Homeschooling, like parenthood is a crazy ride. I often find myself scratching my head wondering why I chose to do something so insane, but then I realize how much more successful and happy my boys are than their public school counterparts - and that makes the craziness all worth while.
My Top Advice:
1) Check out the laws in your state at sites like HSDLA. While I don't support joining the site (as they don't represent all types of homeschoolers) I do like how they've presented the laws.
2) I Found Guidance From This Book Series (it goes through all the elementary grades I'm not sure about high school) What Your Whatever Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good whatever Grade Education Revised (Core Knowledge Series) I found them all on amazon.com.
3) Listen, Read and Play with your children: Learning what interests your children will make schooling fun for both the kids and you!
4) Children are Never Too Young To Learn!!I started teaching my boys from the cradle with things like 'Baby Signs'. Then I read and sang, whatever would get the point across.
5) Don't Stress!!! On your worst day of teaching you're still better than a stranger.
6) 1/2 Days!!I've found that due to the 1 on 1 (or 1 on 4 whatever) attention of homeschooling we only need to 'school' for a few hours..anything else is overkill. Also, the younger the child the less time it takes (with my 3 y/o we only do about an hour).
7) Go With Your Gut!!You know your kids better than Anyone, so you will understand the best ways to reach them and guide them. Don't let others' advice cloud your connection to your kids - You're the Queen of their World - No One Else!
8) Everyone is Different! Your neighbors', sister's, cousin's friend might need to plan a scheduled down to the millisecond - but that might (and probably) wont work for you. I've found as my kids get older that I let Them make the schedule. Sure I have to force them to sometimes learn the "boring stuff" but overall they are much more enthusiastic about learning if I let them pic the topics and times.
9) AGE SUGGESTIONS: As my kids are young I keep the suggestions to what I know - their ages *Infant (Age birth - 1.5 y/o)This is all abuot the Mom-Bond. Singing softly, sounding excited about everyday things - "Do you smell this pretty yellow flower?" things like that. Your baby is a sponge just soaking up the learning at this stage, you're just there to give the guidance they need. *Toddler (Age 1.5 - 4)Be prepared to be kept on your toes. The baby who layed and soaked up info as an infant is now mobile and ready to investigate. Be prepared to have to research something at the drop of the hat to answer all the "Why's". Read, read, read!!! Work on early flash-cards of numbers and letters and shapes for easy recognition. Use sites like www.sesameworkshop.org/ that have educational games. *When you have a youngster (Age 4 - 7)it is difficult to Not Buy all the extras. The fact is at this age range its best to stick with computer research, printouts and workbooks. They are just learning to read, do math, etc. Again as mom you know their strengths and weaknesses. Build on those. If you buy a curriculum you might find you feel pressured to keep to a certain schedule. After demonstrating writing skills just give them a pencil to have at it. My 6 y/o will be bent over a paper for hours writing words he knows - without any guidance from me. *Older Kids - they can now rebel - "I soo don't wanna learn that!" So, having some structure from a well balanced curriculum is suggested, either one you developed or one you purchased. (Purchasing one can also help with info you might not know, like certain math or science subjects.lol)
10) Fealing with the Doubters: Most mom's who homeschool have no degree in teaching...neither do we in parenting, thats how I presented it to my Hubby. If I'm a 'good' mom then by definition I'm a good guide for my children, what else is a teacher. In most of the research I've done, men are generally concerned with a few specifics about homeschooling: 1) Sports: Almost all communities have town/state sports available, if not the kids can always join something like Karate or Gymnastics. 2) Socialization: (shudder, this is one you'll probably hear the most from everyone) Our kids are not kept in a cave, in fact my kids are out and about in their learning since we do a very hand-on type approach. They are very respectful and have no exeprience with being treated poorly and treating others that way. We discuss the downfalls of society but they aren't overwhelmed by the emotional turmoil of it. 3) College: Depending on the laws of your state, you'll probably develop pretty detailed records of the schooling you do. We don't follow any 1 curriculum but I still have my huge 3-ring binders full of my Monthly/Weekly/Daily plans. (but then I'm a little OCD..lol) That being said all colleges have enterance exams and essays and they also take a look at community service. Homeschool children tend to excel at these. 4) Teaching: If you are concerned that your own education level isn't sufficient to teach your children, then pruchasing a well put together curriculum is advised. They include all the teaching manuals, reading materials, study guides, etc. So the teacher just has to follow directions. I have found that even with degrees in Physics and Geology, I have learned a lot helping my boys research things (like worms, yeech).
Designed for parents to enjoy with children, filled with opportunities for reading aloud and fostering curiosity, this beautifully illustrated read-aloud anthology offers preschoolers the fundamentals they need to prepare for a happy, productive time in school—and for the rest of their lives. Millions of children have benefited from the acclaimed Core Knowledge Series, developed in consultation with parents, educators, and the most distinguished developmental psychologists. In addition to valuable advice to parents, including what it means for a child to be ready for kindergarten, special sidebars throughout the book help parents make reading aloud fun and interactive, suggesting questions to ask, connections to make, and games to play to enrich their preschooler’s learning experience.