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
20-5-109. 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...
Know Your Students: Identify Their Personal Learning Styles
Educators have many ways of defining and describing the way people process information including learning personalities, modalities, and styles. The simplest to understand and apply involves three categories: lookers, listeners, and movers. It is helpful for a teaching parent to know his own learning style as well as the preferred learning style of each child in the family for several reasons.
20-5-110. Assessment for placement of a child who enrolls from a nonaccredited, nonpublic school.
The trustees of a school district shall: (1) adopt a district policy on assessment for placement of any child who enrolls in a school of the district and whose previous place of instruction was a nonpublic school that is not accredited; (2) include in the adopted policy the following provisions: (a) the specific assessment for placement to be administered to any child subject to the provisions of subsection (1); (b) a procedure for grade and program placement of the c...
Home Education - On the Rise in Montana
Home education of children has always been part of Montana's heritage. For the past 20 years it has continued to increase in popularity. And in the last five years the number of parents choosing this form of education has grown at an even greater rate.
20-5-102. Compulsory enrollment 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 be instructed in the program prescribed by the board of public education pursuant to 20-7-111 until the later of the following dates: (a) the child's 16th birthday; (b) the date of completion of the work of the 8th grade. (2) A parent, gua...
How I Shelter My Children
When children are nurtured, sheltered and loved, they can fully develop their social skills. Socialization doesn't just mean knowing how to act around other 12 year old kids. It means knowing how to function in our big world--a world that is much broader than the four walls of a classroom.
50 Comebacks for Homeschooling Naysayers
This collection of funny quips will help you answer that age-old question, "What about socialization?" "How can you know what to teach?" "Is this legal?" and more. 
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...
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 ...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
Montana Office of Public Instruction
This is the official website for the Montana Office of Public Instruction (the Montana Department of Education).
Resources
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.
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.
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

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

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.
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!

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.
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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For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry
For the Good of the Earth and Sun is for teachers at all levels, especially for those teachers who feel anxious about introducing poetry to students. Georgia Heard offers a method of teaching poetry that respects the intelligence of students and teac...
The National Parks of America
For tourists, family campers, and serious lovers of the outdoors, here is a big, beautiful, color-illustrated book that describes more than 50 national parks, sites, and seashores that stretch from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic coast to the Grand Can...
Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
There can be no greater delight in parenting than passing on the Faith to the next generation. To help with that glorious responsibility comes Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, a parents handbook to home-based religious instruction for the youngest ...
Name That Country Game
"Dear Pen Pal, Konnichi wa! We've been to see Mt. Fuji. Name my country! Sayonara, Michiko." Challenge your group with this fast-paced geography game, created in 1992 by Educational Insights, Inc. Everyone begins at the post office. Players twirl a f...
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...