So you have finally made a decision to educate your child yourself at home – you passed the initial ecstasy, then you overcame your deeply rooted anxiety, and suddenly you are facing the scary thought: how to homeschool your child. You perceive that the teaching road ahead of you is not going to be easy; nevertheless, you already visualize the fruit of working with your child: the well-adjusted, well-rounded and very confident son or daughter. However, before you jump into educating your offspring, you must iron out few details and consider few things.
Most importantly, you really do not want to collide with existing homeschooling state laws; therefore, be sure you are not violating any. For example some states require that you fill an affidavit with their State’s education department. Hence, prepare the document. Note that there are three main categories within the homeschooling laws: a) private school laws such, b) home education laws, and c) equivalency laws.
See that you know your state’s law and its constraints such as maintaining a learning progress portfolio or compulsory testing of the home-schooled student. Familiarize yourself with those laws before you start homeschooling.
Secondly, for your own peace of mind, you should find a support group, that is other homeschooling families. You may have family members or friends disapproving your decision to homeschool, or even actively discouraging you from taking the step into the teaching your child at home. Therefore, in a support group you will find like-minded people who, in many cases, went through the same dilemma; thus, they will be best qualified to give you advice and moral support. Also, it is essential that your child meets other homeschoolers, with whom he may participate in sport, excursions to museums, zoo, concerts, or science Olympiads. These getting together will be a source of the regular human socialization for you and your child and provide lasting friendships between both, adults and children.
Thirdly, you must choose the curriculum. Think about your child and what is the most suitable for him. You may want to create your own curriculum, and with the variety of tools and some excellent free resources readily available online this should not be a problem if you are creative. Depending on your own predisposition and the talents of your child, there are some teaching styles, you might prefer.
If you are a religious parent, you may wish to follow your own religious denomination’s teaching method. Choosing a classical curriculum or trivium will mold your child in proven traditional literature, philosophies, solid arithmetic, where child will pass three learning stages: grammar, logic and rhetoric. If you want to look into more modern styles, choose between Montessori grounded hands-on experience, Waldorf based on developing and educating a child as a whole person, or John Holt’s unschooling system allowing a student to follow his own interest.
Lastly, as a new homeschooling parent you need to be aware that homeschooling is not about doing as one pleases. Even though the teaching/learning atmosphere is relaxed, the self-discipline and hard work are necessary for success. Obviously, your son or daughter needs to want to learn, but do not forget you need to learn, too. When you are in a constant contact with your children, sometimes the feeling exasperation will taking over; hence, patience is to be practiced. Plan the time, but be also flexible and let your child regulate their learning tempo. If Maths is for them a breeze, let them spend more time on writing. If they finish their today’s lessons in four hours, do not insist they must work six.
Keep your enthusiasm going: your children will know when you start lose your excitement and will follow your mood direction. Even if you feel overwhelmed, be alerted. Moreover, keep the record of your pupils’ progress. Avoid to push skills onto your kids they are not ready yet. A list of skills and achievements your child is going to work toward the end of the school year will also help; therefore, make one; but remember, your child does not need to finish all of them in that year.
With a calm and stress-free attitude you will lead to success both: you and your child. Children learn better in a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. They will show zeal and interest and joy in studying and therefore make noteworthy advances in absorbing the knowledge and skills they learn. They will turn up to emotionally stable, well-adjusted and pleasant adults.