I've been researching homeschooling for awhile now, it's something we've talked about at great lengths. It's overwhelming and the way the information is written for the state of California is confusing...there's all this legal and technical talk about requirements about affidavits, attendance and records. I spent days trying to translate it to English, it seemed like it was written in Latin. Here's the break down of what I learned from reading, e mailing and websites dedicated to navigating the homeschool world.
1. The dreaded, confusing and intimidating private school affidavit...PSA
This is actually a really simple form that can be submitted online from the comfort in your own home while in your pajamas, with a glass of wine in my case. I found all the help I needed at http://www.californiahomeschool.net/howTo/psa.htm
They walk you through all the questions and the correct way to answer each one.
2. Record keeping and attendance.
This one is a lot easier than it sounds. All you really need is some sort of record keeping system, I've decided to use a binder system for this. A simple monthly calendar is all you need, put a check mark on each day you have instruction. I have decided to go a little further and mark the start and end time of school and a check mark for completed homework. This will be the easiest way for me to track it at a glance, 2 check marks means that there was instruction that day and the homework was completed, 2 "x"s means no school or homework, and the amount of time we had school.
Record keeping is also another easy task. I've taken a large file box with hanging file folders tabbed off for:
Artwork (were still parents and keep every handprint right?)
Behavior records (I plan on being as much like a regular school as possible)
*Prior records (I've broken this down by district since she's been in 3 different districts)
Medical records and information ( schools keep emergency cards, allergy info and medications. This is simple and necessary for homeschool also)
The "*" are required by the state of California. You don't need every piece of work completed or every test, just enough to give an idea to your child's progress, and quality of instruction/work.
If you ever transition your child back into public school or any other accrediated school all you have to do is a quick trip to kinko's for a copy and the new school will have everything they need.
3. There are so many free resources out there on the web.
The amount of free lessons, templets, worksheets and useful resources out there, it just takes some time and digging. Here's a short list of a few of my favorites.
http://gwschoolcatalog.com/ - this is my personal favorite. Tons of supplies at a great price.
Homeschool laws/information/guidance for California:
http://www.californiahomeschool.net/ - this is one of the best websites or laws, information and guidancehttp://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq/psfaq.asp - state of California website
http://www.homeschoolmath.net/ - great math worksheets
Resources / lists of sites
http://donnayoung.org/forms/ -this site is the best for all kinds of lesson plans, organization ideas, and worksheets
This is just a small list, do a little digging there's tons of blogs that have ideas, information and guidance all for free.