So, over the past couple of months, I have stumbled on the wonderful life of “homeschooling your child”!
Now let me say this first and foremost… I SUCK at “educating” my son. I'm not the “strict, chalkboard, listen, shut up, learn, repeat” parent that I thought I was going to be.
NOPE! I'm far from that!
I'm more so the “unschooling/deschooling”, relaxed, take it each day at a time schooling mom. Why? Quite honestly, who likes to sit at a desk writing on worksheets, watching videos of learning stuff all day long? Isn't that one of the reasons I pulled my kid from the school system?
So you're looking into homeschooling, now what?
Check out your state laws on homeschooling your child.
Some states need an affidavit filed with the State's education department. There are basically 3 categories for homeschooling laws. These are private school laws, home education laws, and equivalency laws.
You can find information about what your state requires at: Home School Legal Defense Association. Some states require a lot more or much less than others. You may also need to maintain a portfolio that records the child's educational progress. It is important to look into the legal requirements BEFORE you start homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher. I urge you to sign up for a membership at HSLDA, as they can help keep you protected and if you need representation if a situation arises, they can help you.
Look for a support group that will encourage you to start homeschooling your child.
If you live in a friendly or curious neighborhood, well-meaning friends will try to dissuade you. At the very least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in your mind. A support group that consists of like-minded people will insulate you from the criticism, pressures and questions of regular school-goers.
Many groups organize fun events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops etc. And if your children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for socialization.
Here is a list of a few of my favorite Facebook homeschooling groups!
- Fearless Homeschoolers – This group is all about celebrating the lifestyle that homeschooling allows us to have. Our homeschooling days are interesting, varied, fun and challenging, and we love sharing them and encouraging others to work towards their ideal homeschooling lifestyle.
- Minimalist Homeschooling – This *global* group aims to bring together people who home school / home educate their children, and embrace, or inspire to live the minimalist lifestyle, regardless of geographic location, homeschool approach or learning style.
- Wildschooling – This is a gathering place for anyone who is passionate about supporting a nature-based, active & joyful childhood. Here we'll explore nature's role in providing a nourishing, dynamic and creative education that honors the whole child.
- Secular, Eclectic, Academic (SEA) Homeschoolers – The group is intended as a positive force, and only those people who want to have a constructive discussion should join. The group is open to people of any faith or lack thereof. They only discuss secular academics in this group.
- Pagan Homeschoolers – They want to reach out to parents that are open-minded and awake to the real socio-political problems in brick and mortar public schools in America.
- Homeschool Curriculum Sell/Exchange – This page was created for all homeschoolers to be able to list, exchange, sell, or buy curriculum.
Select a curriculum that will fit for homeschooling your child
Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the material that is available.
When I first started homeschooling my son, I headed up to Barnes & Noble and picked up some worksheet books, reading books, study guides and more to at least get through the rest of the “school year” and we'll see how that goes. I'm doing a lot of paper work this year because we've only been homeschooling since February, so I want to see for myself where my son is. I picked up the Grade 6 Complete Curriculum and he's just been breezing through it. I probably should have picked up a 7th grade curriculum, however I wanted to make sure he knew all of the 6th grade requirements first. The books below are a great starting point if you have no clue where to start.
Board games, maps, etc are also a great way to teach. Going to museums, walking through nature, etc. Those are all educational. USE them to your advantage.
You do NOT have to stick to a paper way of homeschooling. Get out, explore and have fun. Check with your local museums, they often have homeschooling programs, discounts, or may even be free.
Set certain ground rules.
Homeschooling requires a lot of self-discipline and hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the things you will need:
- Eagerness to learn
- Hard work and effort
- Time and patience
Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm. They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home. If you've notice, I've not once told you there was ONE single way that was right when it came to homeschooling.
Because there isn't.
BOOM, Mind Blown!
Don't let a single person tell you that your way of homeschooling your child is wrong! You know your child best. Also do NOT let a single person question your ability to homeschool your child(ren). If you didn't feel you could do it, you would leave them in public school.