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Monday, January 27, 2014

Q is for Questions–Homeschool FAQ

PicMonkey Collage question

Q.  How do you get started?

A.  First and foremost you should check into the requirements of homeschooling in YOUR state.  You can find them at the HSLDA website.  Once you establish the laws for your state, you can move on from there.

Q.  What about curriculum?

A.  There are sooooo many options for curriculum.  When choosing curriculum I recommend answering this question first “Why do I want to home school?”.  The answer to that question can help you find the right curriculum for you and your child(ren).  For instance, if you are homeschooling because you are against the Common Core, then you won’t want a Common Core curriculum.  If you are homeschooling because you want more religious based learning, then you will want a religious curriculum.  If you are homeschooling because you want more flexibility in learning, then you may want to stray away from a ‘box’ or ‘set’ curriculum.  See what I mean?  I also highly recommend the book 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.  The book contains quizzes to determine your educational philosophies, your child’s learning style and then points you in the direction of which are the best rated curriculums to meet your needs.  It is a GREAT place to start in the search for curriculum

Q.  What should I teach my child? 

A.  This goes along with curriculum; however, if you plan to take a looser approach or build your own curriculum/lessons you might wonder what exactly you should cover.  There is a type of teaching called ‘Delight Directed’, where you follow the interests of your child and build upon them in a sort of unit study fashion.  There are also books, “What my (enter grade) needs to know” that can be used as a guideline.  You can check your public schools website and see what they are covering.  If you choose a classical model of learning they cover Science and History in 4 year cycles.  But really, unless your state mandates you cover certain materials, what you teach is entirely up to you!

Q.  What if you do not know anything on the subject, or are not interested in it yourself?  How can you help your child be excited about something you aren’t?

A.  To be honest, I have never been so fascinated by Science and History as I am now, as an adult, teaching it to my child.  Maybe if I had been taught in the same ways I am striving to teach the story would be different.  Make it FUN!  If it’s FUN, you will have FUN as well!   I learn something new every day!

Q.  What about socialization? 

A.  For some reason this seems to be the number 1 concern in regards to homeschooling.  Honestly I find it laughable knowing what I know about homeschooling.  I do understand how it can be a concern for those who are not fully aware of what homeschooling is all about.  Even though we ‘home’ school, it doesn’t mean we never leave our ‘home’.  Homeschooling has become more main stream than before, there are so many resources available to homeschooling families.  There are field trip groups, co-ops, sports and other clubs, church, scouts, etc.  There are plenty of opportunities to become socialized, and honestly, I feel there is more.  Socialization in public school is not the main purpose of attending, and in most cases does not occur on a ‘normal’ basis.

My children attend church, co-op, gymnastics, swim lessons and regular field trips…all with other children of varying ages.  Socialization is NOT a concern of mine.

Q.  How do you get everything done? 

A.  Sometimes you don’t.  I have found that I just need to prioritize.  When deciding to homeschool, my husband and I agreed that school comes first, then we go from there.  My house is not always sparkling, and the toilets probably do not get cleaned as often as they should….but I do what I can, and my husband helps when he can as well.  I’m working on a review for an app to help me get more done, so stay tuned! 

Q.  How do you teach more than one child?  And what about the little ones?

A.  I combine subjects like Science and History and teach them all at the same time (on varying levels).  Using workboxes helps to divide the other subjects up.  While my oldest works on more independent work, I work with the younger kids.  I have workboxes even for the little guys and I try to include them in ‘group’ work whenever possible (when they are cooperative).  Otherwise they can play quietly nearby. 

Q.  How do you determine a schedule? 

A.  Really that is the great thing about homeschooling, you adjust and adapt to find what works best for your family.  Many families follow the school schedule, some go year round, some have scheduled breaks, some just take it as they need it.  Find what works for you. 

Q.  Do you school in your pajamas? 

A.  Some days I do, most days my kids do.  If I get dressed or ask them to the first question out of their mouths is, “Where are we going?”.  I have found that I feel better and have a better day when I get up and dressed, so I have been working on that more this new year.  My kids though, they can wear what they want for the most part. 

Q.  What curriculum do you use?

A.  I piece from a lot of sources for curriculum, but I do use a set curriculum for my older kids (School Age), though I may supplement the curriculum to make it more hands on, more engaging or more interesting if I find it lacking at all.  For the younger kids I use Pinterest a lot!  I try to match up their theme with what we are learning in Science or History, but I base it off of Montessori principles.  I also change things up a lot during the year if I find something isn’t working.  This year we have yet to start our actual chosen curriculum because of pregnancy sickies, new baby, illness and a pending move.  We have just been taking it day by day, fitting in what we can.  But I always try to at least do Math and Reading daily.  We are always learning, even if it’s not ‘by the book’. 

Q.  Do you change curriculum if you find it’s not working?

A.  As mentioned in previous question, I’m not afraid to change things up if I feel we need to.  This is my number one benefit to homeschooling – flexibility!  We can adapt and adjust as needed.  What works for one, doesn’t always work for another.  We have started curriculum and then I realized he just wasn’t ready for it at that point.  So we drop it and come back to it later.  We are across the board in grades for various subjects.  My main priority in homeschooling is that my kids get the best education, so that means having more flexibility on my part, in order to best meet their needs. 

Q.  How’s it going?

A.  Some days are better than others, but all in all….it’s great!  I love it!  I wouldn’t change it for the world! 

Got any other questions you’d like me to add to this list?  Leave a comment below! 

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1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. Good questions and answers in there. :)

    annette @ A net in time (http://anetintimeschooling.weebly.com/a-net-in-time-blog.html)


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