How to Homeschool Your Children
You understand the type of upbringing you want your child to have more than anyone, but if you are considering homeschooling your children, you must know how to homeschool.
Preparing to Homeschool Children
When I write “know how to homeschool”, I mean that you can’t make this decision without researching how to start homeschooling and then taking the steps to prepare yourself for your children’s education. Seeing to your child’s education, whether they are educated in public school, private school, or at home, is essential in giving them a healthy and productive life. So here’s how to homeschool your kids.
Choose a Style of Homeschooling
Whether you’re trained to teach in a public school or you take on the responsibility of homeschooling young ones, there are many factors which go into your style of teaching. How do you children learn best? What is your idea of a good education? What are your core philosophies about education, learning, and teaching?
Learn the Homeschool Teaching Options
- Unschooling – Letting children learn through life experiences, instead of a conventional school curriculum. This might involve social interaction, work, focus on household chores and responsibilities, game play, and child-directed play. This is a controversial style, because critics claim it leaves children unprepared for the “real world” and the work world.
- Unit Studies – An in-depth study of a particular topic. Let’s use the “ocean” as an example. In a unit study of the ocean, you would learn how to spell ocean, read writing about the ocean, study about sea life, ocean explorers, and underwater geography. The idea is that you study a subject in its totality, immersing oneself in the topic, learning more than simple fragments of knowledge sprinkled throughout your education over a course of years.
- Authentic Classic Trivium by Diane Lockman – Otherwise known as “classical studies” or the classical education. The trivium is the “liberal arts”: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. This is how formal education was taught going back to Roman times, and was how people were taught in Europe in the Medieval age. The idea is that you focus on rational thought and intellectual capabilities, instead of focusing on professional skills, vocational skills, and technical knowledge.
- Charlotte Mason’s Methodology – Charlotte Mason was an educator in England in the late 19th century and early 20th century. She believed education should involve three elements: an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. “Atmosphere” equates to the child’s surroundings or home environment. “Discipline” equates to their good habits or “habits of character”. “Life” equates to academics, but not so much dry facts as their child’s living thoughts and ideas.
- The Montessori Method – Named for early 20th century educator, Maria Montessori, and is mainly focused on younger children ages 2.5 to 6 years old (but can be used for older children). The Montessori Method focuses ont he individual child, and seeks to encourage self-reliance and independence in them. These children are taught “practical life” or life skills. They dress themselves, cook for themselves, put their clothes away, put their toys away, and are an active part of their household, their school life, and their neighborhood.
- Global Student Network – Online studies curriculum in line with national standards, tailored to fit the learning styles of families and students. Encourages students to find their own answers, become creative thinkers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and focus on an active style of learning.
- International Virtual Learning Academy – California-based online learning courses for grades 3 to 12. This is one of many Internet-based home schooling tools which parents can use to give their children a standard education while avoiding the pitfalls of a public school education.
Plan the Curriculum
After deciding what type of teaching style you are going to use, you need to choose a curriculum. This is an enormous task in-and-of itself, and can often overwhelm a parent new to homeschooling. You should consider checking out books about homeschooling from your local library to learn about your options. You can also go to online communities where other parents involved in these activities discuss and support one another. In the end, you’ll probably want to include the following subjects on one level or another in your children’s education.
- Reading & Writing
People obviously need to know something about reading, writing, adding and subtracting. They need to have a basic understanding of modern scientific principles, such as human, animal, and plant anatomy, biological classification, germ theory, the elemental chart, the map of the world, geographical features like lakes, rivers, oceans, and a rudimentary history of the world. Studying good literature, art, and music helps expose your children to something beyond facts and figures, encourages their creativity, exposes them to avenues of expression, tests their natural talents, and makes them well-rounded people with confidence, esteem, and a personal identity.
Put all these together, bestow a general knowledge of these subjects on your children, and your kids should have a pretty good elementary education.
Establish Homeschooling Legally
Get legal recognition of your homeschool decision. Read a copy of local laws and learn what you need to do to comply with the law. In the modern world of specialized knowledge and the information age, it’s considered a form of child abuse to keep your children ignorant and unschooled. Every country, state, and school district has its own laws, so read either the HSLDA and AtoZ Home’s Cool guides to learn what you need to have a legal homeschool.
Get Your Children Ready
Prepare your children for the change that’s to come in their educational life. Ask them what they want to study, where they think their education should go, and get as much feedback as possible. You want to engage your children in their homeschooling, so get them excited about the process.
Let the Extended Family Know
Let the grandparents and aunts and uncles know what’s going to happen. It’s best if they support the idea and help set the table for what’s to happen. If they are critical and at cross-purposes, this can create family tension, undermine the confidence of the children, and make your job harder. If you believe enough in your decision to go through with it, believe enough not to get discouraged by critical family members.
Give It Time for Older Children to Adjust
Your younger children are going to adjust quickly to this change in their education routine. Older children are going to need time to adjust and get used to this new system of learning. Slowly work into the routine by having less structured activities at first. Adjust and improvise to create the kind of learning environment which is going to help them learn. Understand this is strange for them and there might be a certain reluctance or resistance at first, having mom or dad teaching them after years of a stranger doing the same.
Get Teaching Supplies
One important part of homeschooling is to have the proper teaching tools and school supplies ready. Order textbooks, learning tools, and boxed curriculum (once you select one) can be ordered online. You can also rely on your local library for many books. Considered used book stores and half-priced book outlets to find textbooks. Remember to still use the back-to-school and no-duty sales at the start of each school year to resupply.
How to Start Homeschooling
Once you have all this planning out of the way, you’ll know how to homeschool. This is a huge decision in your life routine and the future of your children, so if this seems too daunting of a task to take on, you don’t need to do it. Public school has its share of bad teachers, worse students, and lousy school administrators. The methods and policies are sometimes senseless. But there is something to be said for the fact that public school prepares children for the bad co-workers and lousy supervisors they’re bound to deal with in their careers, and also with the nonsense methods and policies of whatever business or corporation they’re going to deal with later in life.
There are many arguments for and against homeschooling, and in the end, anyone who is taught how to read, write, do math, and learn, who is taught critical thinking and creative thinking, and who is giving good study habits (and therefore work habits) is going to come away from their childhood with a good education. The social aspects of public education might be overrated, and can certainly be supplemented or replaced by other activities outside your household. When you learn how to start homeschooling, you’re making a decision to give your children the best start possible in life, so do everything you can to make them well-rounded, productive members of the human race.
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