Children in 4th and 5th grades are in the prime of childhood. They still very much enjoy play but are also experimenting with more responsibility and are generally exploding with questions about life. History, literature, and science topics can be deeper and involve projects and experiments, and they can begin some independent learning. Include your child as you choose topics and books to study. But remember, your child is still a child, so don’t feel pressured to overload your student with hours of worksheets or seat work. Finding a balance of growing responsibility with childhood exuberance is key to these years.
1) Know the Laws
- Children must be educated from age 7 to 17
- Keep an attendance record for the same number of days as your local public school district is in session
- Provide an equivalent education to the public schools
- Education must be conducted in English
If your child has never been enrolled in a public or traditional private school, you can simply start homeschooling.
If your child is currently enrolled in a public or traditional private school, you must notify the school you are withdrawing to homeschool. Keeping the child home without notifying the school may result in truancy charges and involvement of CPS. IAHE offers a form letter you can send to your school for withdrawal. There is no other required paperwork to do once you have sent in your notice. You are not required to sign the school’s withdrawal form for K-8th grade withdrawal. Contact IAHE at 317-467-6244 if your school is insisting otherwise.
- Indiana does not offer registration for homeschoolers
- We do not notify the local district or state annually for homeschooling “permission”
- We do not report anything to the state at any time
- Homeschools are prohibited from participating in state-sponsored standardized testing like iLEARN and iREAD.
- We may test our students at our own discretion. IAHE has partnered with BJU Press to offer the IOWAs standardized testing from your home.
- Home education is parent-funded, parent-directed; we do not receive any kind of funding or assistance from the state or local public school district
2) A New Mindset
Homeschool is not “school at home.” You may have a certain image of what “school” should be (desks, worksheets, and long days), but homeschooling can actually look quite different from this. Homeschooling allows you to explore a variety of different learning environments and styles.
If your child has been in public school, you may want to consider deschooling first. This time period is designed to break the habits formed by public school routines. It helps families adjust to the lifestyle difference of homeschooling, reconnect with each other, and explore the homeschool world.
Read all about deschooling in our featured article Dare to Deschool.
4) Find Community
Contact your local IAHE representative to get connected to your local homeschool community.
- Academic and enrichment co-ops
- Sports teams
- Library classes
- Local businesses offering homeschool days
- Playground and field trip groups
You will be encouraged as you meet other homeschoolers in your local community. Join the IAHE Discussion page on Facebook to ask questions from our 10,000+ member community!
5) Learn about Homeschool Styles and Curriculum Options
Click over to the Homeschool Styles article to learn about some of the popular homeschool styles like Classical, Charlotte Mason, and more. There are many more ways to teach and learn than textbooks and quizzes!
Next, check out How to Choose Curriculum Part 1 & Part 2. Think about your educational philosophy (what is the purpose of education and what you hope to accomplish through it), and the many curriculum styles that are available. Include your kids in this process by asking their interests and showing them samples. Let your children be owners of their education, not passive consumers!
Check out the IAHE Curriculum and Resource Directory for more curriculum suggestions and links!
6) Jump In!
Helpful hints to get started:
- 4 & 5th graders are still kids. Be sure to leave plenty of time for free play, quiet time, and field trips.
- Aim for a maximum of 20-35 minutes per lesson for each subject. Quality, not quantity.
- Aim for 2-2.5 hours daily for all required schoolwork. Use all the extra time for free play, hobbies, diving deep into a favorite school subject for fun, field trips, or free reading time!
- Begin to teach skills for independent work and time management. Subjects like handwriting, written narrations, and personal readings are easy to begin with. Introduce time management skills with a customizable, printable IAHE planner (free to Premium and Supporting IAHE members!)
- Rotate lessons daily. Math, reading, handwriting, and Bible benefit from daily study, but rotate the other subjects 1-3 times per week for variety. You don’t need to do every subject daily.
- Teach multiple ages together for “family style” lessons as much as possible, like history, literature, and science. Add additional assignments for older kids, and decrease or modify assignments to scale down for younger kids.
- Don’t panic if you find that your child needs to back up and re-learn some concepts like basic math or phonics. It is common that kids coming from public schools have gaps in their knowledge. Look for curriculum from lower levels to relearn the concepts, then move forward.
- Let go of “my child is behind” thoughts. Kids don’t mature into their education at the same rate. Homeschooling allows you to re-do lessons to help your child truly master skills and concepts without the pressure of needing to “be ready” by August for the next grade level. Go at your child’s pace to relearn and master skills.
- Get outside! Fresh air clears away bad moods as well as stinky kid feet smells. When it gets to be too much, put the books away and get out for a walk, stroll, ride, or run.
- Be bored! Boredom is the best teacher. Kids coming from structured school environments will struggle with this. Teach them how to entertain themselves (and give you some quiet time!)
7) Still Unsure?
Check out our K-8th Scope & Sequence guide. But remember, no child matures or learns at the same pace. Your child may be “ahead” or “behind”, and it doesn’t matter. Progress at the pace your child needs to master concepts before moving on.