Getting Started FAQ

This FAQ provides answers to the most common questions asked by parents about how to start educating their children at home. Please click on a question to see the answer.

Be sure to visit the AZ LAW page to familiarize yourself with Arizona Revised Statutes relating to home education.

For other frequently asked questions about homeschooling, including topics such as testing and graduation/diplomas, please review the Homeschooling FAQ page under RESOURCES.

 

How do I register my child?
Where do I get an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool?
When do I need to file the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool?
What if I am removing my child from a public or private school?
Do I need to join an organization?
How do I find curriculum?
What subjects do I have to teach?
What about standardized testing?
How long should we spend doing school each day?
What about socialization?


Q: How do I register my child?

A; Complete an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool. Have it notarized. Make a photocopy for your records. Mail the original signed and notarized Affidavit to your County School Superintendent's office along with proof of birth.
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Q: Where do I get an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool?

A: There is an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool in pdf format that you can print off of the AZ LAW page.

Q: When do I need to file the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool?

A: The Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool must be filed within 30 days of starting homeschooling for children ages 6-16. You may delay the start of formal education of your child until age 8 by noting so in affidavit. If you decide to delay formal education until age 8, you would still file the affidavit with the County when your child turns 6.

Q: What if I am removing my child from a public or private school?

A: There is no formal process or specific form that must be completed, but we recommend that you notify your child's school principal or administration in writing that you will be removing your child to educate them at home.

Q: Do I need to join a homeschool organization?

A: You are not required to join any organization in order to homeschool. However, there are several that may be beneficial to you.

1. AFHE (Arizona Families for Home Education) - By joining the state homeschool organization, you will be kept abreast of legislative issues that may affect homeschoolers in Arizona as well as other helpful information in the quarterly magazine the Arizona Home Education Journal and periodic email updates sent to AFHE members.

2. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) - Members of HSLDA receive professional legal representation to protect the right to homeschool. HSLDA also acts as a voice for homeschooling families nationwide and monitors all state legislation that could reduce our homeschooling freedoms. AFHE Members receive a discount on their HSLDA membership.

3. Local Support Group membership is a great way to connect with other homeschooling families in your area, to share ideas, to encourage, edify and equip one another in the incredible homeschooling journey. AFHE maintains a list of homeschool support groups statewide as a reference. Please visit the SUPPORT GROUPS page to see what groups are available in your area.

Q: How do I find curriculum?

A: There is an abundance of curricular resources available. You can search the Internet, talk to other homeschoolers, and attend the annual home education convention hosted by AFHE. At the convention you can browse the exhibit hall and attend vendor workshops to learn more about their products.

IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING STYLE - It is helpful to spend some time observing your child to identify the way they learn best (auditory, visual, hands-on, etc.). There are many books on the market that can help you do this. The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is a good example.. Identifying your child's learning style can help you choose the best curricula for your child.

TALK TO OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS - Talk to parents who have been homeschooling awhile. Talk to parents who have children similar to yours. Ask them what works well for them and why. Ask them what they have tried that they didn't like and why.

BE WILLING TO TRY DIFFERENT THINGS - It is important to understand that there may be some "trial and error" involved in choosing curriculum that will work well for your individual children and your family.

READ HOMESCHOOL GUIDES - Read books that describe various curricula and resources such as Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling series, Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum for Your Child, and Carol Barnier's The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning.

Q: What subjects do I have to teach?

A: In Arizona, we are required by law to provide instruction in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, science and social studies. What you specifically teach for each subject, when you teach it, and at what pace you move through the material is up to you as your child's teacher.

Q: What about standardized testing?

A: In Arizona, there is no standardized testing requirement for homeschooled students including the AIMS test. It is up to the individual parent/family whether or not to do standardized testing. One benefit to doing periodic standardized testing is that it gives your students practice taking norm-referenced tests. It can also give you a reliable measure of your child's performance as compared with other students their age throughout the nation .Other means of evaluation would include curriculum-specific tests and daily observation. One-on-one interaction between parent and child shows a parent how well their child is learning a specific body of knowledge and skills. If you wish to have your child take a standardized test, check with your local homeschool support group to see if they offer testing. If they do not, there are several vendors offering testing materials that you can purchase. Additional information on testing can be found on the Homeschooling FAQ page under RESOURCES.

Q: How long should we spend doing school each day?

A: It takes less time than you may think, especially in the elementary years. In the one-on-one tutorial setting of a homeschool, seatwork can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. This leaves plenty of room in the day for creative play, experiments, projects, exploration, reading, music, time with friends, and much more. Remember, homeschooling is more than an educational option, it is a way of life. Learning doesn't take place only when your child is doing a workbook. True learning can take place all day, everyday, and in every activity.

Q: What about socialization?

A: Thisis often the first question homeschoolers are asked. If you look in the dictionary, one definition of socialize is "To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable." Many homeschoolers have discovered healthy socialization takes place when children are exposed to people of all ages in various settings, not limited to the confines of a classroom and a group of students all about the same age. Children can learn to socialize in everyday activities such as a trip to the grocery store or library, play dates with friends, visits with grandparents, support group activities, park days, etc. Most importantly, children often receive their most valuable socialization in the nurturing environment of home and family.

Arizona has a very vibrant, active homeschool community. One of the biggest challenges many homeschoolers encounter is dealing with the overabundance of activities available to us. One job we have as homeschooling parents is to look for activities that enhance our homeschool journey without leading to the frenzied distraction of too many outside activities. Learning to say "no" to the "good" and the "better" things, we leave room in our schedules for the "best."