Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Help for Homeschooling

Homeschooling Resources
We have been homeschooling now for over two years.  It began as a reaction to the difficult time my son was having in school.  We pulled him out in the middle of the year, with no idea what we were going to do.  If you would have asked me before my son started school whether I would consider homeschooling, I probably would have laughed at you.  First, I would have asked why, and then I would have explained that I had no idea how to do it.  That was true.  It wasn't that I didn't know how to teach.  I actually have a teaching degree.  However, it is in music education.  I was pretty confident I could teach music, but reading, writing, and arithmetic?  Science?  History?  Foreign Languages?  These were pretty intimidating.  So, I started researching.  I bought books.  I borrowed books from friends, and borrowed books from the library.  I checked out every website I could find.   I found some amazing things.  Two and a half years later, people ask me if I intend to continue homeschooling, and I can confidently tell them "yes."  I have realized that there are so many resources available, there is no need to be afraid of teaching your children at home.

One thing I have found is that there seem to be as many ways of homeschooling as there are homeschooling families.  I don't know any two who do things exactly alike.  Many have found that they need to do things differently even for individual children in the same family.  I even have a friend who uses tutors for all of her son's subjects!  This is something I had never considered before, but it works for them.  He meets with each of his tutors once a week or so, and then works on the assignments at home between meetings.  If you think about it, this type of arrangement takes away some of the fear of teaching your child.  You can find individual tutors, or use a tutoring company.  Some places offer everything from math and reading to PSAT tutoring.  This can be a great help, especially for high-school-aged students who are interested in attending college.

Another option for parents is computer-based learning.  These programs either use a CD-ROM, or web connection, to deliver lessons to your children.  Some of them even give exams, and send a report card.  Some states offer their own program through the public schools, and even provide the computers and other materials for free.This can be a good option for parents who have multiple children, or who work at home or outside the house and don't have enough time in their day to teach their children directly.

Parents who have time to spend but are nervous about missing things can choose from many complete curriculum providers.  These curricula have the advantage of including everything you need to teach your child.   Purchasing one package will ensure that you are teaching everything for the proper grade level, in every subject.  You will receive lesson plans, textbooks, workbooks, and sometimes even lab supplies for a full year of school.  Some are customizable to some degree, in case your child is working at different levels in different subjects.

If you have an idea of what you want your child to learn, you can design your own curriculum.  This is one of the most flexible ways to teach.  You can tailor the curriculum to your child.  This is especially helpful for children who don't do well with workbook-type learning, or who are working at different grade levels in different subjects.  This can be done by buying a different package for each subject, or you can write your own unit studies.

There are so many options available for homeschooling, today, that anyone can find a method that will work for their family.  Most states have homeschool support groups, which can be very helpful to first-time homeschoolers.  Another great resource is the Home School Legal Defense Association, which includes the legal requirements for each state in the United States, and supports homeschoolers all over the world.  If you are interested in homeschooling, don't let fear make your decision for you.  Help is available!

1 comment:

  1. Very informative post. It is so true. There are so many different ways of homeschooling and each family must find what works best for their children and context. It can be overwhelming at first..I was pretty scared to try, but year after year God has given me the grace to press on and I am so glad I have. God bless!


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