So you’re considering homeschooling? Where do you start?As with everything in life, those who prepare are more apt to succeed. This is true for homeschooling too. The majority of the structure and organization of the homeschool is up to you. Planning ahead will reduce pitfalls and improve the effectiveness of your homeschool.There are many ways of creating your plan but there are some basics you should address. Here are guidelines to help you get started with your homeschooling preparation.o First and most important, get a commitment from everyone in the household who will affect or be affected by the homeschool. Make sure they understand that they are going to contribute to the success of the homeschool.o Gather information and resources. You can get valuable information by visiting homeschooling web sites, signing up for free online newsletters, visiting homeschooling message board and join homeschooling chats and email lists. Find homeschooling events calendars online and attend homeschooling conferences. Subscribe to homeschooling magazines. Visit a book store or go to your local library.o Become familiar with homeschooling laws in your state. It is usually simple to satisfy the laws. There are many websites that provide this information. The local public school district office and the public library can also help you in this area.o Join a homeschooling support group in your area. It is very important to exchange ideas in a group. This can be a group of homeschooling friends or families associated with your curriculum. You can also find regional homeschooling support groups and state level homeschooling associations. Other homeschoolers can offer a wealth of information on a variety of subjects. They can help with many aspects of homeschooling, i.e. choosing curriculum, record keeping, meeting the state laws, and group activities. Some have been homeschooling for a long time and have solutions to difficulties you might encounter. You too can contribute by bringing new and fresh ideas. Even if you want to keep your autonomy, find a group that fits your needs. These groups can streamline your homeschooling and prevent common pitfalls.o Choose your curriculum. You can choose a complete program or create one yourself. It can new, used, shared or borrowed. It can be expensive or cost nothing. This is where a homeschooling network is valuable. Get input from other homeschoolers. See what has worked them and what fits for you. Takes cues from your children. Use the Internet or go to the library to research your options.o Set up a record keeping system. There are many different styles of record keeping. You can develop your own style of record keeping. Your record keeping can be as simple as a daily journal or as complicated as keeping track of daily schedules, and setting short- and long-term goals. Also, your curriculum may determine how you keep records. Determine what final result you want. Check out local colleges, trade schools universities and see what they require. Find out what record keeping is required by law. Consult your support group and find what has worked for them.Planning ahead both short- and long-term goals will go a long way towards your homeschooling success.
When it comes to choosing curriculum, it is a jungle out there. Choosing curriculum for homeschooling doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful, once you know exactly where you want to go and how you want to get there.It’s like going on a road trip. If we head down the highway without knowing what our destination is or what path we want to take to get there, we’ll be distracted by all the billboards and roadside attractions. Homeschooling is much like that.. Walking through a curriculum hall or surfing a homeschooling website, browsing and checking out the scenery, without a plan in hand, we’ll be overwhelmed with the choices. But if we know where we want our homeschooling to go and how we want to get there, choosing curriculum becomes a simple matter of evaluating which one is going to be the best tool to help reach the goal. You can head out on this journey well prepared and confident.Taking a little time to decide where you and your family want to go with homeschooling, understanding how your children learn and retain information, and then choosing curriculum to fit is not a hard process. There are 4 basic steps: Define your goals, discover your children’s learning styles, designate a teaching method and determine your curriculum options.1. Define your homeschooling goals:
Why are you homeschooling?
What do you want your children to gain for their future from their homeschooling experience?
Are you more interested in: advanced academics, hands-on experiences or character building?
2. Discover your children’s learning styles.
Do they learn best by listening? Watching? or Hands-on?
Will they do better with lots of short lessons each day or focusing on a comprehensive, group project (unit study type projects)
All workbooks? All computer based? All hands-on? Or a combination of all three?
How are the children’s attention spans? Can they sit at a table and do workbooks or will they be better off on the floor using manipulatives?
How much time do you, mom, have to prepare, plan and present lessons?
Some curriculums take a tremendous amount of prep time, others are completely self guided, others are a little of both. 3. Designate a teaching method – based on answers to steps one and two, which teaching method seems a good fit?
Unit studies which tend to be very hands on?
Workbooks with lots of writing, logic and critical thinking?
Advanced academics and accelerated learning?
Classical studies following a structured, chronological program?
Eclectic mix of several styles and curriculum?
Write down what you want in curriculum based on the answers to steps 1, 2 and 3 before going on to step 4.4. Determine your curriculum options.Focus on: does this help toward your goals and does it meet your learning style and lifestyle needs?
Is the curriculum focusing on the areas of academics and character growth you feel are most important?
Does this curriculum include lessons that meet your children’s learning styles? Can it be adapted to use their strongest learning style?
Does it incorporate the teaching method you want to use?
Does it fit your lifestyle, work for the number of children being taught, and most importantly, does mom have the time to do the necessary preparation work?
There are thousands of curriculum for homeschooling. Don’t waste your time or money on ones that won’t help you reach your family’s goals or meet your children’s needs. By following the steps outlined above, you will be equipped to evaluate curriculum based on a clear understanding of exactly what you want to accomplish. You can quickly eliminate any options that don’t meet your goals and needs and whittle your choices down to 2 or 3 that seem to best fit what YOU want for your family.Putting in the effort to decide where you want to go and how you want to get there will make the journey enjoyable, successful, and help you conquer the jungle of curriculum choices.
Most people think homeschooling is expensive and is only for the well off. Homeschooling need not be expensive, for example free homeschooling curriculum materials can be obtained quite easily if you know where to look.Free homeschooling curriculum does not just means a set of books but more than that, it should be part of your homeschooling plan.Here are some points to take note when choosing a homeschooling curriculum.1) Your child’s homeschooling needs change as they grow older. Also their interests, weakness and strengths may change over time.2) One of the things that happens when you get free homeschooling curriculum is that you may realize it may not fit your child’s homeschooling curriculum exactly. Since each child is different, you may need to change some subjects or incorporate other homeschooling materials to fit the needs of your child.3) One of the easiest ways to get hold of free homeschooling curriculum is to use the internet. There are many homeschooling websites online that offers free homeschooling curriculum for download. As always, you might want to take a look at it first to see if it is suitable for your child4) Another way is to join a homeschooling support group in your area. Most homeschooling support groups pool their resources and often help out parents that are not that well off. You can get free homeschooling curriculum notes, books, worksheets easily.Some schools may sometimes also provides homeschooling materials such as books and notebooks to homeschooling support groups. So it’s good to see if you can join one in your neighbourhood.You might also visit the library to get more materials.As you can see, all the above ways are free and you can get free homeschooling curriculum if you try the methods I show you as above.