Moving to a new state can be both exciting and unsettling. Much like the decision to homeschool. Both also require careful thought and planning.
When we moved from state to state, I knew that I wanted to keep up with homeschooling no matter where we lived. I learned some things along the way that will hopefully help you handle homeschooling when you move to a new state.
Helpful Tips for Homeschooling When you Move to a New State
There are several important and practical things to keep in mind when you’re moving and want to continue homeschooling. Use this as your checklist to help cut down on the stress.
Download this free Homeschooling While Moving Checklist to help.
Before the Move
1. Know the law.
Research the homeschooling laws in your new state to see how they compare to what you’re currently doing. We moved from a moderately regulated state to one with stricter regulations. I wanted to have a plan in place ahead of time so that I would be prepared as soon as we arrived.
It also depends on what time of year you move. Is it summer, which allows for a little more breathing room in filing your paperwork? Or is it mid-school year when some states require that you submit paperwork within 14-30 days of residence?
A great place to find the answers to these types of questions is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). If you’re not a member and you’re moving to a state with moderate to strict regulations, you might want to consider joining at least until you feel comfortable in your new state. You can speak with someone at HSLDA who specializes in your state’s laws.
2. Check out homeschool groups.
Before the move is also an excellent time to research homeschool groups that will be local to your new area. Facebook is a great place to start, along with a Google search for state homeschool groups. Researching ahead of time will help you plug into homeschool co-ops, activities, and support for you and your kids right away. A homeschool group is a great place to make new friends.
3. Look for homeschool-friendly areas.
Another consideration is choosing a homeschool-friendly school district if possible. If there are several school districts in the general area you’re moving to, you can check with homeschool groups to see if one district might be easier to work with than others. It might help you make a decision when choosing a place to live.
I learned that our district was generally more favorably responsive to homeschool paperwork than another one just five minutes away. It helped us narrow down our choices when looking for a house to rent.
During the Move
Moving is a stressful time of transition for the whole family. A little bit of planning ahead can help make it easier. Here are a few tips I learned:
1. Pack a separate backpack and/or plastic storage bin with essential homeschool books and supplies for each child.
Keep this handy in the car, rather than lost amongst a jumble of boxes in a moving van. This will save your sanity and allow you to keep learning even while you’re traveling, without having to search for everything once you reach your destination frantically.
2. Make use of media during the transition time.
This is an excellent time to listen to audiobooks in the car or watch educational DVDs on a portable DVD player. Learning doesn’t always have to look like a traditional textbook/worksheet method, especially during a major life change.
I recommend Jonathan Park CDs for science, classic literature that you can download for free as mp3 files, and fun, educational DVDs like LeapFrog or Drive Thru History. If you have a laptop and an internet connection in your hotel room, you can make use of educational websites and even Netflix. Kindles are a great way to “carry” a lot of books without taking up much space.
3. Take advantage of the travel time to see new sights and make it a field trip!
History is everywhere. Odds are that there will be some type of educational stop you can make on your trip. Many are free or low cost, too!
We’ve seen old one-room schoolhouses, Revolutionary War cannons, locks on a waterway shipping line, old mills, and other small historical sites of interest. It doesn’t have to be a huge tourist attraction like Niagara Falls (though we saw that on one of our moves) to be fun and educational.
We’ve homeschooled in hotels and in the car when necessary while traveling. I figure if people can live in an RV full-time and homeschool, I can manage to homeschool on the road for a while. It just takes a little creative thinking.
After the Move
Even once you move into a new place, there is always the initial process of sorting, unpacking, and getting settled. At least that’s been my experience. Organizing skills don’t come naturally to me. And, even the best-laid plans can get shuffled when you move to a new state.
That’s why my number one bit of advice for after the move is to relax and take your time finding a new homeschool routine. It won’t hurt to take some time away from the books to learn some real-life lessons together as a family. Things like patience, grace, and coping skills are essential things to learn, too!
Take some time to learn the area in your new state. See some of the sights. Do something fun to break up the stress. Since you’ve planned ahead before the move, you’ll be ready to join any groups or file your paperwork when the time comes.
When you’re committed to homeschooling as a lifestyle, it’s only natural that you’ll continue homeschooling no matter where you might live. I hope these tips will help make the move a bit smoother for you!
Have you moved while homeschooling? What tips would you add?