Getting Started on Your Homeschool Journey
There is so much information about homeschooling that it can seem overwhelming. We've gathered information to help you make your homeschooling decision and to inform you about laws and other legal issues. Here you'll find research and statistics that support the notion that homeschooling provides specific advantages to children and families. And we'll help you take the first steps on the road of your own homeschooling adventure.
Why Homeschool?
The first step to homeschooling is making your decision to home educate your child. It is important to become informed and knowledgeable about some of the main concerns you may have. Explore these areas of our website to learn more about the initial decision to homeschool.
How to Begin
You've decided to homeschool your child! But what comes first? For many parents, knowing where to begin in the homeschooling process can be confusing. Although there seems to be so much information available, it may be hard to get your questions answered. We've put together some resources to start you on your journey, giving you the information and motivation you need to successfully begin to homeschool in Massachusetts.
Legal/Homeschool Laws
Laws that regulate home education vary from state to state. It is important to understand the legal requirements in your state and to be aware of legislative and other legal issues that affect homeschoolers in your community. We've compiled resources that will help you become informed. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and the vast majority of homeschoolers face no problems, you may find that you need legal assistance at some point in your homeschooling career. We've compiled a list of resources to help you find the support you need. And if you'd like to become more involved in working towards homeschooling freedoms, we discuss some of the issues facing homeschoolers that we hope you find compelling.
History of Homeschooling
How did homeschooling start? When did it become legal? Who were the key players in making homeschooling the social movement it is today? The story of the history of homeschooling in the United States is a compelling tale of dedication, innovative ideas, and personal conviction and sacrifice. We have put together a history of this educational and social phenomenon, hoping it will inspire you to learn from the early and more recent pioneers of home education in America.
What's Popular
Ten Points from the Supreme Judicial Court's Decisions
A discussion of the Supreme Judicial Court's decisions (Charles and Brunelle) that affect homeschoolers.
Brunelle, in Brief
A summary of the Brunelle decision and its effect on home education in Massachusetts.
How to Comply with Vermont's Homeschool Law
Vermont law specifically refers to homeschooling in 16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(21) and 16 V.S.A. § 166b. To homeschool under this statute, you’ll need to follow these guidelines. Necessary steps include sending in a written enrollment notice, submitting a narrative describing the content to be provided in each subject area, obtaining acknowledgement of compliance, teaching the required subjects and assessing your child annually. 
Compulsory School Age in Vermont
The laws in Vermont state that you must enroll your child in school from the day he or she turns 6 years old until he or she turns 16. This HSLDA article details the Vermont state compulsory school age regulations. 
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM)
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) is a nonprofit, independent, grassroots, volunteer-run, educational organization that gathers and disseminates information about homeschooling in Massachusetts through education, advocacy, and events.
How to Withdraw Your Child from School in Vermont
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
Sample Education Plan
Provided by Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts.
In the Matter of Johnna M. Searles (1990)
In this District Court Opinion, the judge denied the request of school authorities that the child be ordered to enroll in school pending the approval of the home education program, stating such an order would be "premature at the present time." She stated that the interests of all parties "are best served if they proceed expeditiously in a serious effort to resolve the matter by agreement."
Homeschool Guidelines at a Glance
A discussion of the laws regulating home education in Massachusetts, including school authority oversight, approval and evaluation, and responsibilities of school authorities and parents.
History of Massachusetts Compulsory Attendance Law (Statutes from 1852-1913)
A brief look at the history of the Massachusetts Compulsory Attendance Law from 1852. Compiled for workshop on History of Compulsory Attendance. Research done by Nicky Hardenbergh at the State Archives.
Chapter 71: Section 3 Physical education.
Section 3. Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in all grades for all students in the public schools for the purpose of promoting the physical well-being of such students. Instruction in physical education may include calisthenics, gymnastics and military drill; but no pupil shall be required to take part in any military exercise if his parent or guardian is of any religious denomination conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, or is himself so opposed, and the school commi...
Massachusetts Home Education: Information for Superintendents
Lists court rulings on home education in Massachusetts, a summary of guidelines for home education in Massachusetts, FAQ for Superintendents, relevant documents, and more.
Tips for Writing Your Education Plan
Practical ideas and tips for composing your education plan, with some examples of key phrases and paragraphs you may wish to use.
Michael Brunelle et al., vs. Lynn Public Schools (1998)
The Charles decision left the door open on the question of whether or not home visits might be required as a condition of approval of a home education plan. In 1998, in the Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools, that question was settled: home visits could not be deemed "essential" in determining if education was taking place; therefore, home visits could not be required as a condition of approval. (The Court did not exclude the possibility that such visits might be required in exceptional cases.) In...
MHLA and Legislation
The Massachusetts Home Learning Association lists its current and past lobbying issues and actions. Some years as many as 10,000 bills are filed before the Massachusetts State Legislature; typically only about 300 become law. Most simply die in committee. When evaluating news of threatening legislation, MHLA urges you to check facts and question everything. Once a volatile e-mail begins to move through a network, various assumptions and speculations appear in subsequent posts. These both get pas...
Resources
Should I Home School?: How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child

Have questions about homeschooling? This book has the answers. The information in this book will help you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your child. 

The Homeschooling Revolution
A readable, scholarly overview of the modern day homeschooling movement. Includes vignettes from homeschooling families, war stories, research information, media reaction, footnotes, and statistics.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
These 13 essays, presented at the 1993 National Grassroots Speakout on the Right to School Choice, illustrate how education reform actually works. Written by award-winning teachers and their students, these essays present successful teaching methods that work in both traditional and nontraditional classroom settings. “Gatto’s voice is strong and unique.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
They're Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate

For many people, their schooling was uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes a waste of time and energy. This book offers the idea that the public school system is tragically flawed and that we are able to do better for our own children. Sam Sorbo, mom of three and wife of actor Kevin Sorbo, took the leap into homeschooling and found the joy and success she was seeking. Included are strategies for working parents, those who are scared to take the leap, and anyone who wants the best for their children. 

Featured Resources

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First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind
Includes scripted lessons and lovely illustrations to offer encouragement and understanding to children in grammar, copywork, narration, picture study, and other classical technique. These lessons will help develop the student's language ability and ...
I Learn Better by Teaching Myself/Still Teaching Ourselves
Take a look at how a homeschooling mother learned to trust her children-and herself-to learn in new ways. Tag along on the journey from the elementary years through high school as this book explore the success and freedom of unstructured learning. Th...
Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
There can be no greater delight in parenting than passing on the Faith to the next generation. To help with that glorious responsibility comes Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, a parents handbook to home-based religious instruction for the youngest ...
Should I Home School?: How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child
Have questions about homeschooling? This book has the answers. The information in this book will help you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your child. 
Pass Your New York DMV Test Guaranteed! 50 Real Test Questions! New York DMV Practice Test Questions
This book is written by a former DMV classroom instructor. He shares the 50 most common questions and answers to the New York DMV written test. A great guide to help your teen pass the DMV test on their first try.