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by: Sam Wilkerson
At some point in time I think many parents wonder or at least give fleeting consideration to the notion of homeschooling their children. However only an exceptional few have the direction and confidence to move forward along the path with clear goals and a plan of action for enriching their children’s education. The vast majority of parents stall in the moment not really knowing how to start or if they could be successful at doing so. Questions and doubts emerge as to qualifications, ability, and legality of homeschooling. Friends and family would feed these doubts and insecurities with me and have surprising and probing questions such as, “Why would you want to take Noah out of school?” “Who will he play with?” “Don’t you have to be certified to teach?” Also don’t forget statements that blow the mind like asking “Girl, have you lost your mind?” or my favorite, “It takes real smarts to teach kids.”
Fortunately, these are the comments of people who are ignorant to what homeschooling really is. None of your detractors have done any serious research into homeschooling yet alone given it any thought. Why let someone that has no idea of that which they speak influence your decision?
Take it from someone that has started at ground zero in the home school battle, every parent is completely qualified to teach. Think about it for just a minute. You were your child’s first teacher! From the day he or she was born, you have taught him how to walk, to hold a fork, to take care of daily hygiene, and to share. You have encouraged good behavior and punished bad behavior. You have done the hard work of teaching right and wrong, the grueling work of molding thoughts and actions to acceptable behavior, and the rewarding work of building character. You can certainly teach facts!
Here is the advice I wish I had starting out:
- Research State Laws on Home Education
Get on the internet and research home education laws in your state. Look first to your state department of education’s website. There should be links there to the state statutes if there is not a clear explanation of the state requirements.
2.Find a Home School Program
Of course, you can goat it alone by following the state requirements, but I wouldn’t recommend it until your second year. A home school program will give you the support and resources to be successful. After all, you have never done this before, remember? Look for a reputable program that provides a level of support with which you are comfortable. Typically there is a fee involved, but your portfolio of work is evaluated, counseling and advice are given, and state required testing is covered. Generally these Programs fall into one of three categories listed below:
- Basic – This is for the parent that can put together a lesson plan and teach every subject. As the parent/instructor, you do the teaching and provide the required documentation to the program coordinator.
- One/Two Day – Under this type of program, you aren’t responsible for the lesson planning. Your child attends class with a teacher that assigns work for your child to do at home and turn in the following week. This program requires you to do the teaching on days your child is not in class. However, beware if your child had trouble keeping up in school, this probably isn’t the program for you since you’ll still have to keep up with the rest of the class.
- One Day Enrichment – Enrichment is typically designed to provide supplementary arts and science instruction through experiments, crafts, and extra-curricular events like plays and musicals
3. Select a Curriculum
This is the number one place parents get stuck. They don’t know what subjects to teach or where to buy the books for their child’s education. This is why you should use a homeschooling program! The best programs take their years of experience and provide recommendations based on your child’s unique personality and learning style. Of course, you can buy textbooks, teacher’s editions, and workbooks online at sites like amazon.com, christianbooks.com, and barnesandnobles.com.
Look for home school groups or cooperatives in your area. You can get great advice from other parents and pick up playmates for your children. In addition, you’ll find that sometimes the cooperatives share teaching responsibilities with different parents providing instruction on certain subjects. This is a great way to cover a subject like biology!
Remember you are not in public school. The hours and days can fluctuate with mood, illness, and activities. Just be sure to have a plan that is adjustable. You are ultimately responsible for ensure the work gets done!
Now parents start homeschooling!