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
4) Time and patience
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.