What Is Home Schooling?
What is home schooling? How do you make a decision about what is right for you and your child? This will help you ask the right questions and point you in the right direction to get the information needed to make an informed decision.
Thinking about homeschooling your children, but not sure where to start or even how to go about it. Not sure if you can? Read on, and make the decision for yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, it is a decision that you will have to make for you and your family. There are many factors to consider, curriculum, cost, time, energy, and your family responsibilities. You do not have to have a stay at home parent in order to home school, but you do have to have the time and freedom to teach your children.
You will need to ask your self-some questions before you start. Why do you want to home school? What do you think your child will get out of home school? Do I have the patience to teach my child? Can I set up a quiet area and time for teaching?
You will need to look at the laws for your individual state. The individual states have varied laws regarding reporting, what must be taught, what curriculum you can/cannot teach and testing. The best place to start is with your local board of education. They should be able to give you the information or refer you to someone who can. Ask yourself, can you and are you willing to work within the guidelines set up for your locality?
Look at the curriculums available. You can spend several thousand dollars a year, or less than a hundred. If possible talk to other families in your area who home school, they will be able to tell you what programs they use, and possibly let you examine the materials before you purchase Don't forget to look at the public school curriculums. You will find that if you approach the school board, or even a local school they will be happy to explain the curriculum that they use to you. .
Think about what you want to teach your child beyond the basic reading, writing and arithmetic. Look for a curriculum that matches your beliefs as well as the state rules. There is no hard and fast rule that says you can't use parts of several different curriculums. Be prepared to be flexible, and to spend some time looking. Don't be surprised if after a year or so with one curriculum you find one you like more, or that seems to work for your child better. You know your child, and teaching style best, don't work with something just because it comes highly recommended, use a particular curriculum because it work for you.
Look at the time you have to teach your child. Don't think that because you work 9 to 5 that you can't teach your child before or after work, or on weekends. Are you going to stick with the local school schedule, or will you have lessons year round with a few days off to allow a break? Look at your commitments, when do you work? How involved are you in the community? How willing is your spouse to help with the education, with the housework?
How much time do you need? A few hours a day if your child can work independently, more if you have to supervise everything. Generally the younger the child the more time it will take. This doesn't mean that you have to have 6 hours a day for a first or second grader, but it does mean that you will have to be available to help.
Some of the time you need will for grading papers, and preparing the next days, or weeks works. This can be done in the evening, or early morning, or maybe during a lunch hour. Think honestly about your schedule, and your ability to finish a commitment. If you have a hard time finishing projects, or loose interest when things slow down, you might not be suited for home schooling. If you are unsure, try doing a few lessons over the summer. Your child will have time to adjust to your teaching style, you will get a feel for how much time is needed, and can better determine if you devote the time needed.
Is there a way for your child to participate in sports, or clubs outside of the schools? Socialization is an important part of every child's growth. They need to learn to communicate with people outside the family. Can they do volunteer work, or participate in a playgroup? What about church activities? If there is a home school group can your child participate in the group activities?
As you can see, you will have quite a few decisions to make. Don't let the number of choices prevent you from making a decision based upon your knowledge. Why do you think that home school would be better for your child? How will teaching your child at home affect the family? Don't think that a decision now is binding for 12 years or so. You have the right to change your mind later after you have looked at all the options and the facts. Some children do better at public school during some years. You know your child the best, use that knowledge to ascertain the best educational method, or combination of methods for your child and your family.