Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Start Homeschooling

Steps to Start Homeschooling

1.  Determine your reasons for homeschooling.

Don't be tempted to skip this step.  This more than anything will help direct your course.  There are many reasons to homeschool:  to exercise religious freedoms and answer a God given call, to pursue academic excellence, to nurture a special skill or talent for an individual child, to remediate skills or overcome learning challenges, to  transmit family values, to protect from bullying or dangerous situations at school, etc.  These are just a few of the reasons families choose to homeschool and many do so for a combination of many of these reasons.

2.  Decide what learning style works best for your family.

The next step is to figure out what kind of learners you are.  This includes the parent.  You want to be able to choose curriculum that is a good fit, making learning more enjoyable and efficient, but if the kids balk when the books come out, or you as a parent dread getting started everyday, chances are that the shoe is on the wrong foot.  Sometimes a switch in expectations and approaches can help restore learning to the adventure it was meant to be.

3.  Purchase curriculum to help you along the way.

A mentor of mine used to say that all you really need to homeschool is a math textbook and a library card.  The longer I homeschool, the more I tend to agree. There is just nothing that can replace a God given curiosity on fire.  But I have been grateful for the many texts that have walked me through uncharted territory and periods when I have been a little sloppy along the way.  In my personal experience, God's Presence in our day has been the biggest inspiration, hands down and you can read more about that on my blog.  We still use lots of different curriculum as well.  And we have wasted lots of money on curriculum that just did not work for us.  Do your research and enjoy this part of the preparation.

4.  Find some groups to link up with to help you on your journey.

Another mentor of mine compared homeschooling co-ops to a wagon train.  She said you surely could have traveled across the open wilderness solo, but why would you when you could have benefited from the support, encouragement and protection of the train that circled at night around a warm fire.  There are so many homeschool groups these days, that even in the boonies many extol the virtues of the homeschool group.  Check and google for groups in your area.  Each one has its own focus and flavor, so you may have to kiss a few toads before you eventually find the group for you, but the rewards of having friends for yourself and your children will be worth it.  Friends, field trips, fellowship, park days, specialized classes all await you.

5.  Get your children excited!

The last step before you start is to get your children excited about this new adventure!  There are lots of fun things that are a part of homeschooling like field trips, library trips, and being able to choose your own subjects to study.  Is your child interested in robotics?  Gardening?  4-H?  Martial Arts?  You have lots of latitude in planning your electives and your days.  The more your schedule reflects your family's priorities, values and interests, the more everyone will enjoy the journey together.

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