Before you take the home education plunge, learn all you can about how to home school - what it costs, is it legal, how to choose curriculum, etc. to successfully begin your home educational journey.
As with any big decision, you will want to be well informed before you actually start.
Maybe you have already pulled your child out of school and don't know really where to begin - don't worry, you don't have to have it all figured out to begin schooling your child or children at home.
Our home schooling journey started when my oldest was in first grade at a private school. We decided to give private school at try, but realized that learning in a large classroom wasn't the best fit for her; she was falling through the cracks. So we pulled her out of school in March of 1998.
Home schooling is legal in every state in the U.S., although home education laws and requirements differ from state to state. One of the first steps you will want to take is to find out the home schooling requirements and laws for your state. Some states require you to fill out an "Intent to Home School Form", or other kind of documentation and submit it to the district, while other states do not have any registration requirements.
If your child/ren were/are enrolled in a public or private school, you will want to request a copy of their school records for your files; it's also known as a transcript. Most schools are familiar with this process, so you shouldn't have any difficulties.
Before you start looking at curriculum, you will want to find out how your child best learns. You can do this in a variety of ways - through a learning styles assessment, reading, from a professional consultation, or just through observation and spending time with your child.
When I started home schooling my daughter, I knew very little about how to home school, different teaching methods, or learning styles. I did know my daughter, though. From spending time with her and through observation, I knew she learned by interaction, and through hands-on experiences.
You will want to consider a teaching method that not only you enjoy, but that works well for your family, or situation. You will probably be familiar with the traditional teaching method - textbooks, workbooks, and worksheets. Most of us who went to public school used textbooks, but there are many other options that you can choose from - with a little creativity, most can be modified for any kind of learner.
A huge home schooling perk is the freedom to choose whatever products you want to use with your family. And a plethora of products you will find! As the home education movement has grown, a growing number of products, courses, and resources, have been developed, and will continue to be developed specifically for home schooling. Many programs include directions, tips, help, and information on how to home school using that particular program. Some programs offers support through website forums, email, online chats, etc.
Record keeping can be as simple as writing down what your child has learned each day or week, to keeping track of all grades for each lesson, test, and project. If your state requires you to keep or submit records, you will need to be diligent at keeping good records. If you do not have to submit records of grades or work done, or a yearly portfolio to your district, then you could be a little more relaxed in your record keeping.
There are many different methods to keeping records. Some home educators use software programs, while others use online or paper systems.
When you are just stepping out and learning how to home school, your schedule may seem sporadic, or awkward. You may find the whole day takes longer than you expected, or your kids may finish too soon and will look to you for things to do. You may also discover that you have less time than you thought you would have to make meals and keep up with the housework.
Have no fear! We all have been there and everything will fall into place - it just takes some patience, trial and error, and did I say, patience? :) After a few weeks, you will see what schedule works best for your family and it will become more natural to home school, keep your household going, and keep the family moving along each day.
You may want to seek out support and guidance as you are learning how to home school; I'm sure you will have lots of questions, like I did. You can receive support through a homeschooling friend, group, conference, or there are many websites, like this one, and blogs on all facets of home education that provide answers for your questions and help for your journey.
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