Start Homeschooling Today
Keep it Legal
Each state in the U.S., and also each country, has it's own set of rules and regulations when it comes to homeschooling. Get online and find out what the laws are in your area. Even if you don't agree with the government telling you how your children should be taught, you want to make sure you are following their guidelines for your family's sake and also for all fellow homeschoolers. Breaking the law won't help any of us. The best website out there to find out what you need to know is www.hslda.org. (homeschool legal defense)
They've Got Your Back
It is not required but I feel it is very important to join The Homeschool Legal Defense. As I mentioned above, www.hslda.org. At about $10/month you receive a phone number to call anytime with a knowledgeable lawyer on the other end. So when the nosy neighbor has been looking for a reason to report you for anything because she just doesn't like homeschooling, and she sends someone to knock at your door to question you....whip out your hslda card with that phone number on it, and they'll do the talking for you. Most likely you will never need it, but there is great reassurance in having it. Unfortunately not everyone understands that what you are doing is trying to make the world a better place, not worse. I have been homeschooling for a very long time, and paying that money toward hslda the entire time. That money is used not just for me but for others who need help, often in other countries where the persecution is much greater.
" Children need what we rarely give them in school - time for "messing about."
~ John Holt
Hang Out With Your Kids
Ok, you've done the boring part. You know the laws and you've taken the necessary steps to make sure everything is covered. Now comes the great part....getting to know your children. If they have always been home then maybe you know them pretty darn well already. Sometimes we spend our days going about our business and not really having conversations with them. So you may want to make sure you are purposely doing that. One of the secrets to having children who will want you to be their teacher, is to win their hearts. The way to their hearts is by entering their world and really listening.
If you are bringing your child home after he/she has been in school it may take a little more time to "click." You've always been mom and of course you and your child share a love that only a mother and child can share. However your child has seen their teacher in school as the one who is responsible for their academics, and in a sense he has been respecting that teacher's authority in those areas, which he should. Now that he is he home it will take a little time to get to know each other as mother and child and teacher and student. The goal will be to make homeschooling an extension of your life. So you aren't mom and teacher. You are just mom. And mom (or dad) is in charge of my education.
It may be helpful at this time to not worry about book work for a while. It can easily be made up. You will have to check the laws in your state however. Some require a strict schedule. Either way, plan plenty of time for detox. You and your child are both conditioned to viewing education in a certain way, and now those views are changing. This can be especially tricky if you are bringing a high school student home whose entire academic career has been in public school. I've seen great outcomes in these situations, as far as parent/ child relationship go. Just be prepared for a longer detox period. Plan a lot of, what I call "couch time," to sit and talk about whatever is on their mind. Before you know it your child will look forward to that time more than anything.
During this getting to know you time, you will start to see what your child's learning style may be. This can be helpful in deciding on curriculum and what kind of methods you'll implement in your homeschool. (see my article on homeschooling philosophies) This is the beauty of homeschooling! As you cater to their own learning style you will see great improvements in how and what your child is learning!
Fill The Book Shelves
Time to bite the bullet and order some curriculum. Certainly if you've gotten this far, then by now you have been googling the many options when it comes to curriculum. When people who aren't involved in homeschooling ask me where I get my supplies, it's kind of funny. I don't laugh at them of course. I usually say it's one of those things where you have no idea how much is available until you get into it. The curriculum choices are overwhelming. It's best to start with what makes you comfortable, or even what gets you excited to get started. Either way, make sure it is a choice that you feel you can use to truly accomplish your goals for your child, not the goals someone else may have. You will burn out quickly if you are trying to measure up to someone else who may look like they have it all together, but when no one is looking they are feeling extreme pressure and a lack of joy from trying to do too much. I'm just trying to say that it is extremely important to choose your curriculum for you and your family based on your research, knowledge and feelings. The reason there is so much to choose from is because there is such a variety of people doing the choosing. Have fun researching. It's a whole new world if you haven't done it before. You will most likely get very excited about the many possibilities of opening new doors in your child's education.
I would like to point out that if you are too overwhelmed to choose immediately but want to get started, then just visit your library, bookstores, and teacher supply stores. Get the basics, reading, writing, and arithmetic going. Then keep adding a little at a time. You could buy a math curriculum and possibly get ever other resource you need at the library.
I have wasted an embarrassing number of hours working on schedules for my children and I. I seem to enjoy the process. It's like solving a puzzle or a difficult math equation, trying to figure out how to squeeze in academics, one on one time, meals, lessons outside the home, chores, free time, mom time, social time, etc.. After I solve it, create it all color coded, and hang it on the wall, it simply becomes a decoration. For myself, personally, I have found I work best with a very loose schedule and actually don't even bother writing one out anymore. We just have a basic routine and order each day. Everyone will be so different in this area as well. You have to find what works for you. Some are paralyzed by a schedule, (that's me:)) and others are paralyzed without one.
What I can suggest here is that you get started on working together and you will begin to see a schedule take place. As you see what is working and not working for your family, you can then start jotting some schedule ideas down. Your friend who homeschools may need an exact time and time limit for each step of her day. You may prefer a schedule that just reminds you of the order of events for the day, without any time restraints. You might be surprised in this area as you are now getting to know some new things about yourself!
Last but not least, find some like minded friends, for yourself and your children.
I prefer to have many different people in my life. I don't enjoy knowing only homeschoolers. However there are times when I need the support of someone who understands why I do what I do. Sure I have friends who don't homeschool and tell me I am amazing and oh so patient, but I can't help but feel when they say that, that what they really mean is.."better you than me!" Actually some do really say that. So I find it refreshing at times, just like in any endeavor in life, it is helpful to talk with someone who can truly understand.
Google is always a great option. I have moved many times and have always managed to find support wherever I go. You can even google Christian, secular, all inclusive, whatever you are looking for, there is probably a homeschool group to suit your needs. If not, start one of your own. This is when the internet is very helpful. I just found www.home-school.com and clicked on groups...very helpful site. Find your country or state and scroll through the different groups. Joining forums and chiming in on blogs can even be a means of support.
Enjoy this journey and give it time to become a part of your life. It is well worth it.
" We're not trying to do "School at Home." We're trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We're not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we're trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The "formal" portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg. " ~Steve and Jane Lambert