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When you have reached the decision to implement a homeschool program into your family's educational goals, it is important to acquire as many information references and resources as you can in order to feel comfortable with your new role as an educator. While you have always been your child's first teacher, your role is always changing and growing.
Homeschool programs offer a family the freedom to learn and grow together; however, with this freedom is also a great responsibility to insure that your child meets or exceeds the established grade level expectations for your state. Before you withdraw your children from their current educational program, make sure that you read as many homeschool books, magazines, websites, and other resource materials that you can to fully prepare yourself for this new role in parenting. If you are seeking a co-op that operates and maintains a similar belief structure as your family, there are many different resources on the Internet and in educational directories that will help you find a co-op that is right for you.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is you will have the opportunity to shop for curricula that foster a love for all people. Only when a person (even a child) has a grasp on the real truth in the world will they be able to understand, interpret and have a serious opinion about the world and their place in the world.
If your children do not seem excited about homeschooling, find out why they are concerned. The most common fear is that they will have no friends. Help them make out a list of homeschool pros and cons. The pros could include the option of being able to travel during the school year, joining groups and co-op programs where they can make friends or that they could do schoolwork online. Talking about your children's concerns with them can go far in helping them see that homeschooling is not a bad thing.
If your spouse is reluctant to homeschool it may be due to a concern
about finances. While homeschooling is less expensive than other forms of schooling, if one parent has to leave work to homeschool it may put a crunch on the budget. One way to see if homeschooling is a viable option for your family is to make a list showing the money saved by homeschooling and the money lost by homeschooling.
Money will be saved on things such as clothes, lunches, fees, gas, childcare for babies and toddlers and other miscellaneous expenses that go along with school and work. Money lost by homeschooling would be the parent's paycheck. Once you have this list you will see the homeschool pros and cons and you will know if it is a viable financial option for your family.
I am the world`s most organized person! I am so organized, experts ask me for advice! I am so organized... OK, those of you who know me can stop laughing now. Truth be told, my organizational skills leave much to be desired.
Don`t get me wrong. My house is CLEAN. Just not so organized. When we decided to homeschool, it only got worse. Books are everywhere. Paper, colored on and blank, all over the place. Finally, one day, I decided it had to end! I come from a long line of pack rats, so I knew I wouldn`t get much help there. I bought the book "Confessions of An Organized Homemaker," and lost it. I asked everyone I knew how they handled their homeschool "stuff" that seems to multiply faster than I can pick it up. Most of the answers I got went something like this: "All over the floor. If you find a good way to deal with it, please let ME know!" Hummm... Looks like I`m on my own here.
After much trial and error, here is what we have come up with. While it is probably not the best solution, it sure beats "all over the floor!" If YOU have any ideas, please let ME know!
My so called organized life
• Organization: The first thing we did was find a huge, 5 drawer dresser. I brought it home, painted it (white & red checks on the sides, white frame and chalkboard paint on the drawers) and now it serves as "homeschool central." Next to this sits a small, step type shelf, described under "individual work."
• Individual Work: Each kid has a small basket with their name on it. All three of these are kept on a shelf, along with any books they are reading, necessary papers, and miscellaneous stuff they collect during the day. If there is a special book I want them to read, paper I want them to look at, or whatever, it goes into their basket. They also have a folder, where they keep any papers in progress. These also goes here.
• Dealing with the mounds of library books: We are lucky. Our library gives us a receipt every time we check something out. (They use a wonderful machine, probably paid for with our fines.) As soon as we get home, the receipts go on the fridge with a magnet. All library books are kept on a book shelf that's just for that purpose.
• Papers, Papers & more Papers: Yikes! Paper everywhere! The top drawer of the dresser is all paper. Notebook paper, construction paper, card stock, computer paper ... if they make it, it`s in there! I also keep a huge box of scrap paper the kids can color on anytime they want.
• Crayons, Markers, Pencils, etc.: I cut three old milk cartons (save the handle, but cut the opening large enough for a hand) and use them to store crayons, colored pencils and markers. Those are on top of the dresser. The second drawer of the dresser has a basket of misc. office equipment like stapler, paper clips, and thumb tacks. All pencils go into a pencil box, also in this drawer.
• The third drawer of the dresser holds folders, extra paper (yes, we have that much!) and other miscellaneous stuff.
• The bottom two drawers hold games, but are filling up fast, so we are on the look out for a better storage solution!
• We have made it a rule that before the TV goes on, before any computer games (educational or otherwise) are played, before anyone steps a foot out side, things are put away, and in their place. I don`t think we will ever be totally organized, but since we started this system, things seem to be better!
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that homeschooled children socialize with people of all ages. They are not on “age mates” or artificial boundaries. Homeschoolers learn to treat peoples as individuals and not stereotype them into groups. This opens the students eyes to a world of different ideas and opinions. Look for a curricula that teaches students the importance of understanding an issue before they take a stand on an issue.
It helps to realize that when one parent chooses to leave a job, they also have to leave behind expenses that job allowed for: dry-cleaning bills, lunches out, even something as financially trivial as the cost of a tube of mascara!
Having one person stay at home allows families to have more at-home meals, maybe even bread and pizza dough made from scratch.
Any successful homeschool parent will share, often with great enthusiasm the importance and value of organization and home management within their homeschool program. When a family first adopts the concepts and ideas involved in a homeschool program, it soon becomes very apparent that the homeschool is a lifestyle as well as an educational opportunity for the family. As you begin to implement your home school practices, theories and curricular units, you must keep accurate and organized notes for both yourself and your students. Record keeping files should contain curriculum ideas, lesson plans, and field trip information for those sites visited and projected plans, academic goals for each student in the classroom, grades and transcripts. Instruction in organization can also be a wonderful life skill to provide for your students, mentoring their learning, implementation and appreciation of an organized life. The sooner you implement organization into your homeschooling curriculum the more relaxed you will become about the entire teaching process. Using your organizational skills for daily, weekly and monthly lesson planning and scheduling will help your homeschool program remain on target. This is not to say that you have to become a slave to your daily “to-do” list, but rather these tools help you to remain focused on the end goal so that your child's education is always moving in a positive direction. If you are someone that does not have any organizational skills, it would be wise to attend a seminar, check books out from the library or hire someone to help you get started. The sooner you are organized, the sooner you will relax and enjoy the beauty of the homeschool classroom.
If you have decided to homeschool your children, you will probably find yourself on the receiving end of many questions. Homeschool information supporters encourage new homeschooling families to think about how they will answer some of the frequently asked questions above.
The pros and cons of homeschooling will be different for each family. When you are trying to decide whether you should homeschool do not base your decision on how another family feels about homeschooling. Each family has their own way of interacting and functioning. What may be a “pro” for one parent may end up being a “con” for another. You should thoroughly investigate homeschooling and decide if it will work for your family solely based on . . . your family!
Parents who homeschoolers get asked a lot of questions about the process and procedure. Here are a list of the most frequently asked questions of homeschooling families.
Accelerated learning is one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling. If you have a child that excels in a particular subject, or two, your child can forge ahead and not be held back by their peer's learning curve. It is not uncommon for a homeschooling child to be a grade or two ahead in a few subjects when compared to their homeschooling peers. This is because homeschooled children have the advantage of one-on-one learning, as well as a school day (and curriculum) that is tailor made for them.