This page was last updated on Monday, 02 September, 2013.

Home Schooling: 101

Ms. April Gardner

Ms. April Gardner, MS

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Articles (this page):

Commitment to home Schooling
Building Bridges
Curricula Resources vs. Supplies
Overview of Curricula and Instruction

Home Schooling: 101 - Commitment to Home Schooling

There have been many concerns expressed as to the requirements, resources, and real-life knowledge required by a “Home School Curricula”. This is particularly important now that the taxes required to adequately fund our nation’s public schools has dwindled, which has resulted in the alignment of tax revenue towards anything and everything except students. If this were not true, then parents would not have to provide paper, pencils, and fundraisers to purchase books and other necessary tools for learning. Therefore, as an educator with 10 certifications, I would like to help parents who have made the profound decision to withdraw their child from the traditional public or private school environment and personally dedicate their time and money to home schooling their beloved child.

Deciding to home school your child presents a singular predicament and question: What do I need to teach my child so that they can reach their highest potential? The only answer is this: Your child’s highest potential can only be achieved if you, as their educator, dedicate yourself to preserving within your child, who is now your student, a positive sense of self. Then and only then, can you successfully instill the essential skills and abilities for them to effectively communicate in all four domains of Language Arts Literacy and in all forms of media at an 8th grade level (4 syllable words...), calculate basic Geometry without effort (this skill will prove that they can process all elements of 8th grade real-world math…), understand the evolution of World History, be able to discuss, appreciate, and express themselves through Art, and have a firm basis in Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

This is not impossible. In fact, all of this can be integrated if a parent dedicates themself or forms a Cooperative Learning Center involving other dedicated parents, their children, and stakeholders in their community or online. Once the dedication is made and the goal of preserving a child’s positive sense of self is agreed as their highest potential, then anything is possible.

Home Schooling 101 - Building Bridges

After you have made a clear and concise appraisal of your personal responsibilities and have decided that you can commit and manage your time and money to effectively home school your child, while at the same time preserving your child’s positive sense of self, then your new found career and journey in home schooling your child can begin.

  • Step 1: Decide to begin home schooling in the month that your state’s public schools begin their academic year. Plan for the future. Develop a well thought out business plan to manage your school. You are going to have to manage a school; therefore, abide by regulations regarding instructional time, and maintain records of lesson plans and testing. Why? Because eventually someone somewhere is going to ask you to prove that you are effectively educating your child, and mark my words: You will have to prove that this is true. Why? Because you have decided to exit the societal norm and will be viewed as a pariah by your local school district, unless you take positive steps forward by building bridges with your local school district, as opposed to alienating them from your decision to home school.

  • Step 2: “Building Bridges” with your local school district. Write a letter to the principal of the school where your child would be enrolled. Express that you have made the decision to home school your child, and ask to meet with them to learn what books and public information are available to you through your local district for you to borrow or own. Also, if your child was entitled to school bus transportation, write a letter to your local district’s business administration or superintendent and ask if you are entitled to a credit on your school taxes because you will not be utilizing school busing. Save every letter you write and response you ever receive from every authority involved with public education. Always remember: E-mails are not considered formal correspondence.

  • Step 3: Never argue with anyone about your local school district. Once you have decided to exit the system and home school, what else has to be said? Actions speak louder than words.

  • Step 4: Set-up a “Principal’s Home Office”. At minimum, you will need to purchase a dedicated computer, Microsoft Office, printer with fax, two leather bound journals for a daily personal diary and a daily lesson reflective journal, lots of pencils and pens, a pencil sharpener, white-out, copy paper, 4x9 envelopes, stamps, a daily plan book with objectives, an attendance register, academic desk pad calendar (17 month), and a dictionary with thesaurus.

  • Step 5: Respect your decision and regard yourself as a professional educator. Be willing to learn from others, embrace constructive criticism, and acknowledge to yourself that the commitment you have made to home school your child is 24/7, just as is the managing of a public or private school district.

Useful Links

U.S. Department of Education: 
Common Core State Standards Initiative:
National Home Education Network/States at a Glance:
Daily Plan Book with Objectives:
Attendance Register:
Academic Desk Plan Calendar (17 month):
Dictionary with Thesaurus:

Home Schooling 101   Article 3: Curricula Resources vs. Supplies

When you are establishing your home school, the most important considerations are curricula, resources, and supplies. Curricula, resources, and supplies are always grade appropriate. If you have two or more students in different grades, you will need to develop and maintain curricula, resources, and supplies specific to each student. It is also important to note that you may have a student who is in 3rd grade Math; however, their World Language instruction may be at a 1st grade level. Realistically align your home school curricula. Individuated curriculum is the only means of achieving superior curricula, which is the second major goal of home schooling.

 Resources are the tools you will need for the instruction of curricula. Resources include, but are not limited to, textbooks, a classroom multi-media library, dedicated desks/chairs, a microscope, globe, computer, printer, and chalk or whiteboard. Supplies are the items the student and you will use to implement resources. Supplies are pencils, rulers, erasers, chalk, markers, paper, etc. The greatest initial investment will be in resources, which can be utilized for several years; however, the purchase of consumables (resource workbooks) will have to be done on a yearly basis. Generally, supplies only have to be replaced or replenished at the beginning of the academic year.

Only from your identified curricula, can you make cost-effective choices in both resources and supplies. By completing the following grid and list, you can construct the basis for both resources and supplies. Models have been provided to guide the development of your home school’s resources and supplies. Please contact me at or through to help you identify and purchase resources and supplies that are effectively aligned to support the implementation of your curricula and instruction.

Student Name: Model Curricula Resources








Harcourt Trophies




EveryDay Math



Social Studies

Teach the History of your State and the USA Constitution!!!!




Earth Science



Science Lab

Lab Workbook Guide



World Language

Chinese “360”




Fitness for Life




Explorations in Art




Spotlight on Music


(Note: The curriculum is individuated to meet the student’s knowledge and skill base.)

3rd Grade Model Classroom Supply List

2 Reams of construction paper

1 Pair of student scissors

1 Box of 48 crayons

1 Box of colored pencils

40 #2 pencils

3 Pocket folders with bottom pockets

1 Soft pencil case

10 Glue sticks

2 White Magic Rub erasers

1 12” ruler with centimeters and inches

10 Marble composition books

3 Packets of (100 count) loose leaf paper (WIDE-RULED)

2 Single subject spiral notebooks (WIDE-RULED)

1 Art smock – Old adult shirt works fine

Home Schooling 101 - Article 4: Overview of Curricula and Instruction

Curricula and its instruction are the literal heartbeat of your home school. What do you teach? What is your philosophy? What are the primary skills and aptitudes that you want mastered your student(s), when they graduate from your school and enter a society that is principally governed and employed by individuals who graduated from the public school system? This cannot be decided on a whim.

Curricula and its instruction, at its most superior level, must be integrated throughout all subjects. This integration will ultimately result in your student’s understanding that all subjects are supported by each other. An individual cannot be a scientist if they cannot read and calculate math. A musician cannot play any instrument if they cannot comprehend the spatial qualities of rhythm. The development of your home school curricula can best be achieved if you, as both a principal and teacher, accept that there are qualities and achievements of the public school system that can be used by your home school and “tweaked” to your specifications. It is impossible to recreate the wheel. You can just make your wheel…your home school…a bit better by using what has already been developed and is available to you for free.

Prior to establishing your home school’s curricula and instruction, please take at least one week to study the Common Core Project { }, and your state’s entire Department of Education website. Through these you will develop the overview of curricula and instruction that you will need to know to effectively instruct your student(s). From this basic knowledge, you can create your home school to your standards.

The subjects that you will have to instruct are: English or Language Arts Literacy, Mathematics, History or Social Studies, Science with a mandatory Science Lab, Health, Music, Art and a World Language. If you spend 30 minutes per day on each of these subjects, your student will have more individually dedicated time than if they were in a typical classroom of 25 students.

Your Educational Formula

  • How many months and days per week? At minimum you must be in session for 10 months at 5 days per week.

  • Nine subject areas x 30 minutes = 4.5 hours per day for instruction

  • Gym/Exercise 45 minutes + Lunch/Recess 45 minutes = 1.5 hours

  • At minimum: 6 hours per day dedicated to a Home Schooling program of instruction that is on a regular and predictable schedule. This does not include the time required to manage the program and develop lesson plans.

**If you do not maintain a regular and predictable schedule, you cannot develop the discipline required in the workplace. Attending school is, and always has been, everyone’s first job…**

I will provide articles on each of these subjects. These articles will address the justification for their instruction as individual subjects, curricula framework, resources to assure effective learning, and portfolio benchmarks to organize and mark progress. The education of a Student with Disabilities, whom would otherwise be placed in a self-contained or inclusion setting, will be addressed separately. As painful as it may be, there are certain circumstances that cannot be accommodated by home schooling. There are certain circumstances that require a public education, due to the services required.

Please note, you do not have to be Bi-lingual to teach a foreign language. You simply have to be willing to learn a foreign language with your student. Additionally, you do not have to instruct physical education or technology. Set aside 45 minutes every day for your student to exercise, and you will fulfill that requirement. With regard to technology, all of your instruction ultimately utilizes technology. By having your student create and manage an online portfolio through for free, your student will be at the top of their class if the decision is ever made to return to a public or private school system.℠ (Right-side navigation page SSI insertion)