Help!! I don't know what to do!!
I homeschooled my children for 19 years from start to finish. IT IS A BIG JOB!!! It is a job I have never regretted, but it can be overwhelming. Maybe you are not ready to take the plunge yet. You might be hesitant to take that BIG step. There are so many things to think about, especially if you are going to teach several grade levels. Now is the time to start planning for next year.Where do you start?
If you’re new to the idea of homeschooling, you will have questions. I am sure you have been overwhelmed at the different choices you have to make. How can you possibley prepare for the school year and all that comes with it? Do you have to buy a specific curriculum, or do you even need one? Before you allow yourself to get too stressed, the following guidelines might help to make the process easier.
1. Learn your state’s homeschooling laws. Each state has their own laws concerning educating your child. Some states require the curriculum to be submitted and approved before the school year begins. Some require testing every year. A few states require a weekly of bi-weekly check of a child's progress.It is the parents responsiblity to make sure you understand and obey the laws in your state.
2. Write down your educational goals for your child. Is your child one who will want to go to college or not. Are they more interested in working with their hands or is math, English and history what excites them? Taking the time to think about this will help you decide which curriculum will best meet those goals. It will also give you a guide to see if you’re on track throughout the year.
3. Develop an educational philosophy by determining what you believe to be important. While we believed that our children's academic education was important, their spiritual, moral and emotional development were even more important. Are you concerned just about academics, or do you consider character development to be equally important? Do you want your child to be able to learn for a test, or do you want them to learn to think for themselves?
4. Decide what type of personality your family has – do you normally schedule everything down to the minute, or are you more spontaneous. Knowing this one piece of information can make a big difference in choosing the style or method of homeschooling you choose. Many curriculums are very structured and allow very little "wiggle room", while others offer greater flexibility.
5. Know your child’s learning style? Are they a hearing, seeing, or doing learner? Knowing their learning style will help you determine what items you will need to best meet their ability to learn.
If your children are very young, you don’t have to purchase the latest curriculum. Spend time with them helping them learn to write their alphabet, learn simple math, and prepare them to learn to read. Small workbooks available at most discount stores. Making school fun when they are young will help form their outlook for school later in life. Use candy or beans to teach math concepts. Teach them to form their letters properly, use shaving cream or rice on a cookie sheet. As you can see, you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to teach the basics.
After teaching the basics, make sure your child has an opportunity for fun. Get involved in a support group with other homeschoolers. These groups can be a great help to you and to your children. Each mother can take turns hosting a day with the kids. By teaching something collectively while the children interact with each other, the children are learning to experience healthy competition. Plan some play days or field trips. let the children run and work off some of their pent-up energy. Having a support group helps moms, as well, especially when you have questions or need guidance.
Subscribe to some homeschooling magazines or newsletters. This will also help when you have questions because you’ll be able to see how other people homeschool and learn how they handle the different aspects of daily life while homeschooling. It will help you to know that you’re not alone.
Plan on going back to school yourself; continue reading and learning as you teach your child. When my kids got to the middle school years, I realized how rusty my algebra was. I decided to go to our l ocal junior college and take a course in algebra. I was so glad I did! There will always be new things to learn, so plan on becoming a life learner. As your child grows you may need to try a different approach. By reading and learning along the way, you’ll be better able to make the necessary changes.
Choosing to homeschool is not always an easy decision to make. However, when you realize that you can do it and follow these basic guidelines, you’ll soon realize that you made the right choice. Homeschooling is an awesome opportunity for you, your family, and your children to learn and grow together.