Homeschooling Techniques For The Parent Turned Teacher

Homeschooling can be a good way for your children to learn, but if they don’t have a good teacher, then your homeschooling efforts will be worthless. A good teacher is one of the most important aspects of homeschooling. If you need help being a better home school teacher, then read the following article for some homeschooling tips.

Understand what your local school board offers in the way of resources for homeschooling. Often you will find that your school board will reimburse you for educational supplies and field trips. Do your research and understand what is expected on your part as far as receipts, fees and the extent of reimbursement.

Always take advantage of back to school sales just as if your child was going to regular school. You cannot disregard the cost savings of supplies during these sales. Children love to get new school supplies and you can stock up for the entire year easily as long as you have storage room.

The goal of homeschooling is to instill knowledge in your child or teen, but it should also be viewed as something more. You have a rare opportunity to use learning as a means of bonding and interacting with each other in a way most parents never get. Highlight the student’s accomplishments in your “classroom’ just as you would for those earned in a traditional learning environment.

Does a schedule or a routine work best for your family? A schedule is a plan set by time, while a routine is something habitual. Routines are more flexible than what a schedule is. Find what will work best for your family and get started with it as soon as possible.

Homeschooling has to be fun! Excitement helps a child want to learn, and the more you can provide, the better. While creating the lesson plans, the teaching itself, procuring supplies and other tasks related to your new job can be frustrating, the end result is so positive that you should consider it as you trudge through your day. Include activities which are fun for both yourself and your kids, such as cooking, music lessons and acting scenarios out (don’t forget to dress up!)

Learn the governing rules of homeschooling in your state. Each state will have specific laws concerning how a parent can home-school their theirhome-school their kids. For example, some states mandate that a homeschool is listed as a private school within their state. While other states mandate that homeschooled children are given standardized testing in certain grades. By knowing your state’s laws, you can ensure that you are following your state’s mandates as they pertain to homeschooling.

Set goals for each of your children. You should have two lists of goals per child; one short-term and one long term. Setting weekly goals will help you stay on target toward reaching your long-term goals. If you have these goals written where your children can see them, they will be able to strive to accomplish what you have planned for them.

When you are homeschooling, make sure that you set up a room in the house to do strictly work. This will help your child get into the work mode, so that it is easier to focus on the task at hand. This will yield great results for the future of your child.

Prioritize your time by having a set schedule. A schedule will help you, your children and other family members stay on task. By setting a “school time” schedule, friends and family will know that this time is vitally important for your children. Ask everyone to avoid calling during this time unless it is an emergency.

Set aside a room or a part of your home to school in. Some kids have a hard time changing their mindset from home, where they relax to school where they need to focus and work. If you make a schooling area in your home, your child will know that when he is in that area it is time to learn. Make sure this part of your home is designated as school only so you and your child are serious when you are in this room.

Remember, without a good teacher, no amount of homeschooling will help your children learn. The driving force behind homeschooling is you and your teaching abilities, so if you need to become a better teacher, then don’t hesitate to use these tips. You’ll feel good knowing that you can be the best home school teacher that your kids can have.

Considerations For Beginning Homeschooling

As you begin to think about whether you want to homeschool your children keep in the back of your mind several important points. This will be helpful to find out before you pull your child out of traditional school and start your actual learning time.

1) What does my state law say about homeschooling?
2) What kind of curriculum will I use?

State Laws
Every state in the United States of America says something in their law books pertaining to homeschooling. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, there are four areas which states are divided into for homeschool requirements.

Curriculum
As for the curriculum you use there are many to choose from and much to read about. Right now there are thousands of web sites, workshops, book fairs and companies of curriculum, which specialize in this homeschool arena. Many times curriculum can be very overwhelming to a new homeschool parent.

When parents ask me what kind of curriculum they should use for their children, I tell them they need to find out for themselves what their own children need to learn. Homeschool for parents then takes on an everlasting job of finding out exactly what their children need to learn in their life until they get out on their own. This is sometimes done by trial or error but there are some points you can keep in mind.

1. There is a great deal of study involved before you start. You need to study up on the different types of catalogues, lesson manuals, books, computer programs and other materials before going to those fairs. You can find much of this on the Internet by typing “homeschool” into a search engine. You can also ask other homeschool families what they use.

If you don’t know any, find out about your local association meetings and ask questions. Or you can read about curriculums from companies willing to send you a free catalogue.

When you go to a curriculum fair for the first time, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING. Just look at what is there. Then, leave. The next day go back and look again. If you still feel strongly about buying something (especially the $200-$300 sets) then make an educated purchase. The biggest mistake to make is to spend big money on a curriculum you don’t know much about and then end up not wanting to use it and then you are stuck. All that can be avoided if you do some research on what is available.

2. If you do make the mistake of buying the wrong kind of curriculum, don’t make the mistake of pushing your children into finishing the whole book. Either pick bits and pieces out to use through out the year or just resell it to someone else and start over.
But don’t despair about the curriculum. Start early enough before you have to actually home school so you will have time to decide. For example: if you have a preschooler at the age of 3 or 4, that would be a good time to start looking around and studying what options you have to teach your child. You don’t always have to start a child at the age of five.

If there is an emergency where you have to pull your child out of school right away, contact your local homeschool association. Many times you can find second hand books suitable in an emergency and they will know the state law requirements. This does happen quite often. But with genuine concern for your child and persistent parental study, you can get through anything.

Homeschool is such a challenging opportunity. I say challenging because it can test your patience with your own children and make you feel as if you didn’t learn anything when you went to school. I say opportunity because your child will have the chance to learn at home in a comfortable environment. Who ever said having the same age group peers help children to learn appropriate behavior? Being in the company of adults regulates how a child should act.

In homeschooling, you also get to decide what your children will learn. There are no state mandates and no school authorities breathing down your neck.
You also have to remember that public school is a modern invention. It has been only in the last 150 years of human history that we have had this public school system to teach our own children. Parents used to educate their children or find a tutor to do it for them in their own home. So this system is still really being tested and the trouble spots are still being resolved.

Another added bonus for homeschooling is that you will learn all that you missed from school and at the end of the day; you feel that you really accomplished something. It is much more satisfying than a regular 9 to 5 job. Best of all, you will learn to love your child like no one else ever has. You will get closer to each other, which builds a great parent-child relationship.

How To Home School Your Child Successfully

There are many benefits to homeschooling children: as costs of private schools continue to climb, homeschooling is a more affordable option; homeschooling allows more educational flexibility and can be scheduled conveniently around other family activities; and the curriculum and learning environment can be tailored to suit your child’s individual needs.

When you decide to homeschool your child, you must have a clear curriculum, plan and goals. Homeschooling allows you a great deal of flexibility, in that you can teach a child something in many different ways, and teach many different things for a given subject. However, this very flexibility can also be your downfall if not handled properly, as you run the risk of providing an inconsistent and sub par education that leaves your child lagging behind his or her peers.

Setting a clear educational plan means you have a better chance for effective homeschooling. To set your plans and goals, it is a good idea to first take a look at your child’s standard curriculum for his grade in a public or private school. See what the standard expectations are for a given subject level, then set your targets, timeline and curriculum for your child. Once you have decided what your child is going to learn, you can allow for some flexibility in how your child will learn best.

Homeschooling also requires discipline, as it can be difficult drawing a distinction between home and schooling at home. There are plenty of distractions in any household and when you get busy you may be tempted to try and multitask, that is, to educate your child and also do some other chores at home. Parents may even be tempted to give an assignment to their child and then leave to complete some other activities. By doing so, you are sending a negative message that his schooling is not a high priority for you, and this will seriously undermine the child’s attitude towards his own education. So make sure to do household duties “after-school” hours and when “school is in,” you and your child are both focusing 100 percent on learning. This will communicate to your child that education is important and top priority.

Homeschooling not only allows you to tailor education to your child’s individual needs, something that is lacking in both the private and public school systems; it also allows you and your child to learn together, thus helping to create a valuable learning experience, and also to strengthen family bonds.

Homeschooling The Right Way

There is more or less a general consensus on the inherent value of education. However, people may often disagree about the right method toward achieving that education. The majority of the population would rather opt for institutionalized formal education, referring to education offered in public or private education institutions like primary and secondary schools. However, as has been the recent trend, many parents in particular have begun considering or even going on ahead with home schooling their children. Home schooling, prevalent prior the inception of formalized school systems, is making a return to the mainstream because some parents either do not approve of the curriculum of school systems or are even against the idea of formalized school systems, or find themselves holding greater capacity to educate their children in the best possible manner.

Perhaps you are interested in home schooling your child, and conceded, you have your own reasons for doing it. But just like picking a school for your child, the decision to home school is a very big one. This would most obviously translate to you taking your child out of a previous social learning environment and into the home to educate him or her; moreover this also means that from then on, you are going to be fully responsible for the intellectual rearing of your child.

It is perhaps for this reason that certain guidelines are set by the state or local education offices before you can actually home school your child. It is best to consider these guidelines first because your state can help you through the process, and moreover, may enlighten you on relevant issues on home schooling. I’ll expound further.

Majority of states in the United States would require a legal minimum of state notification of your intention to home school your child. In a rare few (including Texas, Alaska, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, among others), you may go on ahead with home schooling your child without informing the state.

Other states however, would require you first to notify the state and afterwards acquire your child’s grade records should he or she have attended a public school. After this, some states may require you to create a curriculum you intend to follow for your home schooling program, be accredited as a parent-teacher, and to host a home visit by your local education officials. Later on, during the period when your child is already being home schooled, some states may require for you to submit to them evaluation scores, attendance records (states may require a minimum number of school days for home school too) and even test scores.

It is very important for you to find out the different requirements for home schooling in your state. For one, it will help you make sure that once you home school your child, your child’s education is actually being recognized by the state. Without state approval, your home schooling may not be regarded, which may increase the difficulty for your child to move on to a university or college. Second, the state may provide you with various forms and guidebooks as you home school your child. This assistance may prove valuable to you, especially if you are home schooling for the first time. Third, by finding out these requirements, you will be able to submit to the state all the required documents that you must submit periodically. In this way, you are also assured that your child is at par level with any other child enrolled in a regular school setting. In the same manner, by approaching your local education authority you may actually inquire about the college application process of home schoolers.

Home schooled children may be required a marginal number of steps that regular applicants are not required to take in order to qualify for their chosen university. Some universities may require your child to take the G.E.D., an exam that will help test the sufficiency of their knowledge from home school to be considered as qualified college applicants, while others may require state accreditation. Moreover, by visiting your local education authority you will also find out the various state and local government scholarships for which your child may or may not qualify.

While home schooling may pose some added burden once you are ready to return your child to a regular school system, it has proven beneficial to many in the past. Visit your state or local government education office in order to make an educated decision, and in order to get the approval you need to push through with home schooling your child.

Methods Of Record Keeping For Homeschooling

One area of interest I see frequently being discussed in forums and support groups is record keeping. It is very important to keep a record of your child’s homeschooling education not only because it is legally required in many states but also it records and document the learning process of the child. It is necessary for the parent to keep some sort of a log which records the child’s progress.

The main reason why most parents do not keep a record is because they do not like to write. Sad but true.Some people just hate to put their thoughts or anything on paper. The other main reason is record keeping is so broad, they just do not know where and how to start and ends up frustrated.

Record keeping does not need to be complicated and can be as simple as a daily journal or if you hate to write, use a software program instead.

Record keeping is important not only for the sake of regulations.It is also an exciting way to record and document the learning process of the child. When most of the learning is done through play and there is no clear cut index of topics that have to be covered, the records you keep can be as simple as a daily journal, or as elaborate as a software program. If you participate in a support group, you probably have set forms and requirements. But even so, keeping track of daily work makes reporting easy and efficient.

There are various record keeping methods used by various homeschools. Some of the more popular ones are:

Journal:
The simplest method of record keeping is to keep a journal. It will keep a log of what was learned and done. It is also a good way of recording memorable events during your child’s homeschooling years that would have been forgotten otherwise.

Portfolios:
You can also keep a portfolio or collection of materials to show what the child has learned and achieved during homeschooling. This is a good way to record the child’s progress. For example, you can maintain a drawing portfolio which may consists of some of the paintings or drawings done by the child during a homeschool year. Other examples include maths, science, geographic, history and social science.

Having a portfolio allows you to compare the work done by the child year by year, therefore you can better gauge the child’s study progress.

Daily planner:
A daily planner in its simplest form is just a checklist of plans and assignments you plan. It could be for a week, a month or a year. As your child completes these assignments, check them off one by one. You could then make summary every quarter of what was completed.

Record Keeping Software:
There are also homeschooling record keeping software available on the market that can get the job done if you hate to write. The main advantage is all recording keeping are centralized in one place without the hassle of losing one piece of record or another.

Regardless of which recording keeping method you use, you need to be diligent in maintaining it. I would advise to record it immediately once an assignment is completed rather later.

How To Choose The Right Math Program For Your Homeschooling Child

Math programs are designed in such a way that each progressive year of study builds on what has been learned in the previous year. Hence, it is very important to judge the math skills of your child before you choose the curriculum.

Many homeschooling parents struggle to select the right math program. A good teacher is actually more important than books.

. A good teacher is the one who is very alert to the needs of the child and does not follow the book completely.

. A teacher should always be thrilled and enthusiastic about the subject, as this will encourage the student to study and also help him to develop a similar attitude. Many homeschooling parents dislike math and this may be perhaps due to the way they were taught math in their schooling days.

. A good math teacher should be able explain things and draw pictures to illustrate the concepts, regardless of the reference book.

. A good teacher should be able to work with the math book, which may be sometimes not suited to the aptitude of the child. He should be able to complement the text with other materials, by adjusting the pace, skipping some exercises, showing excitement about the concept, switching in between the topics and permitting the child to color shapes and numbers in the book.

A good teacher does not have to refer to any book. There are many curriculums to choose from and the following are some examples:

Saxon math is widely used by many, as it uses a progressive step-by-step approach. It is highly repetitive and therefore, it is not advised for gifted students. A fresh topic is added each day and the students solve few problems involving the new material. The remaining program usually consists of practice problems, which involve concepts that were used previously. Every assignment in this curriculum is based on the gathered review of all the material covered at that point.

Abeka curriculum uses the spiral method of education in the early grades, which involves constant review. They base their curriculum on various books such as basic math, plane geometry, pre-algebra, algebra, business mathematics and more. This curriculum is very thorough and the manual for the teacher is well put together.

Excel math is also based on the spiral method of education and it is designed for classroom use, but it is an inexpensive solution to the homeschoolers. Each chapter introduces new concepts, while reviewing the old ones.

You may find that all the basic books for grades K-6 mainly contain the same concepts. Choose the one that best suits the learning skill of your child. You can teach consumer math anytime. Parents should always buy solution manuals to save their time and energy, as they are helpful when you are teaching higher-grade math. They provide you with answers step-by-step.

Homeschooling is incomplete without a math curriculum. Homeschool supercenter is able to supply all the school math material that fits your needs.

The most important aspect to be kept in mind while choosing a curriculum is to ensure that it is adaptable, as learning is always not fun and you may have to change the curriculum if your child does not enjoy it.

Things To Know For Beginning Homeschooling

You may be reading this article because you have some questions about homeschooling. Who are the people who homeschool and why do they do it? If I want to homeschool, how do I get started? What about socialization? Is homeschooling legal? How can I pull my children out of school? Am I really qualified to teach my own children? What about the teenage years? Will my children be prepared for and admitted to a good college?

Homeschoolers today form a diverse population, cutting across most, if not all, ethnic, religious, political, and economic backgrounds. Wherever they come from, these families work with what is available to them, finding or creating resources that assist in their homeschooling endeavors and meet their individual needs and aspirations. Families living in rural areas, for example, surrounded by acres of land where their children can enjoy the space to discover and interact with nature and thus develop a sense of independence and self-sufficiency, have been as successful at homeschooling as families living in the suburbs, who may take advantage of scouting, sports programs, 4-H clubs, or the many varied classes in their areas. Families living in cities may look to the many nearby museums, cultural centers, and libraries as resources that can help them to raise interested, thriving children. Some families take advantage of the freedom that homeschooling offers and travel across the country or elsewhere, finding their lessons in the varied landscapes and opportunities of each location.

Most of us who homeschool have found that we do not need to have a lot of money to be successful homeschoolers. Indeed, some of us sacrifice an income so that one parent, usually the mother, but sometimes the father, can be home with the children; others find creative means to educate and care for their children while both parents pursue careers. Some of us operate cottage industries from home, allowing the children to learn by doing, whereas others arrange to work from home while employed. Some homeschooling families have only one parent, and some live in extended or blended families.

Many homeschoolers find support and inspiration in local, “inclusive” support groups, open to anyone with an interest in homeschooling. Local support group members might hold regular park days and organize field trips, classes, or other activities. Some families have special interests and thus enjoy support groups that help them grow in a particular area. Today, homeschooling support groups also exist for people of various ethnic and religious groups. Single parents and parents of children with special needs will also find homeschooling groups willing to help them, as will those with varied educational philosophies, deschoolers, unschoolers, and those who favor more structured approaches.

Families make the decision to homeschool out of a strong commitment to their children. We may have removed our children from schools, unhappy that our children’s needs and interests were not adequately met. Parents who view living and learning as a holistic process tend to proclaim, “We’ve homeschooled since birth!” Some of us make the decision to homeschool based on our desire to nurture strong family relationships. Some of us may be confident from the beginning that we can do better than public schools; others may be less confident, but willing to take the risk. Some homeschooling parents are themselves educators or former PTA leaders, but many successful homeschooling parents have no special credentials at all, other than a concern that their children be allowed to develop to their fullest potentials, in whatever forms those potentials might take.

Once they decide to homeschool, most families find that they have embarked upon a truly exciting and ultimately rewarding adventure. Like many other homeschooling parents, you yourself might have the sensation that life has slowed down, and that all of you in your family have more time to spend with one another. Not uncommonly, children who have attended school need to have some time to “deschool”; they undergo a transitional period in which they gradually discover their own rhythms and interests. At first, you might feel that your day needs structure. Drawing upon your own memories of school, you might try to hold school at home. However, as your family relaxes into the natural rhythm of life, you probably will learn to trust your children, and yourself, as you begin to recognize your children’s natural aptitudes and curiosity. You might come to realize that children don’t have to be rewarded to learn, for learning is, itself, rewarding. As you listen to your children and encourage them to pursue their interests, you might come to see that the boundaries between learning and not-learning are artificial.

Homeschooling At Your Convenience

Homeschooling is an alternative form of education that is fast growing. There are approximately two million people in the country today that undergo homeschooling. It completely fills up the role of institutional learning. In homeschooling, both parents and their children determine the extent of their learning.

Everybody can avail of homeschooling. All fifty states legally approve the practice of homeschooling. What differs from state to state are the laws governing the homeschooling program. Homeschooling can be very convenient for single parents who run a home business. They can have their kids to help them as well. Children of disabled parents can be tapped to take on a medical profession or one that involves social services.

Homeschooling should not be confused with home study or other forms of home-based education. In the latter, the parents and children do not have a say on the content of the curriculum. Examples of these are independent school programs. Home study is usually offered to those kids who for some valid reason could not attend school, say injury.

There is not much requirement for one to administer homeschooling. Some states do not even require a highschool diploma from the parents. There is however, one state which requires some training program for homeschooling before allowing a person to conduct it at home.

Homeschooling is preferred over institutional learning for various reasons. Some find the school curriculum questionable. Some parents think that schools cannot provide enough training to optimize the skills and talents of their children. Some are simply concerned with the issues regarding the safety and security within their local schools. Some children just do not fit in school so parents resort to homeschooling for their kids.

Not much is needed to enable one to administer homeschooling. Even simple household stuff or even pets can be used to demonstrate scientific concepts. One can also borrow tools from friends and neighbors. Books at home can also be great learning materials. If they are not sufficient, the bookstore and the public library are the best sources of knowledge as well as the internet.

If still clueless about the concept, there are many organizations, websites and publications which can help enlighten about homeschooling and offer great help along the process. The library is also one of the best resources for wealth of knowledge as well as the local museums.

Homeschooling can be a very rewarding experience for the family. It provides for more precious time for bonding. It is not necessary for parents to be geniuses to become homeschooling teachers. All they need to have is resourcefulness to find ways to answer their children’s questions.

Definition Of Homeschooling Unschooling

Many homeschoolers embrace and teach their children the method of Unschooling.

There are as many different ways of defining unschooling. Unschooling is primarily about process not content. The process of learning, the process of knowing yourself, openness, confidence, self-determination, independent thinking, critical thinking, none of which one gets when following other people’s agenda. Making one’s own agenda is what it is all about. Again this is done not in isolation but in the context of a family and their community.

Unschooling isn’t a method of instruction, it’s a different way of looking at learning.

Unschooling is following your children’s lead. Allowing them to learn from a wide variety of experiences and resources. Start right from where you are and enjoy.

An unschooling moment of realization: learning is learning whether or not it’s planned or recorded or officially on the menu. Calories are calories whether or not the eating is planned or recorded or officially on the menu.

Unschooling is like the old Open Classroom research and theories. If kids are given an interesting and rich environment they will learn. All kids learn anyway, all the time.

Unschooling doesn’t mean not learning – it means learning without the trappings of school. Its not unlearning or uneducating. Its only unschooling – it points out a contrast in approaches to learning. My unschooled kids are learning as much or more than their schooled friends and that includes home schooled or institution schooled.

I think John Holt’s ending in the book “How Children Learn” is a great definition of unschooling. Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can into the school and classroom; give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest.

Do not rely upon a curriculum, for there is no question that curriculums came from the public school model. If you home school because you see the fallacy of public education, then discard the entire model and start from scratch.

I think ideas are easier to wrangle with if we can nail them down, get at the essence of them, put them into a box. Trying to get at the essence of unschooling is like trying to get at the essence of life.

For most, unschooling is life. Our lives are a balance of needs and desires, hopes and fears, love and tears, peace and upheaval. You name it, and it’s there. Learning is a part of all of it, not separate from it.

When we require something of my children, it is usually because there is an immediate and very real need for it. Certainly there are things I think would be useful, even essential for them to know in order to function independently as adults. These things are so obviously practical and useful in our everyday lives that I can’t fathom them not seeing a need to learn them at some point.

There are many, many more things that I hope they will explore, and these I will certainly open doors to for them. But I believe that by far the most valuable things for them to know are what they themselves find interesting and useful. I trust them to choose and pursue what they will, and I trust that they will become competent, capable and knowledgeable adults in the process.

I respect their needs, feelings and desires. I believe that young children’s needs include being shielded from the responsibility of making decisions they do not yet have the knowledge and experience to make – things for which they should not have to bear the consequences – and this is my job as a parent. It is a tricky to job to balance our children’s needs with their desires, especially when they can’t yet see that they are sometimes different, or when they are diametrically opposed. I don’t see it as coercion or conditional freedom, but rather as a real-life lesson in making decisions, guidance, parenting. From the time that they are able to understand the choices, they are part of the process.

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. What responsibility I take for my children limits their own, and thus limits their freedom. They are dependent upon me. As an example, before they can cook, I prepare their food, and they eat from what I prepare. Their choices are limited to what I supply, though I always do my best to meet both their needs and likes. I in turn am limited by the household budget, and bound by my responsibility to look after their health. When I do choose contrary to what they desire, I explain my choice, and I respect their feelings about it, no matter how unpleasant.