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Start-Up Guide

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Circumstances do arise that require a family to start homeschooling immediately.   Here are a few suggestions on what to do while reading the MDHSA, “Fine Art of Homeschooling” booklet, or wating for curriculum to arrive:

NOTE:  If the student has recently been withdrawn from the public school system, for the remainder of the school year, you can continue using the textbooks from the school district (if you are in PA) and can borrow tests.  However, plan on looking at catalogs for the next school year to see if there are better products available.

  • Utilize the resources at the local library.  The library has fun books on almost every subject listed below.  Look in the children’s/young people section in those subject area (Ruth Heller books are great for teaching kids the parts of speech). If your library does not have a particular book, ask if it can be obtained from another library (inter-library loan).  Once you have a few books to get started, try the following activities:

Read the books together as a family

Do any of the activities suggested within the book

Discuss the book / activities

Write small descriptions about the books as they are being read; non-writers can dictate their thoughts to a parent

Don’t make it painful – just discuss the concepts and things learned!

  • Learn your state homeschool law and comply with it. VERY IMPORTANT!! (see Steps on the “Homeschooling in PA” page.
  • Do low-cost educational activities for a variety of subject matter:

Language Arts/English:

Have your children keep a journal or do other writing (composition) and read library books (reading/literature). Read to non-readers.


Math can be studied when grocery shopping, cooking (measuring ingredients), using real money to make change (young kids love to play “store” with canned goods, and older kids can help them)

Games, such as Monopoly, Dominoes, or card games / flash cards


Read biographies of scientists

Use science experiment books or nature books from the library

Social Studies:

Read history, biographies, historical fiction

Discuss current events; read the newspaper

Fun workbooks for young children can be found at department or grocery stores. (Note:  Avoid purchasing too many workbooks until you determine if you want to use workbooks at all). Do not push young children (4-6) to do a lot of writing.

Home Ec, Life Skills:

Help with chores, cooking, cleaning

Count days or hours of “school” (above), depending on what the homeschool law in your state requires. If the  child was in school for 110 days, the first day of homeschoooing is day #111.

Until you completely understand your state law, keep daily records of what is being done.  The records can be kept in a notebook, if needed.  Save all of the student’s work.

For high school students, it is especially important to maintain good records (hours or days) and keep track of all work until a transcript and a diploma can be issued, either by the parent or an outside agency.

KEEP GOOD RECORDS, especially in a state that does not require record keeping! Keep a log of work done, and/or write down a list of textbooks and books used, activities done in each subject area, etc. Save samples of the work.   There must be some way to verify education to a college or employer in the future. Read more about this issue in “The Fine Art of Homeschooling” booklet (as mentioned above).


MDHSA does not discriminate against families on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin.

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