Can I start homeschooling in the middle of the year?

The short answer is “yes”.  If for some reason, school is not working for your family anymore, you have the right to make a change. There is no deadline by which you have to have decided to homeschool. 

Think about it as if you were going to move to a different school district. Can a school hold your kid hostage if your family needs to move across the state in March? No! Can the new school district refuse to enroll your child just because you didn’t move there at the beginning of the school year? No!

You may choose to pick a time like the end of a quarter or a semester just to make a clean break, but that is entirely your decision. If your child needs to be removed from school immediately, due to bullying or physical health conditions, you can fill out the Notice of Intent today.

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However, some common homeschool activities may not be available to you later in the year. If you are planning on joining an umbrella or a co-op, however, those may have closed their registration for the year. So, your homeschool for the remainder of this year may not look like other families’ homeschools and you will have to adjust your expectations. There are some other things to consider as well:

Does your child use resources through the school that you want to continue using?

Once you withdraw your child from school, you have to return any textbooks and devices that the school issued. You lose access to any websites students use for schoolwork. If you want to continue using those materials, you will have to purchase them yourselves. Textbooks are usually fairly easy to buy on-line at used prices. However, if you want a teacher’s edition, that can be more difficult (and expensive) to get without working for a school. Access to many educational websites can be paid for monthly; however, some don’t sell to individuals. Special education services may also not be continued for children no longer enrolled in the school system, so you would have to locate those types of services on your own.

Can I just buy a partial curriculum for what is left of that grade?

If you are thinking in terms of textbooks, no, you can’t just buy chapters 12-18. However, you may be able to use websites that charge a monthly fee, instead of paying for a whole year. Or you might be able to use unit studies to finish out the year. Some curricula do come in smaller pieces, like by semester or quarter, but make sure you use the placement test on the curriculum website because all curricula do not follow the same sequence of topics. This list can get you started with finding materials: Non-religious homeschool curriculum

Is your child in high school and how will the school handle the credits?

Prior to high school or at least late middle school, credits don’t matter. If you plan on homeschooling until graduation, there is also no issue. However, once high school credits begin being earned, it is difficult to switch back and forth between homeschool and school. If you withdraw your child from school mid-year, finish out the courses at home, and plan to return to school next year or before graduation, make sure you get a plan, in writing, from the school administration detailing under what conditions they will give credit for the classes. Otherwise, your child may be required to repeat classes or even the entire year.

Other homeschooling FAQs: