New to Homeschooling?
There are so many things to consider when choosing to homeschool your child/ren. It can be a very emotional time because you may be upset with something that happened at school and make the decision rather suddenly. You may or may not have done any research on the subject before deciding to do so. Since homeschooling is becoming much more common many people make this decision based on a minimal amount of facts and assume that because it is so successful for so many other people that it will be easy. The problem here is that you are making this decision while you are on an emotional roller coaster and it is very easy to panic when you see all of the options available and aren’t sure just where to turn for help.
Here are a few “must-do’s” for new homeschoolers.
1. JOIN AN ONLINE GROUP: Many homeschool groups have been using yahoo groups or some other type of online group to communicate with their local members. There are also a lot of nationwide or worldwide groups as well. You could also benefit from these but most importantly you should find a local group or groups. Please remember that these people are only volunteers. If you don’t get your questions answered please assume that everyone is busy at the moment and haven’t had a chance to answer yet. You may need to politely ask again.
2. FIND OUT ABOUT NEW HOMESCHOOLER WORKSHOPS: WFHESL has one group that does a monthly workshop for new homeschoolers. I’m sure lots of other places would offer something like this as well. Ask about this on the local email lists/yahoo groups that you join. If there isn’t one available ask if there is someone experienced in the group that would talk with and advise you. Homeschoolers are a very helpful bunch. We’ve all been in a situation where we needed help from another homeschooler.
3. VOLUNTEER TO HELP: This is absolutely essential to make homeschooling work for everyone. Homeschool children will have lots of opportunities to socialize with their peers but they also have the good fortune to learn from the adults in their lives too. Whether you are good at organizing field trips, classes for small children, mentoring a teen, running, teaching or just helping with a co-op, holding a park day or offering to sponsor a career day. Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily look anything LIKE going to school. The world is our textbook! We can live our education.
4. RELAX: It is so easy to second-guess your decision to homeschool. Especially if you live in a community like ours that is very spread out and resources are available but access or information is sometimes very fractured. Every time you begin to think that you made a mistake and that perhaps you should put your child/ren back in school, stop, think about the reasons you made the decision to homeschool in the first place and remember the times that you felt good about having your children at home.
Even parents that have homeschooled from the beginning may sometimes wonder if they made the right decision. I think that the reason this happens is mostly because education in schools is so ingrained in our culture. There are lots of success stories about homeschoolers who have gone on to college and careers. I see homeschooling as one of the many options that we have in life. Homeschooling is one option and choosing to do so may change your life. That’s OK! Change is good!
Here are some additional ideas for homeschooling:
Read, read, read! There are tons of books about homeschooling out there! Check out your library first (the library will be your best friend!) and then check on Amazon.
Do an internet search on How To Homeschool. Homeschoolers love to share their information. Here are a couple of good ones:http://www.wikihow.com/Homeschool-Your-Children
Find out your child’s learning style. This is one I wish I would have done from the beginning. I’m a do-it-yourselfer and, although homeschooling enables you to have a closer relationship with your child/ren than usual, I feel that sometimes it is a good idea to at least get an outsiders opinion, whether you use it or not.
Are you an Administrator or a Facilitator? This is another one I wish I would have known much earlier in our homeschooling career. Face the facts. If you are panicking because there are so many different kinds of curriculum and homeschooling styles to choose from and don’t know where to go then act as your child/ren’s homeschool administrator and find them classes, workshops or a mentor to help them learn what they need to know. Maybe you can help them learn art and/or music but don’t have a clue about math or science or the other way around. Check with homeschool groups, museums or the want ads to see what is available. Are you great at making fun learning opportunities for your child/ren but not good at finding other kids for them to hang out with? Find an educational co-op or offer to teach some classes if someone would organize one! The main point is to not get hung up on what you see as an inadequacy. Take your strong points and find other homeschoolers with different skills and put them together! There are no end to the possibilities!
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