Getting Started with Homeschooling
Taking that final leap of faith.
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So, you have been through my steps on 'How to Homeschool' and are getting ready to take that final leap.
But are you still wondering the best way of getting started with homeschooling?
The best advice I can give you is to Just Do It!
Unfortunately, there isn't a set recipe that you can follow to make your homeschooling successful.
A lot of it is trial and error, based on your own families likes and dislikes. Every homeschooler you talk to willl give you a different version of how it works for them - you really just have to work out for yourself what will suit your family.
Not helpful enough? Then, apart from the things I wish I had known, here are some other last minute pieces of advice for those first few weeks.
- Have conversations with your child.
I am sure you do this anyway. But conversations are a fantastic way to share information :
"If there is one aspect of the infomal 'curriculum' which, above all others, contributes to learning, it is conversation. We have already seen how important dialogue is in more structured learning, allowing parents to strike while the iron's hot and deal with any problems immediatly they arise. But informal conversation was also stressed by parents, whatever their approach. Alan Thomas : Educating Children at Home
If you are struggling a little with this at first, then look up some 'journaling prompts' and use them as the basis for a chat in the car. How about -
'What would you NOT do even if you got paid $1million?'
'If you were an animal, which one would you be?'
They might not lead to anything - but then again...! Having a conversation with your child is like opening a door in their mind.
- See the world as your classroom. You are no longer restricted to sitting at a desk and working through workbooks.
One of the major mind-changes that homeschooling involves, is that you begin to think of 'everything' as educational. Almost everything we do involves some skills - thinking, reading, acting, etc. Stop seeing the tiny list of 'curriculum subjects' as the only areas of your life that are 'educational'. Think about where you can go, who you can see and what you can do that would open up new horizons for your child.
- Pick up on questions. A study of thirty four-year-olds just starting school, showed that ;
The girls asked their mothers on average twenty-six questions an hour, but they only asked two questions an hour of their teachers. Of those questions that were asked at school, a much smaller proportion were 'curiosity' questions and 'Why?' questions, and a much larger proportion were 'business' question of the 'Where is the glue?' type than was the case at home. 'Challenges' were very rare at school, and 'passages of intellectual search' were entirely absent. Tizard & Hughes : Young Children Learning.
Questions are your cues that your child is interested in something. But take care not to overload them with information in the answer. Give a 'small' answer and see if/when they come back for more.
- Read Aloud. I think that having a story time is one of the most beneficial things you can do with your children. Books expand our minds and experiences. And snuggling up to read a book together makes for a shared experience that you can all talk about later. If you don't like reading aloud, then download some talking-books to listen to. There are a list of places you can get free audio-books on my Educational ipod ideas page.
- Be flexible. You may have an idea now of how you think homeschooling SHOULD look - but really getting things to work is going to take some trial and effort. Just let it happen and don't force it. It will come.
- Follow your child's interests. What would they like to study. Pick up a few books, a movie, and book a couple of field trips based on their ideas. And look.. You are homeschooling!
- Think about what you would like to learn. Homeschooling is about EVERYONE in the family. Be the best role model you can be by determining to learn something new yourself. Think about getting started with homeschooling yourself, as well as your family.
- Trust your feelings. No-one knows your family better than you. Don't let anyone tell you how to homeschool. If things don't feel right, then make changes - and don't worry if your solution is different to everybody else. Even when you are first getting started with homeschooling, you can be confident. You DO know what to do!
I hope that gives you some ideas on getting started with homeschooling. Making that final leap does take some faith and courage. But it is worth it.
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