How to Start Homeschooling
Getting ready to start homeschooling is not quite as difficult as you might think . . .
As a mother of two soon-to-be school age children, I have a growing concern in my mind over the quality of the public schooling system. Although I hate to admit it, I don't like what I've been seeing. Public schools are plagued with increasing violence, poor student behavior and unsatisfactory learning success due to a lack of effort on the teacher’s part and a disinterest among parents. Parents are often too busy to put adequate focus on their kid's education and teachers seem to be more concerned with politics, student enrollment and money than the effective education and well being of their students.
All these factors along with the opportunity to spend more quality time with their kids and become directly involved in their children's education, are encouraging a growing number of parents to learn more about homeschooling options and to start homeschooling their own children.
However, if you aren't a teacher yourself you may wonder where and how to start homeschooling. Common questions many people ask are:
- Where can I find information about how to home school my child?
- Where can I get the right teaching materials for a homeschool curriculum?
- What do I need to teach my children?
- Where can I find information on how to homeschool?
- Are there any tried and true guidelines that need to be followed to ensure teaching/learning success?
- Where can I get home school help?
First, you'll need to familiarize yourself with your state’s homeschooling laws. It is vital that you find out what the requirements are before you start homeschooling. Some states require that you inform them on your decision to home school and others don't, so you want to know what's necessary to do in your state. There are other legal issues about homeschooling that may impact you, so be sure to visit the home school legal defense and find out what resources are available to you as a parent of a homeschooled child.
As you start home schooling, it comes with it's own costs. You will need a number of home school materials and school supplies. You'll also have to inquire about the cost of the standardized tests your child will have to take for specific subjects. Homeschool testing helps to ensure that parents are actually educating their children after they've pulled them out of public school. Depending upon which state you are on, you may not be required to do homeschool testing with standardized tests. Again, be sure to check the homeschooling laws for your state.
A search for "Homeschool Curriculum" will give you a variety of complete homeschooling programs to choose from that provide curriculum specifically for homeschooled children. All levels are provided for from preschool and kindergartenl to high school's grade 12. Many packages have teaching instructions given on CD-ROM and include textbooks and workbooks for all subjects. You can also choose the option to buy one subject at time or purchase curriculum packages that cater to your religious beliefs.
There are a variety of homeschooling methods that you can use to homeschool your child. One method used by homeschoolers is called unit studies and features teaching a child everything at the same time using themes. You can choose your child's favorite theme, and look for things like "Prehistoric Adventure", "Wild West" or "Starship Academy" to bundle each subject, math, reading, history, geography, writing, science and art together into a learning system your child can enjoy.
Remember that if a child is interested in what they are learning, they have an easier time staying focused on the material. Theme based learning is one method of doing this while pairing this technique up with other homeschool activities such as field trips, and associated vacations will further help to keep your child motivated and excited about learning. Examples would be museum visits for a dinosaur and other historical theme, a space and science fair for a space theme and a Pioneer or ghost town vacation for the Wild West theme.
As you start homeschooling, you should get in touch with other homeschoolers that have one or more years experience in home schooling already. They can be a wonderful resource of additional tips and advice. Often you can find them in your community's social groups or local churches as well as find them online. Using either Ask.com, Google or social networks like Facebook, look for a Home School Support Group in your area. You'll be able to find many homeschool groups and people willing to share their experiences and provide leads on great homeschooling resources.
Home school socialization
Finally, before you start homeschooling, you need consider how you will provide your child with enough social interaction. Supporting academic excellence in home schooling is important, however, socializing with others, including peers, is equally important. Look online, in community services, with other homeschooling families as well as public school activities to see which programs and events your child can participate in. Events and homeschool activities can be anything from interesting field trips, community awareness and cleanup trips, art projects, music classes, charity runs, to organized sports.
When homeschooling your child, don't be afraid even if you didn't get an adequate education yourself, you can learn with your child. On days when you or your child is having a hard time, relax and just keep it fun. With a persistent, committed effort you'll both succeed with the many advantages of homeschooling far outweighing the disadvantages.