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 Montana.
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
20-5-111. Responsibilities and rights of parent who provides home school.
Subject to the provisions of 20-5-109, a parent has the authority to instruct his child, stepchild, or ward in a home school and is solely responsible for: (1) the educational philosophy of the home school; (2) the selection of instructional materials, curriculum, and textbooks; (3) the time, place, and method of instruction; and (4) the evaluation of the home school instruction.
Homeschooling Benefits: Children less preoccupied with peer acceptance
Most people who have never met a homeschooling family imagine that the kids are socially isolated. But some new research by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute suggests otherwise. Indeed, Ray's research helps to explain why the number of homeschoolers in America continues to grow. Ray reports the typical homeschooled child is involved in 5.2 social activities outside the home each week. These activities include afternoon and weekend programs with conventionally schooled k...
20-5-104. Attendance officer.
In order to enforce the compulsory attendance provisions of this title, each district shall have at least one person serving as an attendance officer according to the following requirements: (1) districts of the first and second class shall employ and appoint one or more attendance officers; (2) districts of the third class may employ and appoint an attendance officer or may appoint a constable or other peace officer as an attendance officer; or (3) the county superintendent...
John Holt and the Origins of Comtemporary Homeschooling
Patrick Farenga's discussion of the role John Holt played in the evolution of the homeschooling movement.
Homeschooling as a Mother's Right
Margaret is a homeschool veteran who explains why traditional schooling was never an option for her children. Margaret’s narrative documents the complexity of being a single Black mother and choosing to live in a low-income housing community, and not working full-time in order to fulfill her rights as a mother to do what she determined would be best for her children. Her account also demonstrates the role of faith, spirituality, and the complexity of building a curriculum to meet her childr...
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education
Author Douglas Wilson makes the argument that education must have a foundation of religion, which informs worldview. Education is the asking and answering of questions, and learning to read and write is simply the process of acquiring the tools needed to do that. 
20-5-109. Nonpublic school requirements for compulsory enrollment exemption.
To qualify its students for exemption from compulsory enrollment under 20-5-102, a nonpublic or home school shall: (1) maintain records on pupil attendance and disease immunization and make the records available to the county superintendent of schools on request; (2) provide at least 180 days of pupil instruction or the equivalent in accordance with 20-1-301 and 20-1-302; (3) be housed in a building that complies with applicable local health and safety regulations; (4...
Home School Research from HSLDA
Home School Legal Defense Association has compiled research and statistics on homeschooling and other education topics. You'll find information about the number of homeschooled children in the country, the benefits and advantages of homeschooling, and more.
Montana Coalition of Home Educators
The Montana Coalition of Home Educators came together in 1988 as a cooperative effort of many individuals, organizations, and support groups in the state. The goal was to bring homeschoolers together to protect Montana's home school freedom while maintaining the independence and autonomy of the individual families and the existing local and state organizations. To accomplish this goal, a loose network of these groups, individuals and organizations was formed. An executive committee was selected ...
Homeschooling in Montana – The Battle for Freedom Continues
For many years, Montana homeschoolers have fought hard for the freedoms that many now enjoy. Homeschool parents need to be more involved in helping elect individuals to office who demonstrate support for Montana parents and families. Read about the battle in the spring of 2005 to preserve the freedom to homeschool in Montana.
Montana Office of Public Instruction
This is the official website for the Montana Office of Public Instruction (the Montana Department of Education).
Montana Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Montana. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Montana.
A Statistical Analysis of Home Education in Montana
A study completed in mid-1995 by the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Oregon ranked Montana home educated students above the national average. The study examined the demographics and academic achievement levels of home educated children in Montana. Other issues discussed in the study reveal that the average annual family income (median of $30,000) was similar to that of all married couple families in Montana. These families were much larger than average for Montana, with 3.2 ...
State Education Fails The Test
Children naturally love to learn. They want to know everything. "Daddy, why is the sky blue?" "Why can't I see my back?" "Why are those dogs doing that?" "Are we there yet?" And so on and so on. Then we send them to school. And all desire to learn is methodically destroyed. Many of today's citizens are products of the schools of the last twenty years, during which time the trend has been to adopt a more and more socialistic posture. Most teachers have never spent their lives anywhere except in c...
20-5-103. Compulsory attendance and excuses.
1) Except as provided in subsection (2), any parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any child who is 7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the child to attend the school in which he is enrolled for the school term and each school day therein prescribed by the trustees of the district until the later of the following dates: (a) the child's 16th birthday; (b) the date of completion of the work of t...
Resources
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!

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. 

Homeschoolers' Success Stories : 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives
Despite their growing numbers, many homeschoolers still find their experience somewhat isolating. This collection of short biographies aims to alleviate some of that loneliness. While the stories profile modern-day homeschool grads and students, famous homeschooled personalities from the past are offered up early in the book for historical inspiration. John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, photographer Ansel Adams, poet Robert Frost, and songwriter Irving Berlin join the long list dug up by author Linda Dobson. And just in case there were any doubts that fame has eluded today's homeschooled, Dobson throws in actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Hanson singer siblings, and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. The people whose stories are told here are successful entrepreneurs, Ivy League students, and athletes, such as Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor and U.S. ski team member Todd Lodwick. But to Dobson's credit, she unearths a healthy array of "regular folk" as well. Their stories are no less interesting and, most importantly, they dispel the notion that homeschooled children are over-the-top achievers and freaks of nature. Among the subjects here are an Arkansas state trooper, a private chef, an art gallery owner, and a Cost Guard Reserve seaman.

Each chapter begins with a photo and yearbook-style sketch of the personality, complete with favorite areas of study and a memorable quote. The biographies are short and insightful, with the author often injecting her own thoughts. Dobson, the mother of three homeschooled children, has written numerous books on the topic (The Homeschooling Book of Answers and Homeschooling: The Early Years, among them) and is a news editor and columnist for Home Education Magazine. In her casual, succinct writing style, she brings to life personalities that have little in common beyond their method of education. Some were taught at home completely; others for only a few years. They offer advice, warnings, and fond memories. And their overriding message is that homeschooled people are just as diverse and interesting as the students found in traditional schools. "We are not alone," is the cry heard from these pages. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

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.
Should I Home School?: How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child

Have questions about homeschooling? This book has the answers. The information in this book will help you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your child. 

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.
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
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
A short, illustrated guide to the use of Montessori classroom materials. Describes how to set up a "children's house" - an environment for learning where children can be their own masters.
How to Drive: Real World Instruction and Advice from Hollywood's Top Driver
Want your child to be the best--and safest--driver possible? This book is for you! Ben Collins is a professional driver and is a former Top Gear Stig driver. He offers strategies for increasing control and safety and to encourage fun and efficie...
A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason's Timeless Educational Ideas
Are you disappointed with dumbed-down reading material (“twaddle”) written for children? Do you wish for your children to feast their hearts and minds on noble ideas, fine art, and great literature? Are you hoping your children gain an appreciation o...
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education
In this book, Laura Berquist offers a curriculum based on the philosophy of the classical Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. This valuable tools helps home educators craft a liberal arts curriculum that is good for both the soul and the intellect...
Homeschooling: The Teen Years : Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old (Prima Home Learning Library)
The teen years are when many homeschooling parents start to question or abandon their efforts. It's a precarious time, with challenging academics, pressing social issues, and the prospect of college looming. Parents can now breathe easy: this guide c...