Want To Homeschool But Don’t Know Where to Start

A step by step guide to home schooling

boysstudying

More and more people are deciding to take the education of their children into their own hands. Home schooling potentially gives each child the opportunity to learn using the methods and pace which best suits his/her needs. As parents, we are our children’s first and most important teachers. Why not continue on that path for the rest of their education? I know at first all this seemed so complicated, at least it did to me. I had a school telling me it wasn’t legal for me to homeschool and another school telling me I had to sign up through them. I had to figure my own way around for the first year or so and my hope is that with just a little time and energy on your part, this list will spare you from a long drawn out process.

 

Steps:

  1. Why do you want to homeschool?
  2. Create a vision statement.Determine state/local laws and what qualifications, if any are needed
  3. Determine what enrichment programs are available
  4. Determine what support groups are available
  5. Find out what your child’s learning style is
  6. Find out what your teaching style is
  7. Determine which curriculum/format works best for the both of you
  8. Set up record keeping
  9. Contact you local school to notify them if your child has been in school or if state laws require
  10. Begin home schooling

Vision:

Why do you want to homeschool? Remind yourself why you are doing this by creating a vision statement. It doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences but it should embrace the essence of your purpose. Do you feel called by the Lord? Do you see how it will be a blessing to your child? Put these things in it. Then, when you are having a week moment as all homeschooling mother’s and father’s do, you will have this vision to refresh and encourage you in your calling.

Home Schooling Laws:

The most important thing you need to do is to make sure you are complying with any and all state/local laws. Despite the fact that home schooling is legal in all 50 states in the U.S., requirements vary greatly. One of the most complete state by state information sites is found at HSLDA. From this page you can select your state and find out what laws and requirements pertain to you. You should also visit your state’s education department online.

Enrichment:

Your second step should be to determine what types of enrichment programs may be available to you. You may want to supplement with arts and crafts, physical activities, woodworking and so on. There are often co-operative groups which offer these for little to no cost. Many times you will be required to lead a session or perhaps take care of younger siblings in a nursery in exchange for services.

You should also look online for support groups in your area. Through these groups you may be able to arrange field trips, play dates and of course, have the much needed adult support system. These groups may also be a great resource for teaching materials and ideas depending upon the nature of the group.

The next three steps are key in ensuring both you and your child have the best advantage home schooling. You will need to determine both your child’s learning style and your teaching style. Plus, you will need to determine the type of curriculum you will use.

Learning Styles:

There are considered to be seven ‘intelligences’ or learning styles. You will see each in your child to a varying degree. I will list them with brief details, but I will cover them more fully in other posts.

  1. Kinesthetic Intelligence – these are people who need to be physically active. They learn through doing.
  2. Interpersonal Intelligence – these people are very social and very sensitive to their environment.
  3. Intrapersonal Intelligence – these people are very private, and usually teach themselves. They have a tendency to not do well in school and may be ‘artistic’ types.
  4. Linguistic Intelligence – these people are writers, readers and good spellers. They enjoy note taking and word games.
  5. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – these people are good at seeing patterns. They usually do well in school as this is the type of intelligence schools were designed for.
  6. Musical Intelligence – as the name implies, these people have a great ability to retain melodies. They usually sing or hum to themselves. They learn well when the information is set to music.
  7. Spatial Intelligence – these people ‘see’ their lessons. They may have photographic memory or just learn better when they have something concrete to look at.

Teaching Methods:

According to Dr. Bernard Nebel there are 4 teaching methods or strategies. (Again, this will be covered in more detail in other posts.)

  1. Didactic method – when a teacher presents the information but it is up to the student to internalize it without further assistance. Text books are in this category.
  2. Hands-on activities – when one learns based on experiences. Science projects, art lessons, structural models and gardening all fall into this category.
  3. Coaching – where the student imitates the teacher and then the teacher helps guide and encourage the student in finding his/her own answers.
  4. Seminaring – I call this the discussion method. Asking leading questions to guide a student to find answers, sparking a students thinking.

As with learning styles, using a combination of all these methods in various degrees depending on the students learning style is the best option.

There are also other methods out there such as Montessori, Classical and so on. These utilize the 4 theories above in various degrees.

Curriculum:

Your next step is curriculum. This will probably be the most time consuming portion as you may have to test the waters and see what works best. I suggest using free online resources as your testing ground. There is so much available to you for free. There are even complete curriculums! You may also benefit from using a course of study guide like this one…  http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/learning/a/courseofstudy.htm Keep in mind that not all children will be at the same level in each subject area, but this will give you a solid starting point. This is also an area where support groups can be a great asset. Ask members if they are willing to bring some of their curriculum to an outing for you to look at. Ask questions and do your research online as well. See when the next local homeschool conference or homeschool vendor sale will take place. It is worth it to take a look around and see what is out there. Often times some of the vendors will have presentations that will help you see how the curriculum was designed to work…but don’t let that stop you from using it in a different way. You will find that there are many types of curriculum. Some will cover all subjects while others only cover one or two area. Once you feel more comfortable with your choices see if you can find them used online or through support groups.

Record Keeping:

  1. Find out what your state/local requirements are for record keeping
  2. Obtain your child’s school records from previous years (if applicable)
  3. Keep a file of your child’s immunizations (if applicable)
  4. Keep a calendar as a record of attendance
  5. Keep a course of study file for each year (subjects and materials used)
  6. Maintain records of your child’s progress (this may or may not include a grade book or a report card)
  7. Maintain a folder of some of your child’s work ( a portfolio)
  8. Make a list of books your child has read

Contact your school district:

Not all states require this, but as a courtesy send a note to the school your child would’ve attended stating your intent to home school. Again, check your state laws for rules on how, when and if you need to inform the school.

Begin Home Schooling:

You’re finally here. You can start to home school your child. Don’t be discouraged when you hit a bump in the road.

You have been your child’s teacher since day one. You are just learning a different approach to educating him.

It does take time to settle in and get used to. But you will see that as times go by, you will establish a rhythm and home schooling can be a greatly rewarding and bonding experience for the entire family.

VickiSiggy

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Vicki
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