Monday, July 22, 2013

How to Homeschool Your Child

 We are starting a new school year. Many families are taking their first steps in their homeschool journey. I want to share some thoughts to help you get started or to get back on track. Our oldest is in his last year of high school and is also looking into a few dual enrollment courses at the local community college.


 You have decided that homeschooling is the way to go for your family, now what?


Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate your child, get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety - homeschooling has its ups and downs, but the rewards more than make up for it. Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded personality is no small achievement.

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home schooling. Some states need an affidavit filed with the State's education department. You may also need to maintain a portfolio that records the child's educational progress. It is important to look into the legal requirements BEFORE you start homeschooling so you know what to expect. This is also true for the veteran homeschooler that is planning to move to a different state, the laws vary state by state. Some States also stipulate a minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher. Visit HSLDA for to learn about your states laws and many other resources!

Next, look for a support group. Many well-meaning friends and family may try to dissuade you; or they may put a lot of uneasy questions in your mind. A support group is a great place to go for resources support and answers to many of those questions. Many groups organize fun events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops etc. And your children will be able to build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for socialization.


The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits
your child. Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the material that is available. It is not necessary to pick any one curriculum for every year or even for every subject. Use what works and move on from what doesn't.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of self-discipline and hard work. Here is a of the some things you will need:

1) Eagerness to learn
2) Hard work
3) Discipline
4) Time and patience
5) Flexibility
6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and your reasons are important pillars on which to build you homeschooling experience. Include your children in the decision making process. The more involved they are in the planning, the more enthusiasm they will have for the learning process.

Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling. Look into the various methods of record keeping. You can check out my post on record keeping here. Set up a schedule. Your child does not have to "do school" 6-7 hours a day. Allow him or her to determine the time, some kids learn better first thing in the morning, while others do better later in the day after they have had time to get moving and burn off some extra energy. Flexibility and fun are the cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a single term or year. Prepare a skill list. Then guide your child in learning the skills that he is ready for. Don't stress if you don't complete the entire list. Remember, flexibility is key, allow your child to explore their own interests and find ways to incorporate the basic skills into it.  Make learning a part of everything you do and make it fun.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm. They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home.

Congratulations and good luck in making one of the most important decisions you will make in your childs education.




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24 comments:

  1. It is so nice to have the flexibility to set your own schedule in homeschooling. We always start late on Monday mornings, to recover from late weekend nights. It works for us.

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    1. The flexibility is nice. I actually have one that starts first thing in the morning and gets her independent work out of the way, and another one that is a slow starter and waits until after lunch. I have found that by letting them set their schedule, there is less arguing.

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  2. My sister has considered home schooling her youngest one. There is some very good tips here and some great advice.

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    1. Good luck to your sister and I am happy to help out with any resources or information I can offer.

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  3. Lifelong homeschool graduate checking in! :) I think it's fantastic how the Internet has revolutionized homeschooling. I remember how my parents had to mail away for homeschool magazines and materials via snail mail during the '80s and '90s.

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    1. I have one graduating next year and one starting first grade this year. I am amazed at the difference the internet has made in obtaining resources and information now versus when we first started.

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  4. I don't homeschool my daughter but this post and tips are surely a big help to those who are planning for homeschooling their kids!

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  5. There is a lot of Bias when it comes to how certain things are taught in public schools. It's good to know that there's an alternative.

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    1. I agree. I really like that the values my children learn first are mine.

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  6. I would be so very interested to learn if there was a program for special needs kids. I do what I can at home while he is on summer break. Not sure if am qualified to teach special education

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    1. I have a daughter on the autism spectrum. I found a lot of resources on Autism Speaks. Also Montesorri is a great method for helping children with special needs, it is a very tactile type of learning. Just remember, no one will love your child or care for your child like you will! Good luck with whatever you decide and if I can help you find resources, let me know.

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  7. We've been homeschooling for nine years. :-) We're unschoolers and we love it! I run a local homeschool group in my city also.

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    1. Wish we were in the same city! We are rather eclectic homeschoolers. We do a little of this and a little of that. I'll use workbooks or bits and pieces of a curriculum that fits in what we're doing. I've also been know to bake a cake to help cement some math concepts. I just love the flexibility to be able to do what works best for each child.

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  8. I don't homeschool my children, but I did enjoy reading about the ways to build community and a good learning environment for those who do.

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  9. I sometimes regret not homeschooling my kids, but it's too late now their all done! I enjoyed your post! Thanks

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  10. I homeschool during the summer months so my child is still ready for the learning process.

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  11. I found what you wrote about letting the children pick the hours to be really interesting. My first thought was that without an established, set routine, I would imagine that the child would try to get out of the max amount of hours of studying. But maybe I'm wrong!

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  12. I've been thinking about homeschooling. Great tips!

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  13. I admire you for homeschooling your children. I know how much work it can be. I've seen the outcome of those who have graduated from homeschool. Continued success!

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