April 4, 2011

school @ home: getting started

This week I'm doing a little series on homeschooling, due to a number of emails/comments I've gotten on the subject.
Somewhere along the line, you must have gotten the impression that I know what I'm doing...
I assure you I do not and there are many others out there that would probably offer you better and more in-depth information, but I'll do my best.
So here's what we'll do:

Monday: Getting Started
Tuesday: Staying Sane!
Wednesday: Why We Homeschool and Q&A

Please email me or comment me questions and I'll answer the best I can.

For those of you readers that do not homeschool and/or maybe think homeschooling is completely bananas, just read anyway...maybe I'll change your mind :)

Getting Started:

A lot of people want to teach their kids at home, but have no clue how to go about it.
I realize that getting started on anything is usually the biggest hurdle, so hopefully some of these tips will help you out.

Each state has different laws.  You can find out what your state has in place for laws by going on the the Homeschool Legal Defense Associate site.
This will help you to know how to what criteria you have.
Some states are more strict than others.
In SD, all we are required to do is have our kids take a standardized test every other year.

This will definitely help with the planning process.  We have a 4-bedroom house and decided to have the boys share a room and dedicate the 4th room to the school room.
(you can take a tour of it here.)
BUT, if you do not have a room to devote purely to schooling, a lot of people just use their dining room table or kitchen island.
It's all up to what you have available.
Whatever you choose, you'll need to consider the following:
  • book space- we have tons of books, make sure you have enough space
  • project space- large table tops are a must...
  • storage- if you're like me, you don't want everything out all the time.  I like things behind closed doors, so maybe choose a space with extra cupboards, etc.

You might be thinking (like I was) that homeschool will be just like school.

BUT since you're homeschooling, you can do school however you want.
Before you pick curriculum, you have to decide what type of homeschoolers you want to be.
Here's a few examples, but there's others out there:
  • Classical
    This method is all about the classics, shocker, huh? A lot of classical homeschoolers teach grammar, Latin, traditional instruments like violin, and they teach history and science in a chronological order, usually a 4-year rotation.
  • Traditional
    This method is as close to regular school as you get.  Most traditional homeschoolers purchase all-in-one curriculum packs where you get a teacher's manual and workbooks.  Most traditionals do school M-F for most of the day.
    (can i just interject for a minute and say that this method can get very boring if used too strictly...most kids get bored with school very quickly. The last thing you want is for you child to get bored with homeschooling too.)
  • Literature Based or Charlotte Mason
    This method is based on an educational reformer from the 1800's, Charlotte Mason.
    Basically, her method is totally against textbooks and worksheets.  She wanted children to be taught with real books and classic literature, not a lot of busy work, and short/quick lessons, allowing your kids a free afternoon to play outside.
  • Unschooling
    I don't know a lot about this method to be honest...but I do know that this method doesn't include sitting down and "doing school."  They might go for a nature walk, journal about it and that is school.
  • Eclectic
    The last method is a little bit of everything above.  Eclectic homeschoolers might include the 4-year history rotation of classical homeschoolers, use literature in their science studies, and take Fridays off.
    This method best describes how we do school at our house...just a little bit of everything.
I've linked each method with a website where you can get more info.

This is my favorite part :)
This is also the time of year I start planning for next year.
In the past, I've always pieced our curriculum together from here and there because I've never liked any all-in-one packs.
You can see some of the resources I've used by clicking here.
After you know what type or style of homeschoolers you're going to be, choosing your curriculum will be much easier.
I like to do my shopping early so I have the summer months to look it all over and see if it'll work for us before school starts.  That way I can exchange things if I need to.
Also, reading curriculum reviews is also very helpful...
a good site for that is The Curriculum Choice.

That's all I have for today...I hope that helps you get started :)
Tomorrow I'll share a few ways to stay sane while homeschooling!!

Remember if you have ANY questions, please email me or leave a comment and I'll answer as well as I can.

Also, don't forget to sign up for my little giveaway if you have not...I'll be drawing later this afternoon!!

Have a great Monday :)



Farmgirl Paints said...

this is great alicia. i don't think i ever told you this, but when i first had big chick i thought for sure i'd homeschool. changed my mind overtime, but it's still in the background there. you just never know.

alison said...

great introduction post to homeschooling alicia...and good idea to have a series with q&a coming up...i bet you'll get a ton of interesting questions...thanks for sharing!



Heather said...

Homeschooling is not for me, but I applaud you for doing it! By the way, I snuck a peek at your classroom, and it looks like a wonderful place to be. :)

thetwistedruffle said...

sometimes i wish i could pick out all of our curriculum, but then i'd be on my own, so i just don't know if i can make the switch!! thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us!!

Mandy said...

thank you thank you thank you:) i am SO looking forward to your wisdom (and yes!, life experience is wisdom;))

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

I think forever ago, you asked me what curriculum I used... this just reminded me of that- (I think it was you??) I used Sonlight the first two years, and then this year, I've been using Moving Beyond the Page.

This is a great post because so many people are doing it more and more! I wish someone had a post on going from HS to Public... and how not to be terrified as you jump into the Special Ed department!! Eeek!

urbancurtsy said...

I wanted to homeschool, but my husband didn't have the same desire, so now I am going to school to be a teacher, got him didn't I...j/k. I know he had a good reason but it is still interesting to read since I will be in the field of teaching it gives good ideas about how I would want to teach in my classroom.

Melissa said...

Hi A...so glad you are doing this little series this week...I'm in awe of the preparation, on top of mothering, that is needed...I would love to sit at your kitchen table & go through those with you...
I do this with art supplies for the kids...my sewing room looks a little like your home school room with a table for the kids in the middle etc.
The planning is incredible- you really do inspire me...and I have to say I do alot of extra school *stuff* with our three after school anyway...but now I want to do even more!
I am going to read your next post whilst holding little miss.audrey and her rash...she is covered in wet flannels - poor angel...and we are watching Bed knobs & Broom sticks on the sofa together...
melissa xx

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