Considering Homeschooling? Start Here!
FIRST, Determine the goals for homeschooling.
Why home educate?
1. Some parents select home schooling because they are running from something.
2. Students may be discouraged by a teacher who does not understand their learning style.
3. The school environment may not be strict enough to force the child’s behavior into compliance or it may be overly strict.
4. Bullies may be threatening their student creating a fearful setting which prevents any cognitive progress.
5. Others choose home schooling because they cannot imagine their child gone all day away from them. They enjoy the joys and challenges of parenting.
6. Some desire a private school education for their child, but cannot afford it. Home schooling seems a viable route to reach this level of education.
7. Still others, dream of all their child could be if they custom design their education and skill building development.
Second, gain the support of your spouse.
Whatever situation brings a parent to educate at home, a supportive spouse combined with assessment of both the parent and child makes for the foundation necessary to plan your student’s education experience. Often the dad proposes home schooling for the children. Frequently, one parent is more eager and ready for the commitments and lifestyle of home schooling. Educating oneself about the time, cost, and lifestyle of home schooling creates a more successful adventure. Work together as a team!
Third, assess your own strengths and weaknesses.
Each parent considering the seriousness of being responsible for her child’s education must pause to consider her own strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps these are known easily. Write them down. Ask your mother, sister, close friends, your husband to respond to your list. Perhaps they will deny or embellish your evaluation of these qualities. Say you love to read. This feature promises that you will more willingly trudge through the book catalogs, used sales and preparation.
If you enjoyed your young years as a student, schooling might present a unexpected opportunity to re-learn and absorb subjects. Whether you maximized your own educational experiences or not, your child deserves to benefit from an on-going excitement concerning his education.
Other strengths which add to the ease of schooling would be organization, attention to details, a playful spirit, relational strengths, and servant attitude... just to name a few. From one perspective, a naturally organized mom will look ahead to the goals for her student’s educational experience as well at the year and month ahead. After establishing goals and ordering them into hourly segments or daily assignments, a mother must douse her plan with grace. A consistent expectation of the unexpected each day will allow her to adjust accordingly. Working toward a goal always produces a more productive result!! Certainly, approaching every day with just a vague idea of what must be done finds much less accomplished.
Being less organized lend itself to being more flexible. Pliable people often add great learning ideas to an already planned day. Some balance between being organized and flexible make for the best combination.
A playful spirit stimulates ideas and learning games which lull the student into learning while being diverted from the necessary rigors of school. For example, plugging away through workbook pages in language followed by a bingo word game stimulates academic progress while adding in the “fun” factor. Memorizing geography by constructing a puzzle proves entirely more enjoyable than simply working out of a book. An extensive world of educational games and manipulatives exist. Locate inspiring accessories through catalogs, the local school store, and the internet.
Weaknesses may include disorganization, poor time management, unattainable expectations, and irritability. All of the mentioned qualities may be adjusted with prayer, and proper skill training. If these attitudes would cause trouble for you as a homeschooler, why wouldn't they be causing difficulty for you know in your mothering regardless of school choice?
Numerous resources exist to improve organization. If you want something bad enough, you usually do what is necessary to get it. A mom may find herself easily distracted. Visualize your goals and remind yourself of them whenever you feel off track. Post your daily order of activities. Planning ahead eliminates much frustration. If you desire your student to succeed academically, school will start at the designated time in the morning. School books will be completed each year. Housework will be accomplished as a team.
Determine it. Pray it. Accomplish it.
Fourth, access your child’s strengths and weakness.
Effective planning involves assessment in both observing known behavior, and evaluating written testing. As a parent, you likely observe your child’s strengths and weaknesses in academics and other venues such as church and in serving opportunities. Your strongest qualities are likely your greatest weaknesses. Knowing this proves both encouraging as well as disheartening.
Annual testing aids knowledge of my student’s academic standing as well. Let me mention here that looking through testing results requires pensive effort. For example, say your student scores poorly in grammar. Noticing that the student missed only 7 of the 20 questions on this part of the test may bring more clarity. A yearly or biannual extensive evaluation benefit both student and parent.
Fifth, locating at least two experienced moms for support for first year.
Participating in community with other like-minded moms may prove to be just a much a part of your success as a home schooler as selecting the right curriculum for your student. If such a group does not exist in your area, building a cluster of such moms will be worth all of your effort. Aim to locate a group in your area. Select at least two moms that you can rely on for support as you enter this new challenge.
Sixth, determine the requirements of your state.
Once home schooling is the selected route for your child’s education, investigate your state’s requirements. Read about the requirements for several of the universities that might be in your child’s future. While this last idea seems extreme, a close look through what is ahead is a must. Many academic charts ask you to determine whether your child just wants to graduate from high school or attend college. Some students might pursue a two year degree or skill training instead of college after high school.
Seventh, read and plan.
Read to educate yourself with all the requirements as well as extras that you intend to implement. Space here limits a full explanation of this step. Determine the requirements. Select extra curricular. Find support. Locate classes when needed. Draw up a plan. Purchase new or used curriculum. Prepare work area in main part of the house and perhaps a study area in your child's room. Establish the yearly plan. Draw up the weekly and daily schedule.
Eighth, discuss big picture with your student.
Once the previously mentioned decisions are confirmed, take your child out for ice cream or a meal. Talk through your reasons for wanting to homeschool. Lay out the future as you have determined in your plans. Highlight his strengths. (Everyone enjoys hearing this type of encouragement.) Express your dreams for his future and how homeschooling is part of the development you envision.
Whether or not he is sold on the idea, it is your decision.
Caution against the currently popular child-centered parenting.
Move forward with your plans.
Some dream too immensely. (I am raising my hand in confession.) So for those who struggle with overdoing, the challenge becomes selecting the BEST and eliminating GOOD.
Think simple! Think completion! Think possible!
A conscientious effort toward doable goals enhanced by some DREAMING works beautifully!!!