follow at home. There are several factors to consider when choosing a curriculum for your child.
*Cost – There are good homeschooling curriculums available in every price range.
*Compatibility – Is the curriculum compatible with your child’s current skills and learning style?
*Goals – What are your short and long-term goals? Are you planning on homeschooling for a short time, or for the long haul? If you are planning on re-enrolling your child in school, you may want to find a curriculum that mirrors that of your local schoo.l
3. Plan for related therapies, such as speech or occupational therapy. In many states in the US, your child may still be able to get these services through the school system. If you prefer to use private therapists, check with your insurance to find out what will be covered.
4. Network with other families. The internet has many websites and forums dedicated to bringing homeschoolers from across the world together. These are a helpful resource to learn about different curriculums, strategies, and approaches that have worked for other families. Many of these groups are specialized for parents who are using particular approaches in conjunction with homeschooling (for example, ABA plus homeschooling, etc.). Veteran parents can be a helpful resource.
5. Find a local homeschooling group. Meeting up with other homeschoolers in your community can offer social opportunities for you and your child. Other families can also guide you towards local resources, and may be willing to share curriculum materials to offset some of the costs. You may also find parents who are willing to swap teaching in areas where you may feel less confident.
6. Set up the physical environment. Many homeschoolers have a room or a space set aside for academics. Remove any distractions and make sure the room is comfortable for you and your child.
7. Plan your daily routine. Structure is important, especially for a child with autism. You may want to start with a visual schedule, to help your child adjust.
Homeschooling is a big step, and getting started can seem overwhelming. Take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you and your child will be on his or her way to success.