You've decided that homeschooling is the perfect choice for your family. You're both excited and worried. This is an important decision for your family and you want to make sure you're doing what's best. Here are five important steps that will help you begin your homeschooling program so you can relax and worry less.
When I started, many people asked me how our children would be socialized in such a restrictive environment. I imagined they thought our children would sit at the kitchen table, all day, doing their school work. They were wrong. You don't have to stay home. The world is your classroom.
Know your state's requirements
The best way to learn your state's requirements or laws is to visit Homeschool World and click on their groups page. Find your state and click on the homepage of your state's main homeschool group. It's usually the first group listed. Click on their home page. You will find a lot of information, including local groups and state laws.
Choose the method of homeschooling that best fits your family
Books such as The Homeschooling HandbookorThe Unschooling Handbookand websites such as Homeschool World are great resources to help you decide.
Another great resource is your local homeschool group. You'll find yourself among other families that have made the same decision and went through the same processes and concerns. They'll be more than willing to help you understand different methods so you can decide which one is best for your family.
I've homeschooled for 18 years and I still follow this advice: The first year is a learning year for you and your family. You cannot ruin your children during that year, but, if you do nothing, you may. Remember the reasons why you want to homeschool and don't be afraid to change your method or curriculum so that your homeschool program is the best for your family.
Choose your curriculum
Our local group has a meeting near the beginning of the school year to discuss curriculum. If your group doesn't meet or you missed it, ask the families in your group for advice. You will learn about a variety of curriculum and reasons for their choices. I listened and looked and decided on a mixed curriculum. This has worked well for our family. With different children, I did change a particular subject's textbook or method, but, overall, all five children are using the original curriculum.
Another resource for curriculum choices is HomeSchool Reviews. This site's purpose is to supply curriculum reviews from homeschooling families and to discuss curriculum and issues related to homeschooling.
You may prefer choices offered in this book,Homeschool Your Child for Free.__ Or, you may choose a specific company's curriculum or even mix them as I did. I've used A Beka curriculum for many of our subjects so I'll use them as the example. Click on your child's grade level and you'll see the cost of obtaining all the subjects needed in a kit or you can buy the books you want separately. They even offer an academy.
I purchased most of our curriculum materials used at HomeSchool Talk and Swap page of the vegsource.com website. Click on the items for sale at your child's grade level and search for your curriculum choices. Your local group may also have sales from time to time. If you need other sites, don't forget eBay, amazon, half.com or put your needs in your search engine and see what comes up. As you can see it will be easy to stay within your budget.
Be a family
You don't have to homeschool the same way you learned. There might be times they sit at the kitchen table for book work, writing (essays, stories, poetry, journals, journalism) drawing, sketching or painting - or maybe not. Maybe this all takes place in the grocery store, at the beach, at a museum, town hall, town meeting, the library or tour of a business. Don't be afraid to take to the streets and allow each of your children the chance to explore and grow.
You know what's best for your family. Choose the method and curriculum you feel will enhance and move your families' educational needs forward. Be willing to change if or when necessary. Read, research and ask questions and you'll be able to offer the best educational experience and needs for your family.