Sunday, December 9, 2012

I’ve Decided To Homeschool. Now What?

“I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

You have made a big decision. One you probably suspect is bigger than you think. After all, you can no longer blame anything on the school your children go to because YOU are the school.

First of all, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that our ancestors did a better job than today’s traditional schools with fewer tools. If a prairie mom with no local library and no computer can do it (while churning butter, making her own bread, and sewing her own clothes), so can you.

The first thing you need to do is contact Homeschool Legal Defense to get a list of your local support groups. HSLDA and the support groups can tell you what is required in your state and help you meet the requirements.

Back to Homeschool quote- FREE Mp3! Be encouraged!Legal stuff-You should also seriously consider joining Homeschool Legal Defense Association. For $135.00 per family per year, they will handle any legal problems connected with homeschooling that you have; from calling the local principle to representing you at the Supreme Court. The odds are very good you will never need them, but if you do, they can be a lifesaver.

HSLDA also monitors legislation in each state to make sure laws that are bad for homeschoolers are not passed. They help write new laws when asked, sponsor studies of homeschoolers and keep positive information before the media.

They are now stepping in to help homeschoolers in other countries face their governments.

They have a scholarship fund for those unable to afford membership, a Widow’s Fund to help widows buy curriculum, a Special Needs fund to help families with disabled students afford the materials they need for their children and they have sponsored the opening of a new college aimed at homeschool graduates (Patrick Henry College, Virginia) so the money goes to help set better court precedents and pass better and better laws for all homeschoolers and to help others.

In fact, in 2002 their advice was instrumental in getting about half the regulations removed here in Nevada, changing us from a difficult state to homeschool in to one of the best in the country.

The next thing I advise you to do to prepare for this new adventure is to sit down and write why you are homeschooling. Be as detailed as you can, (that is how this book started!).

Bourne Learners | Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself ~ John Dewey Homeschool websiteAs with any job (and that is what you have just taken on, a new job,) you will have days when you want to run down the street, pulling your hair out yelling “Why?!” If you have it written down ahead of time you can reread your own reasons and remember that, yes, this is worth it.

Next, engage in a little fantasy; you are standing at your front door, and each of your children are eighteen and leaving home. They have all their stuff with them, including a bag marked “knowledge.”

Open that bag. You see it has a compartment for every subject. What compartments do you want to see? Home EC? Auto repair? Calculus? What subdivisions do you most want to see in each one?

What should the compartment marked Bible contain? Memory verses, an outline of each book, and knowledge of salvation?

How about History, Science, Math, Language Arts?

And what do you want in each subdivision?

Now write down an inventory list for each compartment. Something like “HISTORY- A general idea of the basic progression of major eras (Egypt to Greece to Rome to Middle Ages, etc.) the most important events and people, and an appreciation for the unique history and the founding ideas of this country.”

Again, be as complete as you can be. This will help you to keep from panicking every time you get a new catalog or see a new resource that sounds real good (and there are SO VERY MANY good curricula and resources!).

You can compare the content of all available resources with your goals and your children’s current place in those goals and tell much faster and easier (and cheaper) if this new thing will be a valuable aid or just something nice to have around but not really necessary.
When you buy your curriculum every year, remember teacher education. Professional teachers read trade magazines and take extra classes to keep themselves from burn out. You should allot enough money every year to buy at least one “how to” book on homeschooling or subscribe to at least one homeschooling magazine or join an on-line support group.

Also, allot enough money to further an area or two of interest of your own.

Do you like to draw? Buy a book or two on art each year.
Do you like history? Check into history texts, biographies and commentaries, even if they are well beyond your children’s level.

It is well worth the money to keep you from burning out or feeling like you are nothing but a “homeschool parent.” It teaches your children to be curious and that its fun to learn by example as well as making you a better teacher and parent in the long run.

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