Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting Started with Homeschooling

Congratulations on choosing to homeschool! You are embarking on a wonderful adventure.
Getting started with homeschooling brings a great feeling of liberation to parents and children and is an exciting time. Of course there will also be some bumps in the road as everyone adjusts. Here are some suggestions to help pave the road, making your entry into the world of homeschooling a smoother ride.

One of the first things to do is to consider your homeschooling goals. For example, do you want to include Bible studies in the basic lessons of reading, writing and arithmetic? Or, are you choosing to homeschool because you have a child who is simply not challenged intellectually by the system? Perhaps you love the idea of the more natural and holistic approach to education and child rearing known as unschooling.

It may help to journal a bit about your homeschooling goals. Writing is a wonderful way to clarify thoughts, and your homeschooling journal entries such as this will be good to read down the road.

Once you are clear about your homeschooling goals, the next step is to check with the legal issues surrounding homeschooling in your state or country. Some states have none or very few restrictions regarding homeschooling, while others have far more homeschooling laws you have to be aware of. It is a good time to connect with a local or state-wide homeschooling group, these groups will give you valuable advice. Veteran members may be able to help you figure out how to both achieve the homeschooling experience you want while jumping through any necessary hoops.

Many homeschoolers feel very strongly about their constitutional right to homeschool without interference and can show you how they have managed. Some simply ignore restrictions and don't register their children at all; however they are taking the risk of legal problems, even jail time and CPS involvement. If there is any concern, do seek legal counsel. You don't want to cross any lines that could result in being separated from your children.

Many states have pretty easy to follow guidelines. If the other parent's job or yours (if you are a single parent homeschooler) allows for relocation, do an Internet search for homeschool laws by state or country, and then take it form there. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is one of the Websites that lists the state laws. This fundamental Christian based homeschool organization is somewhat controversial among homeschoolers for some of the state laws that have come to pass as a result of their litigation; however, no matter your religious beliefs, you can find helpful legal information on their site. Once you've narrowed your search down to some specific places, check their department of education's Websites and make phone calls, making sure the information you collected is up to date. If seriously considering relocating, I would also join online homeschool groups that serve homescoolers in those areas just to get their take, and then of course research the neighborhoods (and job situations) you are considering; making sure it is a good move for your family.

The rest of the process of getting started with homeschooling will fall into place fairly easily once you've accomplished these first two steps. You can then work on curriculum that supports your homeschooling philosophy and your children's' individual learning styles, strengths and interests. Some homeschooling parents write their own curriculum but many find curriculum packages that suit their needs.

Joining a local homeschooling group will provide you with a support system and a way for you and your family to get together with other homeschooling families on outings and such. One more thing you may want to do while getting started with homeschooling – celebrate you and your family's newfound freedom! 

If you are looking for crafts to do with your homeschooler you can have a look at: No Sew Fleece Crafts

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