FAQ: How and when to open a homeschool in Delaware
What if my child is ready for kindergarten but isn’t 5 yet? That’s okay! You can begin kindergarten whenever you like– you do not need anybody’s permission to teach your own child! Just remember to come on back and set up your homeschool during August in the year that your child will be 5 on or before August 1. We’ll talk more about why you don’t need to worry about grade levels later!
What should I name my school? Name your school something you will be proud to see emblazoned on the diploma, transcript, college application,or job application of your adult offspring. “Fluffy Bunnies PowerSchool” might sound cute now, but maybe not when they are applying to Oxford. Homeschoolers riff off of their last names, street names, Latin phrases, pet names, or aspirational characteristics. Print it in large letters on a piece of paper. Say it out loud. Still like it?
We are moving in from out of state. Where do we enroll? Just follow the steps to open a homeschool in the file below. You do NOT need to enroll in your local feeder school first!
Do we need to wait until next fall to start homeschooling? No. If it is February and your child is ready to start homeschooling, you can start homeschooling in February. Follow the steps to open your school and enroll your child BEFORE you remove your child from school so that you do not have truancy problems.
I’m ready! It’s only April, but I’m ready to start next fall! Do I open my homeschool now? The DOE will probably open your school, but I advise waiting until mid-August to open your homeschool. We must report attendance every year for the current school year by the end of July, and if you aren’t yet homeschooling this school year, and thus don’t report attendance, your school will be automatically shut down, and then you’ll just have to re-open it. That creates extra work for the DOE. It’s okay– if you want to do some school over the summer, go right ahead–you don’t need permission to start! Only open your homeschool in this school year if you plan to homeschool in this school year.
I plan to use an online school. Do I still need to register? You must still open a homeschool yourself, even if your child is enrolled in an online school. The only exception to opening your own homeschool is if your child is enrolled in a multi-family homeschool and the head family is registering your child for you.
I started homeschooling partway through the year. How do I report attendance? Only count the homeschooling days. Your child’s previous school will report their school attendance.
What if I need to hold my child back/want to skip my child ahead? That’s a longer discussion that we’ll blog about later. The short answer is that grade levels are pretty meaningless in the homeschool world! Consider registering your child as ungraded (ungraded primary for grades K-8, ungraded secondary for grades 9-12) or just leave them registered at an age level equivalent. Most homeschooled kids are working at different “grade levels” in each subject before too long, and socializing with kids across a spectrum of ages.
My child is about to graduate from K/5th/8th grade. Where do I report that? We only report high school graduation on the DOE website. We have no need to report other milestones; but get together with family and friends and create your own celebration, by all means!
I just tried to report attendance or confirm enrollment, and my homeschool is closed. Help? Please contact the DOE via email or phone. They are wonderful to work with and can help you. Chances are that you missed a deadline and your school was automatically closed.
How do I get the school-supervised homeschool option? That option is no longer available in Delaware. They just haven’t updated the regulations yet to reflect current practice.
What am I required to teach? You are taking on the burden of home educating your child, and there are dozens of ways you might approach this task. Delaware statute says only that you must provide a “substantially equivalent” education, but does not stipulate how you must do this. It is to your child’s benefit to ensure that he or she will be able to meet any future requirements for their life goals such as college or employment or military service, and you should become familiar with these requirements as part of your own research. There is no required curriculum.
Where do I find books and supplies? You will network with other homeschoolers, search online, visit local libraries, and make use of local museums, state parks, and other resources to develop your own personal homeschool library. The district will not provide you with supplies. Homeschooling can be as cheap or expensive as your wishes and creativity allow. We will be adding lists of vendors and reviews of specific homeschooling curriculum to this site as we have the opportunity, to help you get started!
Can the DOE prevent me from opening a homeschool? Under current regulations, the only reason you should be prevented from opening a homeschool by the DOE is if your child has already established a history of attendance problems or truancy. Homeschooling is about home education, not avoiding education.