Homeschooling Your Child

You have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate your child and now you have to ready yourself and your kids for all the trials and tribulations that come with it. You know that the road ahead may be a bit bumpy, but the rewards more than make up for it. Homeschooling affords you a chance to produce a well rounded and well adjusted personality in your child that is by no means an easy achievement.

Obviously, the first thing you have to check out are your state laws regarding homeschooling. You must do this to determine if you have to meet any kind of state requirement. Most states need an affidavit filed with the State’s education department that you are choosing to homeschool your
child.

There are basically three categories of homeschooling laws. These are: private school laws, home education laws and equivalency laws. Find out about your state’s laws and know what your obligations are to the state before you start homeschooling. For example, you may need to maintain a portfolio that keeps a record of your child’s educational progress or you may be required to have a minimum educational qualification as a homeschool teacher.

After you have all the state documentation and other matters taken care of you can proceed to the next step. A good next step would be to look for a home school support group. A support group is good because say, if you live in a friendly or curios type of neighborhood, you’re well meaning friends may try to influence your decision to home school. At the very least, they may put a lot of questions in your mind that have you making second thoughts. A support group that consists of like minded people will help support your decisions of your homeschool process and help downplay some of the criticisms, pressures and questions you will get from regular school goers. Many support groups organize fun events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shop, etc. If your children hit it off with other home schooled kids in your group, they may be able to build lasting relationships with these kids that will not fade when their friends change schools. Home school support groups therefore provide an important avenue for your child’s socialization.

The third item you need to do is to select a homeschool curriculum. Depending on the method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in the process. The internet offers a rich resource for homeschooling information. Do some research and look into the many homeschooling materials that are available.

When you homeschool, you should set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of self discipline and hard work to make it work effectively. Here is a list of some of the things to keep in perspective:

1. Eagerness to learn
2. Hard work and effort – work ethic
3. Discipline
4. Time and patience
5. Schedule flexibility
6. Enthusiasm

It really boils down to knowing why you opted for homeschooling in the first place. Your motives and your reasons to homeschool are important pillars on which the whole basis of your child’s lessons and personal development plan depends. Consulting with your children to get their thoughts about curriculum choices, etc. is often helpful as well. Once you have every factor considered, select a curriculum or custom make a curriculum that best suits your child’s educational and personal development needs.

Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling as it is your record keeping that will be looked at or scrutinized later when your child transfers into another school or enters college. Look into all the various methods of record keeping and set up a schedule to update your records every so often.

Your homeschool day does not need to be a long drawn out day. Allow your child to have a part in the daily classroom activities and to what extent of time is involved with each subject covered. Flexibility and fun are the cornerstones of homeschooling. Be careful not to overload too many skills into single term or school year as you can experience burnout or end up skipping over details of over skills you really should not.

It is a good idea to prepare a skill list for your home school. Make the child learn the skills he is ready for as your child matures educationally.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Often home schooled children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm than they would otherwise. Homeschool kids also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home.

A College Degree Is Nearly A Necessity

Your education is the single greatest gift you can give yourself. While there are educational opportunities all around us, some of them come at a greater cost than others. A college education might require a hefty investment of time and money upfront but the pay off is much better over time than if you used your life experiences in order to achieve the same level of education that you can pack into 2, 4, or 5 years of an undergraduate education on the college level.

In other words, over the course of your lifetime you are likely to pay far less for your college education than you would pay (in earning potential) for not having a college education. At the same time, each level of college education you receive increases your overall earning potential. This means that a one-year degree in a technical field will provide a modest boost from a high school diploma when it comes to earning potential but an associate’s degree will provide an even better boost. You will see an even more significant improvement in earning potential when you increase from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree. The vast majority of students enter the work force upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. Those students, however, who remain in school for graduate studies often, find that a master’s degree even further improves their lifetime earning potentials.

The problem for most when it comes to making the jump between degrees and educational levels is cost. There are times in life when we simply need to get out of school and get to work. The good news is that it is gradually becoming easier for those with careers to further their education without sacrificing either their careers or their family during the process. Of course there will be some sacrifices along the way but it isn’t an all at once or nothing endeavor. You can work towards your degree by taking online classes, night classes, and Saturday classes. The information age has made it easier than ever before to achieve the educational goals you need to meet in order to satisfy your dreams for the future.

Your level of education will get your foot in the door when it comes to certain jobs and your lack of education will limit you far more than a lack of experience will limit you in many cases. As time grows on, more and more companies are seeking employees that have degrees rather than those who have experience in the field. If you hope to remain competitive in the business world you need to arm yourself with the proper education. Check with your company to see if they offer any sort of incentives for employees continuing their education. You might be surprised to find that your company offers to match your tuition funds or even completely reimburse them if you are working towards a degree that will assist you in your job functions.

There is no wrong reason to get an education. Even if you are applying for a job that won’t use your specific degree, you might find that having a degree at all gives you a boost over other applicants for the same position. A college degree is becoming more and more necessary in today’s business climate. You need to take every opportunity that is available to you in order to get your college degree.

 

Addressing Homeschooling’s Three Concerns

Many homeschoolers or families contemplating homeschool face a barrage of criticisms and scrutiny for their inquiries and decisions. Homeschooling is actually precess that can contribute to a solid family life and bonds.

The biggest concerns in undertaking homeschooling are loss of two parent income, choice of curriculum and socialization.

From the perspective of committed homeschooling, here are answers to those concerns.

Homeschooling actually benefits families in innumerable ways. Teaching your kids at home is not as difficult as it might seem, either. Anyone can do it. Keep in mind this is different than thinking anyone should do it.

1. One Paycheck
For many families choosing to homeschool, it means only one parent is earning a paycheck.

Sometimes its a choice that comes down to choosing kids over cash. Besides the loss in income, there is the cost on home school curriculum each year. However, there are many ways homeschoolers can mitigate the costs of homeschooling and even come out on the positive income side of the equation. There is no peer pressure to keep up or have the latest styles under thrat of being made fun of.

Many homeschoolers use a variety of curricula over the years. When choosing a curriculum, the family must also factor in the cost. Home school materials are not cheap, but they probably won’t break the bank, either. As time passes, however, those costs potentially drop because families are able to reuse some materials.

Home school children may be spared schoolyard ridicule, but critics, including the National. Education Association, say keeping kids at home also cheats them out of a chance to develop important social skills.

2. Curriculum
When a family decides to home school, perhaps the biggest question that must be answered is, what to teach. The possibilities are nearly endless.

First, parents are able to choose any curriculum and choose it to match the child. Some people choose a curriculum and stick with that curriculum and use that for all their subjects. They can also try one for history and try another for science, for example.

Many homeschoolers use a variety of curricula over the years. When choosing a curriculum, the family must also factor in the cost. Home school materials are not cheap, but they probably won’t break the bank, either. As time passes, however, those costs potentially drop because families are able to reuse some materials.

3. Socialization
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teacher’s union, said there is another hidden cost to home education. Home-educated students miss out on opportunities to build socials skills by not studying with their peers.

In a Feb. 26, 2002 letter to the National Home Education Network, former NEA president Bob Chase wrote his organization was concerned that homeschooled students were not provided a comprehensive education experience because they did not have an opportunity to interact with students of different cultures, economic status or learning styles. They felt homeschooled students learned in a setting primarily made up of family members and friends.

Family and friends aren’t the problem. They are the solution. You don’t want an 8-year-old teaching an 8-year-old how to behave. You want them to learn how to behave from someone who hopefully knows how and then practice it on the other 8-year-olds. Forced socialization with misbehaving, misguided peers is something to be avoided, not embraced.

Homeschoolers have heard this before and the notion that home schooling retards children’s social growth is ridiculous. They actually learn better socialization skills because they’re around people of all different ages all the time.

Public schools are not necessarily a real representation of what life is like. We don’t all go around in little clusters with only people our own age.

Good Planning Ideas For Homeschooling

One of the things a homeschool parent needs is a good plan. To make that plan and approach work, you need to be organized. Good organization skills are learned like any other skill. To help in being organized, planners, all types and kinds of planners will help.

Homeschool planners vary a great deal from person to person. Before you assemble a planner, think about what sort of forms beyond the average that you think would be useful to you. If this is your first year then I will try to help you with a few recommendations.

Putting together some sort of system to organize your homeschool is paramount to your success. There are several types of planners. A basic homeschool planner should or could have these forms and you can make them for yourself:

Title Page
I do not have any planner title pages here, I suggest that you open up a word processor and make one. The title page is helpful for having a record of the year and who the planner is for. You can make these in just about one minute. They are very easy. Try one with the school name, an image, the student’s name, the term (year), the level of instruction (grade), and the instructor’s name.

School Calendar
keep this on its own sheet of paper. Whether ist Monday through Friday, Sunday through Saturaday or whatever, just make sure it is a style you are comfortable with.

Events Calendar
This is an optional calendar. These are a two page spread, print the first page behind the calendar. They are used as a single place to record events such as field trips, music lessons.. etc. There are two styles.. I always preferred a horizontal format events calendar.

Attendance Form
This is also optional. These attendance forms are really simple. They contain 180 squares. In each square, write the date of each day which your child attended school.

Course of Study
This is a list of subjects and books that one child is studying.

Goals
This sometimes is a confusing item, leave it out if you wish. However, it is helpful to force yourself to make goals and to write them down. The goal forms can be used for either short term or long term goals. For short term goals, space several goal planners within the planner every 4 to 6 weeks or so.

Book List Forms
There is a need for several types of book forms. Homeschoolers need: Library Book forms to keep track of checked out and returned books, Reading Logs to keep track of book that have been read, Book List to keep track of books you are planning to read, Home Library List to keep track of the books you own, borrowed or/and lent book lists for those own borrow or lend books to and from friends. A curriculum book list to have a record of that.

Ruled Paper or Journals
The ruled paper can be used for anything. Some homeschool moms print ruled paper behind every weekly planner sheet to make notes of the week. You can stop here and journal the homeschooling year or if you wish to make plans, keep going.

Software Lesson Planners
Choose the type of planner which you like best or make your own with a word processor. Good planning skills and tools can be home made and very effective. The better you plan the better your homeschooling success will be.

What Exactly Is Homeschooling

Homeschooling is really quite simple. It’s a process where parents have accepted the responsibility of educating their children as opposed to having them go through a public or private school system.

Parents who are considering or have made the decision to homeschool have taken a deep interest in their child’s education and are committed to having the home becoming the point of their child’s education.

Homeschooling parents are tasked with not only with their child’s educational experience but now also have solely taken on the child’s emotional, physical, and mental development as well. Homeschoolers enjoy flexibility to the degree that they can tailor the child’s learning experience and curriculum to more closely match the genuine interests of their child. Parents can also tailor their teaching style in a way that is most beneficial to how their child learns as opposed to the one size fits all of the public schools; whereas public institutions involve many people in the curriculum and learning process of all the children as opposed to the individual well being of each child.

A parent’s natural love for their child is a great motivator for insuring the child’s academic and life long successes.

Homeschooling is about the success of the child. If or when children struggle with a concept in the public school system, many times the first approach is for the child to arrange to have some additional one on one time with the teacher… with homeschooling it’s all about one to one (or at least one to a lot less) learning with the child. This is why in many cases home schooled children advance through modules and curriculums at a much quicker pace yet learning and retaining more. With each subject covered there in infinitely more time and flexibility available to ensure the child reaches their full potential of learning. Conversely, when a home schooled child struggles with a particular subject, time and attention can be allotted until the proper competency level has been reached.

Contrary to some lines of thinking, homeschooling isn’t about isolation nor is it encouraged. In fact, most homeschooling parents use resources in and around their community at great length not only for social experiences but field trips and learning experiences as well. In fact, home schooled children have much more opportunity to explore various areas and business of their community because they are not restrained by the scheduling of a public school structure.

Homeschooling is more than just the academic education of a parent’s child. It is also about forming close family relationships and parental bonding with their children. It means parents can pass along the values and judgments that closest to them along to their children without the undue and heavy peer pressures that would surround their environment within a school building.

There is no greater love than that between a parent and their children and parents who are exercising their right to homeschool their children are merely extending their love and desire for their children to succeed.

Is An Online Education Right For You

We live in the information age. We have grown so accustomed to information at the speed of light that the prospect of not having immediate access to countless numbers of facts and figures with the mere click of a few buttons for many of us is simply disconcerting. For this reason, it only makes sense that there are many people across the nation and around the world that are embracing the idea of online learning and educational opportunities with every ounce of enthusiasm they can muster.

At the same time there are equal numbers of people around the world who are trying desperately to hold on to traditional methods of dealing with certain things. In fact, some people actually still play solitaire with a deck of playing cards. For people who feel that the information age has left them behind to some degree the chances are quite good that online learning may not be the best available option for you.

Below you will find a few questions that can help you narrow down whether or not you would truly benefit by taking some of the many online courses that are being offered in today’s information age of learning.

1) Are you disciplined? This may seem like such an innocuous question because we would all like to think that we are disciplined to some degree. The problem is that when you are in the driver’s seat for your own education you need to have a little more than some small degree of discipline. You need to be able to meet deadlines, take the tests, and hold yourself responsible for actually learning the information that you need to learn in order to pass the course. There is no one to blame but yourself if you do not manage to do well in your online classes and some people simply do not like being in the drivers seat when it comes to motivating and pacing themselves and their learning practices.

2) How do you learn best? We all have different methods of learning for which we retain information better than others. Online courses are reading intensive. If you have difficulties retaining the information you read you may need to find an alternate learning method or seek solutions with the assistance of the course instructor before moving forward in an online learning environment.

3) Do you have a true desire to succeed? The answer to this question is quite important in determining whether or not online learning is in your best interest. There are many paths you can take in order to achieve the education and degree you desire. This is not the path of the masses, at least not yet. This type of learning, more than any other is easy to give up on through apathy. If you aren’t determined to do the assignments, to study the notes, and to really learn the material that is presented to you then you really do not need to waste your time or the instructor’s time by continually making up excuses. Online courses are largely self-paced but you do have a limited amount of time in which to learn the material before you need to move on. The teacher is responsible for providing you the information and material but you are responsible for everything that happens from that moment on. Are you ready for that responsibility?

Whether you are a first time college student or a professional that is returning to school after a long absence online learning can open new doors of opportunity for your learning pleasure. You must be willing to walk through those doors and take the information that is presented to you however in order to be successful. My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will carefully consider whether or not the lack of structure that many online courses provides is going to be conducive to your specific learning and educational needs before taking the plunge.

 

Homeschooling And The Ins And Outs Of Diy Education

A number of people describe homeschooling as ‘do it yourself education’ and most parents immediately see themselves as the ‘you’ in ‘yourself’. As a result, many parents with busy lives earning a living or undertaking other important activities, and particularly single parents, dismiss any ideas of schooling their children at home out of hand. But are they correct to take this course of action?

Homeschooling has been with us for a very long time and involves more than one million kids in the US alone and experience demonstrates that are a wide range of options available to parents nowadays. Indeed, it is perhaps not surprising to find that parents in almost every situation you can imagine have found a solution to homeschooling their kids.

We are all of course familiar with the traditional two parent family where dad goes out to work and mum stays home and this situation makes homeschooling a quite simple option. Since the 1960s our society has changed a great deal and now there are a whole spectrum of family situations including, same-sex couples, extended families, role reversal, single parents and much more.

Every situation carries with it both advantages and problems for homeschooling and it is a matter of studying both and then finding ways to overcome the obstacles and enhance the advantages.

As an example, a number of parents turn to their wider family or friends for assistance and invite friends or family into their home to help. This is nothing new of course and, for many years, it was not uncommon for families to offer a friend or an older family member like an grandparent accommodation in exchange for assisting with the education and care of a child.

Neighbors can also frequently provide assistance. A number of ‘stay-at-home’ moms already provide day care for children and, with the steady rise in homeschooling numbers, babysitting services are increasingly being extended to include homeschooling.

In a lot of cases families are also combining their resources to provide homeschooling on a ‘group’ basis.

Yet another increasingly popular option is that of employing a tutor. Tutors nowadays come from a variety of different backgrounds, at all ages and include both specialists, such as those teaching music or languages, as well as of course general tutors. Indeed, it is not uncommon to find ex-public or private school teachers who have become dissatisfied with the ‘system’ turning to tutoring because of their basic love of teaching.

The majority of parents believe that private tutoring is simply out of their reach financially but, having researched the subject carefully, they are frequently surprised to find that the cost of tutoring is not beyond their means.

One other very important consideration is the children themselves. It is often surprising just how well motivated kids are by the independent nature of homeschooling and many parents find that teaching a child at home can be considerably less time consuming than you might think.

Should you find yourself tempted by the advantages of homeschooling over the present poor public school system then you should avoid the common pitfall of simply dismissing the idea out-of-hand. Take the time to explore the choices open to you and you might well be surprised to discover that it is not as difficult as you think.

Reality Checks For Homeschooling

Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned veteran, it always helps to have reality checks. Take some time to assess what is happening in your homeschooling efforts and stay attuned to the natural rhythms of your child and adjust your days and sessions accordingly.

It does not matter if your are new or a current homeschooler, just starting your school year or in the thick of it, we all have our own ideals for homeschooling: the perfect environment, the perfect curriculum, the perfect schedule, the perfect balance of academics, creativity, and socialization.

Ideals are good. Goals are good. Reality is good, too. No matter how much we plan, life is going to intrude on our schooling. Someone will get sick, the grocery shopping will have to get done, the car will have to be taken into the mechanic…or something else.

So, here is a short list for when you need a reality check:

1. Make plans
Yes, go ahead and plan. Schedules are good. Children often like to know how things are going to go. It helps moms and dads, too.

2. Be Flexible
These are probably the two most important words in homeschooling. You are home, not in a sterile office environment. Things will come up. Just remember that life can be a lesson in itself, when needed.

3. Housework can wait
We do not have to have a perfect home in order to homeschool. Let the dishes go until later.

4. Sometimes ordering a pizza is worth it
There are days when a quick meal you do not have to cook will seem like a miracle.

5. Remember why you are doing it

When a day gets crazy and you feel your sanity slipping, remember why you are homeschooling.

No one said it was going to be easy. It won’t be! Rewarding? Certainly! We all lose our grip on what one human being (usually named Mom) can do. When you find yourself straying far from the idealistic homeschool you had imagined, just give yourself a quick reality check, and jump back into the fray.

It is also important to pay attention to your natural rhythms. Your natural body clocks can help us schedule when and how we homeschool. How do you schedule homeschooling in your day?

A lot depends on who is teaching and who is learning. Our body clocks help regulate our day, influencing when we are sleepy, when we are hungry, and when our brains are most receptive to learning. Everyone has a body clock and they all tend to operate similarly. However, genes can play a role.

Are you usually a morning person? Or do you tend to not feel awake until the afternoon? Of course, things like inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, and not enough exercise can contribute to this, but so can your naturally occurring body clock.

This has implications for school. Teenagers are at a time of life where they actually need more sleep, and many studies have shown that they do not learn well earlier in the morning. All of us differ slightly as to when we have our optimum learning time.

You can figure out how this works for homeschooling by observing yourself and your children. When do you seem to get the most productive work done? Are there times of the day that seem to not go well, that end up in consistent frustration for you or your children? Pay attention to those signals, and plan your days accordingly.

For example, I have found that when we do a math lesson after lunch, my children seem to go much slower and become more easily frustrated. So do I, as a matter of fact. If we try it the next day, in the morning, it is a piece of cake! Now we schedule math for the mornings.

Pay attention to the natural energy surges in your day and in your children. Use these to plan your school schedule. You may find that early afternoon, when we are all tend to be sleepy, is a good time for reading and art. You might even be surprised to discover that your family’s optimal learning time is late afternoon and evening.

Homeschooling gives us choices. We do not have to school from 8am to 3pm, or even in the morning at all. Find what works best for your family. Do not compare yourselves to others or worry that you are too strange. Do what works for you, and you will find learning at home can fit your schedule!

Community College Disadvantages

While there are many distinct advantages that can be associated with attending a community college there are a few disadvantages that I would be remiss in not mentioning. We all like to look at the positive side of things and the good in my opinion of community colleges, at least as a springboard for university learning far outweigh the bad. However, if you are considering community college as an option whether for your associate’s degree alone or have plans to move along to the university level upon completion you should see the big picture and not just the sunshine and flowers.

The first thing you should be aware of, and this applies primarily to those students with plans to transfer, is that you should always consult the college you intend to attend next in order to make sure that the courses you are taking on the community college level are compatible with the core requirements for the university. In many cases they are similar enough to be considered compatible but there are exceptions and it is better to find this out sooner rather than later. If you plan to attend a University that is located near the community college you are attending you should check and see if they have some sort of articulation agreement that will allow associate’s degree graduates to transfer seamlessly.

Many states are stepping in and passing laws that require colleges in their specific states to accept community college credits as transfer credits in an effort to keep qualified workers in the state. Some universities are even offering distance learning programs to associates degree graduates in order to allow access to students who live a greater distance from campus to have access to educational opportunities that would have been denied to them in the past. Of course if you live in one of these states, a former disadvantage may now work in your favor.

Many community colleges do not offer housing opportunities and most of those that do are still largely commuter campuses rather than residence campuses. Rather than spending funds on housing these colleges tend to reserve their spending to assist in academic pursuits. Community colleges in rural areas are much more likely than those in larger cities to offer housing on campus. The lack of on-campus housing makes participation in sports and other activities a little more difficult than colleges that are largely residential in nature.

If you decide to make a community college your last stop when it comes to your personal educational experience you will be denying yourself a great deal of earning potential over the course of your lifetime. For this reason you should seriously consider the benefits that transferring to a university will present for your educational goals.

My largest complaint when it comes to community colleges when compared to larger universities was the fact that there are such limited opportunities to take specific classes than when compared to those classes on a university level. You will find that you must remain within your sequence of courses on the community college level or you risk needing an extra semester or year in order to complete the requirements for your associate’s degree. Universities tend to offer greater flexibility, especially in lower level courses that are required by all in order to graduate.

My other major complaint when it comes to community college is the fact that they often have much smaller libraries than universities. This seriously limits the ability that students have to do extensive research with the exception of rare cases. Universities simply have deeper pockets than the average community college. For this reason they will have bigger libraries and far more bells and whistles than the average community college. Hopefully we’ll see this change over time as well. Despite the disadvantages that can be associated with community college educations, I feel that they are very much outweighed by the benefits that the community college learning environment offers.

Are You Ready To Homeschool Your Child Yet

If you are interested in homeschooling information, it’s simple to attain on the Internet. You can actually purchase guides that instruct you on how to teach your child at home. Some parents find it much more convenient to homeschool, or prefer the safety of their child to remain in their own hands. This is perfectly fine; however, you do want your child to interact with peers as they grow.

This essentially allows them to adapt and make friends easier. I remember back when I was in elementary school, and was jealous of the children who were homeschooled. How cool it would be to not have to go to school everyday. Your child’s education is a big decision to consider. Discover a spectrum of homeschooling information today. Homeschooling information is just a mouse click away.

Public education can be a life experience. You truly get a sense of how to interact with your peers. I attended public school from kindergarten through senior year, and think it worked rather well. Sure, you have some good and some bad experiences, but overall it was fun. Regardless, more and more these days parents are in need of homeschooling information. Maybe they are a stay-at-home parent, or simply wish to provide their own style of education for their child.

This can be beneficial if you consider the personal attention the child will receive. The key is tenacity. You have to stick to a daily regime in order to properly school your child. Homeschooling information found online can help you better understand this process before you start. Are you qualified to teach? Are you truly going to challenge your child to the same level a public school would? These are questions to ponder.

Our education is certainly a crucial part of our development. As we grow into adulthood we need our minds to be prepared for the job we tackle or the University we venture off to. With public schooling growing on a regular basis, there is always room for more and more children to learn.

However, some parents take a different path in the education process. A second way to acquire academic knowledge is at home. If a parent chooses to, he or she can teach his/her child at home. In fact, homeschooling information is more available now days than ever before. All you need is a computer and Internet access to delve into the world of homeschooling online.