How to Start Homeschooling with

What Is Homeschooling?

Home Education

DIY has become a way of life for some folks. From landscaping to minor home repair, there are entire websites and even TV networks dedicated to encouraging people to do it themselves. But what about teaching your children? Could you do that yourself? Do you know how to start homeschooling? Today, an estimated 2–3 million children are taught by their parents at home. The reasons range from wanting to provide individualized instruction that builds on a child’s strengths and interests, to health issues or special needs, to avoiding school violence, increasing family time, and many more. One big reason is that the public schools are rapidly descending to an agenda far away from Christian principles. DIY Education happens when you take what you have and put your own brand on it.

In the 1970s, a few courageous parents decided to DIY their children’s education. There weren’t a lot of resources available back then, but with ingenuity and determination they successfully taught their kids. Today, that generation of homeschoolers is all grown up, and the resources available for them to teach their own children have vastly increased. There are complete boxed curricula, online courses, DVDs, homeschool co-ops, homeschool magazines, and hundreds of companies that cater directly to the needs, learning styles, and varying interests of  students and their parents. When you start to think outside of the “box,” you’ll see that you really can educate your kids yourself.

So, when it comes to home education, there’s no reason you can’t Do It Yourself, especially since it’s completely legal to do so in all 50 states. And with an estimated 2.5 million children currently being home educated in this country, an enormous homeschooling community is standing by to help. is one such resource of support: it’s the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Now is the time to bring your kids home, and we’re glad you’re here. We can help show you how to start homeschooling! Come explore your options today!

A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.– Luke 6:40

Yes, You’re Qualified!

By Dara Ekanger

Julie had said she would never homeschool her children. It was too weird, and how could she make sure her kids got a good education since she only had an AA degree? But then her fourth grade son started having seizures. After myriad tests couldn’t find a physical problem, the doctor took her aside and said, “Your son can’t handle the stress from school. Pull him out and teach him at home.”

A few weeks into the school year, her seventh grade daughter was coming home daily in tears because of continued harassment by another student. She was a bright girl, but was bored stiff in a classroom that didn’t allow her to go beyond the school’s agenda. “Please, can’t you homeschool me too?” she begged her mother.

So, in 1986, with textbooks purchased from the local private school and some borrowed library books, Julie found herself homeschooling her two children. “We’ll just try it for a week,” she reasoned.

That week became years. I was the seventh-grade daughter. I never went back to “regular” school . . . and my brother never had another seizure.

Fast forward a few decades. Homeschooling has gone from being “weird” to somewhat common. Almost everyone knows someone who homeschools. And estimates are that 2–3 million American children are now experiencing a very different type of education than their parents did.

Why this incredible increase? The reasons parents give for homeschooling mirror that of my own experience:

  • health issue or special needs,
  • addressing academic weakness while building on a child’s strengths and interests,
  • avoiding school violence and negative peer pressure,
  • increasing family time and developing strong family relationships,
  • passing on faith and values.

There weren’t a lot of homeschool resources available back in the ’80s, but with ingenuity and determination parents like my mother successfully taught their kids. Today, my generation of homeschoolers is all grown up, and the support and resources available for parents to teach their own children have vastly increased. There are complete boxed homeschool curricula, online courses, DVDs, homeschool co-ops, homeschool magazines, and hundreds of companies that cater to the needs, learning styles, and varying interests of students and their parents.

Where Do I Start?

Find Out the Legal Requirements in Your State

If you’re looking to homeschool one or more of your children, your first stop should be the website of the Home School Legal Defense Association ( where you can check out legal requirements for your state. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, but there are different requirements in each state. For example, South Dakota (where I live) requires parents to fill out an annual exemption form, do standardized testing in certain grades, and teach at a minimum the topics of “language arts and math” for “an equivalent amount of time” as the public school.

If you are planning to withdraw your student from public school after the school year has already started, you should certainly join HSLDA and follow their instructions. While withdrawing during the school year is legal, you must make certain to follow the correct notification process so you aren’t accused of truancy.

HSLDA keeps an eye on state and national bills that may affect homeschooling and advocates on behalf of its members if they ever come into conflict with local school districts, which unfortunately still happens on occasion. Your peace of mind and legal support is well worth the cost of a membership.

Check Out Available State and Local Resources

Almost every state has annual homeschool conventions where vendors, speakers, and parents get together to swap books, ideas, and encouragement. Google “homeschool convention [your state].”

Many states also have state-level homeschool organizations that can offer guidance on state laws, direct you to local support groups (sometimes called co-ops), and that advocate on behalf of homeschoolers in your state legislature.

Even if your state doesn’t have an overall homeschool organization, small independent groups can be found within driving distance of just about every family in the country. Our local all-volunteer group serves a wide range of families from up to an hour away. We have field trips, “Friday Classes,” holiday parties, and public service events. Many of our members found us via our Facebook page or a Google search. may also help direct you to local homeschool organizations and events near you.

Check Out Online Resources

There are many blogs and websites that focus on homeschooling families. One such site is, where you can download articles on organizing your homeschool, issuing report cards, creating high school transcripts, keeping a portfolio, dealing with special needs, and much more. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is considered the “trade magazine” for homeschool families, and is available for free online at It provides dozens of encouraging and valuable homeschool articles with each issue.

How Do I Know What to Teach?

Learn About Different Styles of Homeschooling

There are many different “styles” of homeschooling. You will likely find a style that fits your family’s needs, or you may decide on a blend of two or more styles. In some families (like mine), you may see that one style works great for one child, but another child responds better to a different style. Knowing your particular style is not required to homeschool, but it can help narrow your search for curriculum and provide structure as you are becoming more comfortable with homeschooling.

Just remember that if you start with one style, you are not bound to stay with it forever. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are free to adjust to the varying needs and interests of your children. You are not trapped into a rigid system of requirements and testing that takes all the joy and wonder out of learning. In fact, as the years go on, you may find yourself becoming quite eclectic!

Charlotte Mason: Based on a method introduced by nineteenth-century educator Charlotte Mason, this approach includes nature studies, journaling, narration, and living books.

Classical: Based on Dorothy Sayers’ The Lost Tools of Learning, in which child development is broken up into three “stages” of learning commonly called “the Trivium.”

Delight Directed: This puts the learning in the hands of the child based on his or her interests. Parents help facilitate this type of learning with appropriate instructional materials.

Eclectic: A mix of philosophies and homeschool curricula to accommodate each child’s abilities and interests. Parents choose from any method or style only those components that fit their specific needs.

The Principle Approach: An approach based on the principles of our Founding Fathers and an emphasis on God’s Word as the basis for every subject.

Traditional Textbook: Normally uses a full-range, packaged, textbook type homeschooling curriculum that also may include a scope and sequence, testing, and recordkeeping.

Unit Studies: All or most important subjects are covered while studying any one topic or unit of study, using a variety of resources and supplemental activities.

Unschooling: A relaxed setting where learning is directed by the child. Parts of this philosophy are based on research by John Taylor Gatto and John Holt.

Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum

Unlike the days when parents had to cobble together a homeschool curriculum from whatever resources they could find, today’s parents are blessed with many resources to choose from. Textbook companies now offer complete boxed curriculum by grade level (with optional DVDs) designed for homeschoolers, such as A Beka and Saxon. Companies such as Veritas Press, Memoria Press, and Classical Conversations offer products that follow the Classical style, with CC having weekly co-ops for students to meet together one day per week. Memoria Press and Veritas Press also offer select online courses in addition to their independent homeschool courses. Sonlight and Living Books Curriculum follow the Charlotte Mason method and provide books you can purchase individually or with detailed lesson plans based on grade level.

Another possibility is It’s an online one-stop resource that can be used for your entire family at one low monthly price. You don’t have to purchase additional books, just access online and print off what is needed for the lessons your child needs to do. Many families use this as their sole homeschooling curriculum, but it can also be used to supplement other programs. Members have access to just over four hundred courses (preschool through 12th grade), from core subjects like math, science, history, and language arts, to classes like computer programming, Shakespeare, foreign language, fitness, and even film-making.

Cathy Duffy’s has hundreds of curriculum reviews and even an online tool to help you choose books that fit your style and meet your children’s needs.

Your public library most likely has a section with books on homeschooling that could also help direct you to the style or curriculum that would work for you. And don’t forget, some people homeschool using library books almost exclusively!

Talk with homeschool parents in your area, or online, and find out what has worked, or not worked, for them. The biggest thing to remember is that if you find yourself or your child frustrated with a particular curriculum, you don’t have to stick with it! Don’t torture yourself or your kids with a book you don’t like. Sell it or pass it on to a friend. Someone else may like it just fine.

Take the Next Step

You don’t have to have a teaching degree to educate your children at home. You’ve been teaching them from the time they were born—how to walk, how to talk, how to tie their shoes, and to know their letters and numbers. Teaching them to read, do math, enjoy science, and love to learn are just the next logical steps in your parenting journey.

Though you will have difficult days (we ALL do!) and you may question your ability from time to time, there are resources and support for every obstacle you may encounter. The lasting rewards that come from teaching your children at home cannot be overstated.

And if you ever said, “I could never homeschool my kids!” don’t worry. You won’t be the first to find out that you can.

how to start homeschooling

Welcome to Affordable Excellence in Homeschooling!

Since its inception in 2012, has emerged as a pivotal educational platform for thousands of homeschooling families, offering a comprehensive range of courses for children from preschool to high school. The platform owes its expansive growth to a dedicated team of expert teachers, professors, lesson designers, parents, students, webmasters, editors, and even student volunteers. 

Today, the platform boasts over 400 course options, covering a wide spectrum from computer programming, Bible, foreign languages, science, music, math and language arts. Additionally, it includes a variety of electives such as art, history, geography, architecture, public speaking, home economics, physical education, and health. Excitingly, a pre-med track is also on the horizon, set to enhance the already rich educational offerings! is recognized for its academically robust curriculum, constantly evolving to cater to the educational needs of its community. We’re glad you are here!

Curriculum on is presented in either a downloadable or online format. There are no physical items included in your membership.

Our Features

Over 400 Course Options

New Courses Added Regularly

Preschool Through High School Courses

Full-Year & One-Semester Courses & Short Unit Studies

Help With Challenging Subjects

Access to Streaming Videos

Schedule Creators

No Common Core


High School Credit & Transcript Support

Excellent Customer Support

One Membership Covers Entire Family

No Hidden Fees; No Additional Textbooks To Purchase

Affiliate Earning Potential

Welcome to the dynamic and expansive world of! If you’ve already picked out your courses, you’re just a click away from beginning your educational adventure. Simply click on “lessons” to dive directly into the lessons for each chosen course.

If you’re still exploring our vast range of courses and need further details, simply click the “read more” option beside each course name. This will provide you with comprehensive information about the course, including its content, structure, and how it aligns with your educational goals. offers a wide range of subjects and electives, from core areas like Math, Science, Language Arts, and History to foreign languages and diverse electives, including Computer Programming, Art, Music, Home Economics, Physical Education, and specialized courses like Pre-Med studies. There’s something for every learner’s interest and passion.

In the event that a course has only one link, simply click on it and follow the directions on the resulting page. This will guide you through accessing course materials and starting your learning journey.

We’ve designed our platform to be as user-friendly and informative as possible, ensuring that you have all the tools and information you need at your fingertips. So go ahead, explore the courses, immerse yourself in the rich educational content, and tailor your or your child’s learning experience to suit your educational goals and interests best. Start exploring all those courses!

Public Brochures

Click on a brochure below to discover why thousands of other families like yours are homeschooling with! Need a small stack to hand out to homeschooled friends? Email, and we’ll ship you some!


We’re glad you’re here. This page serves as an introduction to the main features of the site. We’ll show you around and help you feel at home. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call 1-888-718-HOME (4663) or email Customer Service at If you are a new member, jump over to our New Members Hub which includes answers to FAQ as well as tips on how to get started.

Don’t miss these customer testimonials and check out videos of actual members using the site on our YouTube channel.

What is

It’s the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. We currently offer more than 400 online homeschooling courses for preschool through high school as well as a few courses for parents. Courses vary in length and intensity, from a few weeks to a full year or more. Academic weighting for transcripts of many high school courses is included. Many courses can be printed and done offline if you or your student prefers.

What will I find here?

Courses are not live, so you always have the option of starting any course at any point in time. You can simply visit an earlier lesson and begin at whatever point you are ready (see “Your site says I can start lessons at any time. How do I do that?” below for details). Courses are presented in a variety of formats. Almost all courses have a written component. Some courses, such as Filmmaking, Beginning Guitar, Beginning Violin, French, and Spanish also offer an audio or video component with their lessons.

How much does a membership cost?

Join monthly for $22.97 each month for a limited (K-8) membership or $29.97 per month for our ultimate (K-12) membership or save with a one-year membership for $209.97 or $269.97. One fee serves your entire family. Anyone living in your home can use the site 24/7. There are no per-class or per-child fees and you can cancel anytime (contact us via email,, or call us toll-free at 888-718-4663).

Do I have to buy textbooks?

No, additional textbook purchases are not required, however many of our lessons refer to books that are generally readily available through the library.

Can I purchase a membership for a friend?

Yes! One of our staff members is able to help you do that. Contact Customer Service at for details. offers a comprehensive suite of video tutorials to equip members with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful homeschooling experience. These tutorials provide valuable insights into the scope and sequence of courses alongside useful strategies for bookmarking content for quick access. Members can also learn how to select the most suitable courses for their children and get acquainted with the Interactive Schoolhouse (iST) for an enhanced learning experience. Additionally, the platform includes tutorials on Applecore Recordkeeping to help parents track their child’s educational progress and make the best use of World Book Online as a rich educational resource.

The tutorials extend into practical organization with School Boxes, while The Writing Center and Focused Learning Centers offer specialized support in writing and various subjects. For those implementing unit studies or setting up preschool programs, step-by-step guidance is readily available. Moreover, the platform provides resources for accessing and maximizing RightNow Media, navigating interactive maps for enriched geography and history lessons, creating customizable timelines, and engaging in hands-on learning with science experiments. These video tutorials are designed to streamline the educational process, making homeschooling an organized, efficient, and enjoyable endeavor for both parents and students.


We’re glad you’re here. This page serves as an introduction to the main features of the site. We’ll show you around and help you feel at home. If you have any home education or site questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call 1-888-718-HOME (4663) or email Customer Service at You can also use the chat box in the lower right of your screen to reach a customer service representative.

The most important area for new members is the Member Dashboard. You can find it by clicking here or the button at the top of every page. (You will be prompted log in if you are not already.) is made up of several key areas, all of which are conveniently found on the blue menu bar:

  • School Boxes: The School Boxes are available here. Lesson plans for core content subjects for each grade are available to provide a full year of lessons in one downloadable file for each subject. Parents simply choose the subjects that their child will be taking, download the file, and follow the lesson plans included.
  • Courses: This menu option features three different ways to browse our curriculum offerings.
    • View by Grade: This drop-down menu allows you to choose the grade level you are interested in and view all the courses offered for that particular grade. Click on the grade level and then select a subject area to explore.
    • View by Subject: This drop-down menu allows you to choose the subject you are interested in and view all the courses for a selected grade band for that particular subject. Click the subject and then select the level you would like to view.
    • All Courses: This gives you a quick and easy access to the home page of every course on the site. Once you decide which courses your student is taking, these links are shortcuts that will take you directly to each course.
  •  Planning
    • Course Information: This valuable page give you tips on how to begin utilizing the courses on our site. It also provides an alphabetical list of all the courses, their length, and recommended grade level for every course. You can also find information about when certain courses will no longer be available.
    • Latest News: updates such as new courses, video series, or eBooks that have recently been added.
    • Schoolhouse Planner: downloadable and printable planners that are free for members.
    • Scope and Sequence: This resource will show you the academic goals traditionally held for each grade level and where to find that information on as well as areas where you may wish to supplement.
    • Custom Schedule Builder: Create and print a schedule for the week, completely customized to your student and your homeschooling needs.
    • Recordkeeping: Applecore is user friendly and produces a report card and/or transcript for your student records.
    • Course Checklist: printable list of our courses that allows you to keep track of what courses your family has taken.
    • Free Printable Calendars: blank, printable monthly calendar pages for the current school year.
  • Streaming Videos: a library of hundreds of streaming videos free of charge to our members.
  • World Book:  a subscription to eight online libraries from World Book is included, free of charge to our members.
  • Preparing for College
    • College Options Foundation: access to college planning tools.
    • National Academic Homeschool Competition: members receive a 50% discount to participate in this challenging academic event.
    • Homeschool College Directory
    • College Prep Worksheets: blank, fillable forms for planning.
    • High School Help: a complete list of which courses on include suggested transcript weighting information plus tips and resources to help you create a high school transcript.
    • College Help: a list of courses and eBooks on how to prepare for college.

Click on a map below to find a support group in your area.

The best possible discount you can receive for an annual membership to will come through your state (or province) organization. For instance, if you live in the upper east coastal states, you’ll want to go through MassHOPE. Ask your state organization for your $179 coupon code. It’s your best possible deal. Not sure how to contact them? Click on the state map to view their full information. IS

  • A homeschooling platform with 400+ online courses available for download or print.
  • A versatile curriculum provider for a wide range of educational needs.
  • Educational content in diverse formats: text, video, eBooks.
  • Courses spanning preschool to high school.
  • Resources tailored for parents to enhance homeschooling.
  • Supports self-paced, personalized learning.
  • Customizable for special education and neurodiversity.
  • Includes supplementary materials, i.e., videos/ebooks
  • Flexible membership options: monthly, quarterly, or annual.
  • Provides grade-level guidance and scope-and-sequence resources.
  • Created collaboratively by over 200 educational professionals.
  • Tools for detailed homeschool planning and recordkeeping.
  • Ideal for both foundational and supplemental homeschooling.
  • Robust customer support via phone, chat, or email.
  • A community hub with forums, clubs, and group learning.
  • Regular course updates for the latest educational standards.
  • Specialized courses in STEM, arts, and vocational education.
  • Professional development resources for homeschooling parents.
  • Exclusive member discounts and educational partnerships.
  • Committed to a Christian worldview, including young earth and historical accuracy.
  • Allows your family to join a local Church Schoolhouse. IS NOT

  • A one-size-fits-all approach
  • An online school with virtual classes
  • Live teachers
  • Narrowly focused on one age level
  • A replacement for the homeschool parent
  • Rigidly scheduled
  • Focused on cookie-cutter solutions for every child
  • Boring, repetitive lessons
  • Tuition based on the number of students or courses taken
  • Prescribed order of classes
  • The work of a single author or textbook company
  • Aligned with Common Core standards
  • A distant and removed company unconcerned with your journey
  • A curriculum-only product lacking tools for implementation
  • A platform that mandates standardized testing
  • A system that confines students to passive learning
  • A service that offers only secular perspectives
  • An environment that pressures students with competitive grading
  • A subscription with hidden fees or incremental costs for additional resources
  • A network that isolates students from collaborative learning opportunities
  • A program that requires a long-term commitment without flexibility for changes
  • A provider that enforces a strict daily time schedule for course completion
  • An organization that limits access to courses once they are completed

This table outlines the characteristics and offerings of, contrasting what it IS and IS NOT to provide a clear understanding of the platform’s capabilities and focus.


Curriculum on is presented in either a downloadable or online format. There are no physical items included in your membership.

Privacy Policy

Welcome to The Homeschool Minute e-Newsletter, your weekly window into the vibrant, diverse world of homeschooling!

We are thrilled to have you join our community, where you’ll get to connect with a rich tapestry of experiences and insights from fellow homeschoolers. Our newsletter features a whole panel of popular columnists – passionate educators, seasoned homeschooling parents, and experts in various fields – all dedicated to bringing you the most relevant and inspiring content, like true stories, lessons learned along the way, and helpful tips about how to homeschool.

But that’s not all. The Homeschool Minute is also your go-to source for the latest news in the homeschool community. Stay updated with the newest trends, resources, and events that are shaping the world of home education. Whether it’s the latest educational tools, legal updates, or creative teaching methods, you’ll find it all here.

And we believe that every voice matters. That’s why we invite you, our reader, to not only absorb the wisdom within these pages but also to consider contributing your unique perspective. Imagine sharing your homeschooling experiences, tips, or expertise with a wide audience of like-minded individuals. Your journey could be the very encouragement someone else needs! Please consider querying The Old Schoolhouse® here:

Don’t keep this gem to yourself – spread the word and share with your homeschooling friends. Invite them to join this thriving community where they, too, can receive weekly doses of inspiration, encouragement, and education. Sign up for it today!

Dig Through More Resources on the Platform

  • Resources
    • Members Forum: links to the community on Facebook.
    • Certificate Library: downloadable, printable certificates to reward students for hard work in a course.
    • Tutorials: video explanations of how to use specific content on the website
    • Help Charts: free, printable information charts for various subjects, and blank, fillable forms for planning.
    • Focused Learning Centers: where to go when your child is struggling with a skill or you want to find new ways of presenting information.
      • All Focused Learning Centers: links to a page where you may select from centers focused on Math, Reading, Science, Preschool, Special Needs, High School and College, Careers, ESL and Foreign Language, Charlotte Mason Learning, Hands-on-Learning, Physical Education, Seasonal Courses, and Just for Parents.
      • Literacy Center: Teach your child to read in 101 easy steps. Comprehension activities are also provided for older readers.
      • High School Help: a complete list of which courses on include suggested transcript weighting information plus tips and resources to help you create a high school transcript.
      • Physical Education: Find on-depth information about how to determine your child’s fitness goals and guide them on their way to developing maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
      • Holiday and Seasonal Content: Find resources for each season and holidays throughout the year here!
    • Parents: features encouragement for parents on a number of topics.
      • Just for Parents: courses and unit studies to make it easier to balance homeschooling, managing your home, maintaining a healthy marriage, and much more.
      • Parent eBook Library: A collection of more than 40 eBooks about homeschooling, home and garden, finances, working from home, and much more.
      • Special Needs: provides practical solutions and helpful tips for choosing curriculum and modifying and adapting instruction.
      • Schoolhouse Expos: Think of this as bringing a homeschool conference to your living room! Enjoy videos of a wide variety of speakers covering many pertinent homeschooling topics.
      • Monthly Menu
      • Trade Magazine: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine Resources