[New To, Considering, Or Just Dont Know] You wont want to miss this post..
[A Bit longer then normal - Comments welcome under all posts]
I recently took a poll with other Veteran Homeschoolers and some New Schoolers to get the top advice to give to NEW Homeschoolers, Those considering to Homeschool and Those who are just down right Un-Educated and [-] Negative towards Homeschooling. I wanted to share the results with you... If you are New to homeschooling, you will definately want to read this post and the continuing parts after this!
What advice [any advice] can you give to New Homeschoolers?
- What works for other families does not always work for your family. Keep this at the top of your list. Ideas, suggestions, curriculum, agendas, etc... What one family does is not always going to work for other families. It is EXTREMELY important to try things out and experiment to see what works best for your family. RESEARCH curriculum, TEST your child to see what Learning Style He/She has to determine what Curriculum will work best for your child as well as you teaching them.
- RELAX - No matter what you do or what you think. Dont get yourself over worked about beginning to homeschool your kids. YOU CAN DO IT! Stay Relaxed and above all, Guard yourself from any NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. The more you surround yourself with Positive Influences, the more positive you yourself will be in your schooling.
- Know your STATE LAWS and LEGISLATION [ http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/default.asp ] You can also find a drop box at the side to link you up with more information on State Laws. Some states require you to register, others require you to test through out the school year.
- KEEP RECORDS of EVERYTHING. School, Attendance, Tests [& results] you have done. Keep the records, Easier to keep them on a computer or in a manilla file. - If your kids are coming from a PUBLIC SCHOOL to Homeschool - You will want to Evaluate them on their learning. So you know where they are learning wise and where you need to begin teaching. You can find Evaluation tests at any Teacher Resource site or store, Any Curriculum site or store or you can go to a local Tutor place and have them tested. Evaluate them for learning and Test them on what learning style they have. You can also look on the left side of this site - you will see an Evaluation Drop Box where there are sites that can help you, some for Free.
- Don't overwhelm yourself with a lot of curriculum, or schedule yourself so much for one day. It is easy to pick up so much or think we have to do so much cramming more then we can handle on to the plate. Make a line up selection, get through what you can and what you dont get through leave it off to an other day. You dont have to be on a Public school schedule or anyother schedule. Your schedule should be adjusted to you and what you can handle in a day or for the week. Work at the pace that fits your family, your day, your week. Dont add to it or take from it. Don't push to stay on par with the publics schools/other homeschoolers: Not all children learn at the same pace, as homeschoolers we can be flexible.
- ORGANIZATION is a MUST! The more organized you are the more smoother thing will flow. STRUCTURED is also Important to have! Although not everyone is structured, again find what works best for you and your family. Schedules are ok to have and should be flexible if kept. The most important thing is Dont Do anything you think is not your family. Only do what you think or know you can do, or see your family doing. Be it schedule, curric, etc... Make A List of Goals you would like to accomplish as a family, individually and have your kids if they are old enough make goals themself.
- Dont go crazy spending money on curriculum that you dont have. Keep within a budget. You can find some good material for reasonable prices. If it is curriculum you know little about, But are interested in trying, Buy used material. If you like it after trying the used material then shop for the sales and buy new or used later on. You can find some good deals all over the place for good school material. Dont think you have to use all of one material for every subject. Be free in mixing it up. Cost is everything, Be willing to negotiate deals, Bargain hunt, Look on line, Watch for deals, Buy used, Garage Sale, Half Price Book store, Clearance racks, etc. Ask for help if you need it.
- Never be afraid to ask for help or ideas. Be aware that others ideas may not work for you or your family. Try shaking things up or exploring in other directions if necessary. Its ok to explore or experiment other options. If a curriculum you bought is not working, Dont be afraid to change it up at any time.
- Testing during school? Some do and some dont. Testing should be kept minimal so your not spending all your time testing with little learning. Spread it out and dont over do the testing if you decide to test.
- Try to have joy and laughter and love in your days: the more joy, laughter, and love the better life for our children and for us. Forgive yourself: You will mess up. Forgive your children: Try not to focus so much the disasters, work quickly through them. The longer you sit brewing about a disaster the more it takes out of you and your schooling plus the harder you are on yourself and your kids.
- Schooling with more then one child - If you have more then one child schooling, you will want to experiment to see what works best for you. Schedules, breaking them up schooling different lessons at different times with you, times of learning together as well as individual study time. You can see some examples noted below, But most importantly dont be afraid to experiment different ideas, schedules and explore other options. Also keep in mind, if you have toddlers hasseling you while you are schooling. It could be that they want to school to. I have 3 toddlers and when one schools the other two want to be involved in schooling. So between 3 toddlers now schooling Preschool and Kindergarten while schooling a 7th grader we are a busy body here... Example noted below:
-[ex]- child one can work with you for 30 -40 minutes while child 2 reviews or does a computer program or learning game. While child 1 works their assignment, you head over to child 2. If you have little ones schooling or preschooling, you may be able to have one coloring or doing a game, watching a video while working with the other. Also weave some learning time together so all of you are learning and doing something together.
- Find Homeschool Support near you or online and be involved. You need encouragement, we all need encouragment at some point. We have good days and bad days schooling. It is normal so dont let it get you down. You can find local support groups that meet up weekly, monthly near you or you can meet others and group up online. [Facebook, Blogging, The homeschool lounge, The homeschool hub, Homeschool chat room/forum.] Bring some sort of support around you for homeschooling, keep your guard up around negative feedback. The more negative around you the more harder it will become to school. The more postive around you, the better things will be. Dont be afraid to become an ADVOCATE for Homeschooling. After all it is your childs education we are talking about here. There are a lot of clueless people degrading homeschoolers today, Educating others is HIGHLY recommended and important. The more uneducated people we can educated the more positive people will see in Homeschooling. Stand up for your reason to Homeschool.
- You can be easily distracted during schooling hours. Keep it minimal! Avoid computer chatting/networking. Avoid any or all phone texts or calls [unless there is an emergency]. Avoid answering your door for visitors if you can. School is extremely important and it is easy to become side tracked losing part if not most of your day due to distractions.
These are all great advice for anyone NEW to Homeschooling or Interested in homeschooling.
The best advice to give to anyone UN*Educated about Homeschooling - First and Fore most, YOU The homeschooling family MUST be EDUCATED! Best advice for them is to GET EDUCATED, Encourage them to do the research, HELP THEM BY EDUCATING THEM of ALL you have learned. Open the door to education by sharing the FACTS about Homeschooling. Why it is good, Why it would not be good. There are pros and cons to everything, but if your not willing to do the research then you will never know why Homeschooling can and is good.
- Dont isolate yourself or your family. Get involved with other schoolers, churches or projects. Be socialized!.