How Do You Begin Homeschooling Your Child?
Are you ready to jump start with homeschooling your child? You have put in much thought and researched the concept of homeschooling and like the idea of being able to control your child's educational experience. You believe that a homeschool suits your child's needs a lot better than a public or private school and now comes the time for pragmatic steps.
First of all, educate yourself about the homeschooling laws of your state. This is a critical first step because each state has different laws about the requirements. There are laws related to attendance and those stipulating the need for homeschoolers to work with an umbrella school that supervises their work. The idea behind these laws is to ensure that families have a way of staying integrated with the curriculum of the state and to ensure that people are discouraged from ignoring even basic educational standards.
Once you are completely familiar with laws and feel like you can make the required legal commitment, the next step is to find a support network. As part of your initial research, you may have contacted some other parents in the area who are homeschooling. It is good idea to join an established group as they can be a big help in figuring out the initial speed bumps and also in providing a long term social network that helps the parents and the children. It may sometimes take some patience to figure out a group that is a good fit for each family.
After these broader things have been addressed, it is time to get to some of the nitty gritty details such as actually deciding on a curriculum. While other homeschooling families and school criteria will give you some guidelines, it is best to start from scratch and factor in your priorities while designing a curriculum for your child. With this goal in mind, break down what your aims for any school year are and think in terms of lesson plans and study skills. It is one of the inherent dangers of homeschooling that sometimes, despite the best of intentions, idealistic ambitions do not get translated into concrete details such as worksheets and rubrics. While quality education does not always need it, a systematic approach goes a long way in ensuring that you meet your goals for your homeschool.
This is tangentially related to another point while starting out your homeschool. Be organized about record keeping. In some states, it is mandated that the hours spend on studying be recorded and in some it is not. Either way a clear record of what is taught and a progress of academic achievement is a useful tool to have when your child has to move forward. It does not hurt to have detailed information and it may well hurt to have too little recorded data.
In getting ready for homeschooling, prepare yourself and your family psychologically for the reality of spending several hours together. Make sure that home does not start to feel like a long day at school with no real breaks. Be creative in coming up with lesson plans that allow for outings and interactions. Make sure you get enough breaks - if you are networking with other homeschoolers you can consider taking turns with other adults in covering certain subject areas. This will avoid the feeling of monotony for parent and child. Homeschooling can be a rewarding experience and a little bit of prep work can go a long way in making the whole experience very smooth sailing.