If you have made the decision to homeschool your child, you are about to embark upon a wonderful adventure. You and your children will share a bond that many families only dream of as a result of the time you will be spending together and discoveries you will make together.
When first beginning a homeschool, it can be daunting at first as you are trying to decide upon the tone you want to set. The shift from mom to teacher/mom may be a period of slight adjustment, but rest assured that this is a worthy undertaking and that everyone in your family will benefit greatly in the end.
That being said, there are some things that all homeschool parents should do to ensure that they get started as smoothly as possible. This article will provide you will some tips to help you get off on the right foot when you start to home school your children.
Know the Laws for Your State
All states allow children to be homeschooled, but there are different requirements in each state. Parents should contact their state’s homeschool association to find out what the laws are for their state regarding registration, standardized testing, and other conditions of which parents need to be aware.
Learn About Different Home School Philosophies
The approaches to homeschooling are varied and can be tailored to meet the needs of your family. It is a good idea though to do some research before you begin on some of the most popular types of homeschool approaches. Learning about approaches like unschooling, Charlotte Mason, classical education and the unit studies method may give you some great ideas about running your own home school. You may decide to adopt one of these styles, or use pieces from each of them to create your own eclectic philosophy.
When you are first beginning lessons at home, it may be helpful to start with one subject, and then begin to add others as you feel ready. It is a good idea to start with reading or math, since they are by far the cornerstones for everything else your children will be learning. If you start with one subject at a time, it can help to transition the entire family into the homeschool. Your children can gradually begin to see you as parent/teacher and the shift will be much smoother than if you suddenly decide to try and teach five subjects every day, all at once.
Connect with Other Homeschool Families
Just like anything else, it is always a good idea to network. By connecting with other homeschool families, it creates a support group for you. Not only will you learn about opportunities available to you, you can also get some great tips, and also have a group of friends to talk to when things may not be going quite as smoothly as you would like. Look into homeschool conferences, which are offered throughout the year and give parents a multitude of great ideas as well as another chance to meet other homeschooling parents.
Go Into it with the Right Attitude
Homeschooling is not something that is accomplished overnight. A parent does not suddenly announce that they are going to homeschool their children, and then watch everything magically fall into place at once. Beginning a homeschool takes time, and there will most certainly be bumps in the road along the way. Many parents say that it takes about a year before their homeschool is running the way they would like it to. You will encounter philosophy shifts along the way. You will try out curriculum that does not work for your family. You will run into scheduling difficulties, and there will be days when your children just are not being cooperative. Homeschooling is just like any other aspect of life. If you go into it with a preconceived notion that it is going to be perfect, then you are setting yourself up for frustration. By knowing from the start that there will be good days and bad days, you will be able to handle them all with grace.
Be Willing to Make Changes if Things Are Not Working
Parents who decide to homeschool need to remember the reason that they are doing it: to provide their children with the education they think is best for them. They also need to be flexible though, and make changes if something is not working. There may be times when you do not think the curriculum you have selected is working out. You may decide midway through the year that you need to readjust your approach to discipline. You may find that your child does not understand a certain concept you thought they would understand, and that you need to find other resources to teach them. You may have been opposed to using technology for lessons, and then later decide that there are programs your child would find helpful.
Be patient and be flexible.
Choose Materials Carefully
Parents often feel the need to run out and purchase a large variety of materials for their homeschools. Before spending a great deal of money on materials, remember that these are simply tools to achieve learning goals. Parents should weigh their purchases carefully and make sure that they can be used for more than just one lesson before spending their money. There is no need for parents to feel pressure to provide a fully equipped “classroom” in their home.
Most of all, remember to make this an enjoyable experience for both you and your child. This is a wonderful opportunity to truly have a hand in your child’s education, and you want their memories to be fond. Take advantage of some of the resources in your town, and use them to further the education of both you and your child. Visit museums, zoos, theaters and other cultural gems nearby.
Homeschooling truly offers parents the opportunity to take their child’s learning and play into their own hands and provide them with a wonderful experience.