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 D.C..
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
§ 38-203. Enforcement; penalties.
An accurate daily record of the attendance of all minors covered by § 38-202 and this section shall be kept by the teachers of each public, independent, private, or parochial school and by every teacher who gives instruction privately. These records shall be open for inspection at all times by the Board, the Superintendent of Schools, school attendance officers, or other persons authorized to enforce this subchapter. It shall be the duty of each principal, head teacher, or school administ...
The Characteristics of Homeschooled and Nonhomeschooled Students
One way to examine how student, family, and household characteristics are related to homeschooling is to compare the characteristics of homeschooled students to different populations of students. This study provides a comparison of homeschoolers to non-homeschoolers, both public schooled students and private schooled students, by student, family, and household characteristics.
§ 38-206. Penalty for failure to provide correct information.
Any parent, guardian, custodian, principal, or teacher of a minor who has reached the age of 3 years who willfully neglects or refuses to provide the information required by §§ 38-202 through 38-206, or who knowingly makes any false statement, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Homeschooling Alone: Why Corporate Reformers are Ignoring the Real Revolution in Education
Would-be reformers of the current educational system, including corporate altruists nor philanthropic foundations, have shown much interest so far in homeschooling's increasing popularity. Instead, they've focused on the promotion of charter schools and school vouchers. In this article, Greg Beato details some of the efforts of big business to reform public schooling, taking a look at corporate sponsorships, grants, and scholarship programs. It examines the dichotomy between those who criticize ...
District of Columbia Home School Laws
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in the District of Columbia. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in D.C.
§ 38-204. Census of minors.
The Board, or its designee, shall conduct annually, or as frequently as may be found necessary or desirable, a complete census of all minors 3 years of age or more who permanently or temporarily reside in the District. The census record shall be amended from day to day as changes of residence occur among minors within the age group, as other persons come within or leave the age group, and as other persons within the age group become residents of or leave the District. The census record of minors...
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.
§ 38-205. Report of enrollments and withdrawals.
The principal or head teacher of each public, independent, private, or parochial school, and each teacher who gives private instruction, shall, in accordance with the rules adopted by the Board pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, report to the Board the name, address, sex, and date of birth of each minor who resides permanently or temporarily in the District who transfers between schools or who enrolls in or withdraws from his or her school.
A Call to Righteousness
This essay by Michael Farris outlines why it is so important to fight for homeschool rights.
DCPS Policies
Listed here are answers to the most commonly asked District of Columbia Public Schools policy questions.
District of Columbia Public Schools
This is the internet presence for the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Socializing the Homeschooled Child
This YouTube video from iHomeschool Hangout discusses the issue of socialization and homeschooling. Guests are Sade Tagbo, Sam Kelley, Jimmie Lanley, and Colleen Kessler. The hostess is Dianna Kennedy.
§ 38-209. Court jurisdiction.
The Family Division of the Superior Court is hereby given jurisdiction in all cases arising under this subchapter.
Homeschool Socialization: Myths & Realities
Socialization is often the number one concern of family, friends, and strangers. This article takes a look at the myths and realities of homeschool socialization. 
§ 38-202. Establishment of school attendance requirements.
Every parent, guardian, or other person, who resides permanently or temporarily in the District during any school year and who has custody or control of a minor who has reached the age of 5 years or will become 5 years of age on or before December 31st of the current school year shall place the minor in regular attendance in a public, independent, private, or parochial school, or in private instruction during the period of each year when the public schools of the District are in session. This ...
Resources
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
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.
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

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. 

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!

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.
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.
Kingdom of Children : Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)

More than one million American children are schooled by their parents. As their ranks grow, home schoolers are making headlines by winning national spelling bees and excelling at elite universities. The few studies conducted suggest that homeschooled children are academically successful and remarkably well socialized. Yet we still know little about this alternative to one of society's most fundamental institutions. Beyond a vague notion of children reading around the kitchen table, we don't know what home schooling looks like from the inside.

Sociologist Mitchell Stevens goes behind the scenes of the homeschool movement and into the homes and meetings of home schoolers. What he finds are two very different kinds of home education--one rooted in the liberal alternative school movement of the 1960s and 1970s and one stemming from the Christian day school movement of the same era. Stevens explains how this dual history shapes the meaning and practice of home schooling today. In the process, he introduces us to an unlikely mix of parents (including fundamentalist Protestants, pagans, naturalists, and educational radicals) and notes the core values on which they agree: the sanctity of childhood and the primacy of family in the face of a highly competitive, bureaucratized society.

Kingdom of Children aptly places home schoolers within longer traditions of American social activism. It reveals that home schooling is not a random collection of individuals but an elaborate social movement with its own celebrities, networks, and characteristic lifeways. Stevens shows how home schoolers have built their philosophical and religious convictions into the practical structure of the cause, and documents the political consequences of their success at doing so.

Ultimately, the history of home schooling serves as a parable about the organizational strategies of the progressive left and the religious right since the 1960s.Kingdom of Children shows what happens when progressive ideals meet conventional politics, demonstrates the extraordinary political capacity of conservative Protestantism, and explains the subtle ways in which cultural sensibility shapes social movement outcomes more generally.

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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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Responsible Driving, Student Edition
This easy-to-read book features explanations of safe driving techniques and is used in many states as a textbook for in-class driving instruction. It is a great learning tool for a new driver and a good refresher for the more experienced driver.
Cuisenaire Rods Multi-Pack
Grades Pre K & up. An economical way to bring rods into the classroom. Pack contains six sets of 74 rods, six trays with, and Teacher's Guide. For use with 12-18 students.
Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo
Only children don’t have to share bedrooms, toys, or the backseat of a car. They don’t have to share allowances, inheritances, or their parents’ attention. But when they get into trouble, they can’t just blame their imaginary friends. In Only Child, ...
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
This classic homeschool resource is intended for teens who are ready to take charge of their own education. Written by Grace Llewellyn in the '90s, it is still relevant today. Teens will be empowered by claiming their natural ability to teach themsel...
Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started
Homeschooling 101 gives you the steps to help you get started on your homeschool journey. This guide lays out how to get started, choose and gather curriculum, scheduling, organizing your home, and finding the joy in homeschooling. This book is perfe...