How to Get Started
If you are considering home schooling your children and do not
know where to start, I suggest the following steps (these are
pretty much what I did when I first started out):
It cannot be overstated -- home schooling requires a commitment
to teaching your children and I believe that you must receive
a call from the Lord to do so. Most home schooling parents will
tell you that they feel 'compelled' or 'lead' to school their
children at home. I think knowing you are called to home school
helps keep the fears and frustration to a minimum (there will
always be some doubting and frustration).
Contact your local county or state education supervisor and find
out what the requirements are for schooling in your state. Every
state is different so find out what you must do and then file
the appropriate paper work and know your legal rights. Join the
Home School Legal Defense Fund, which offers free legal representation
incase you get called into court to defend your home schooling.
3) Choose your method
Decide how you want to teach your children. There are many methods
of home schooling and research them and find one method that seems
to fit your style and your goals.
4) Find the right level
Home school curriculum is often one year ahead of public school
textbooks. Do not fall into the trap that just because your average
9 or 10 year old is going into 4th grade, that they must use 4th
grade curriculum. This is especially true with mathematics, grammar
and science programs. Most publishers offer placement tests --
take the time to place your children and you will save $$ in the
long run. Don't let ego get in the way and don't let your children
force you to place them in the same level as their peers. It is
much better to take the time and slowly work through each concept
so as to master it then to rush through and find a year or two
down the road that you have to spend time in review.
5) Purchase your books
There are many ways to save on curriculum so don't just purchase
it from the first website or catalog you receive. Be a savvy shopper
and you will end up saving $$. Ask friends, attend the local home
school convention in your area, price shop online, join e-groups/mail
lists or message boards where curriculum is swapped and traded,
6) Budget your time
It takes time to home school, time to plan and time to teach.
Don't short-change yourself or your children. Don't plan to school
'around' extra-curricular activities or in the car. School should
be first priority and just as if your child were in public or
private school, plan all extra activities for the afternoon hours
(after 3 p.m.) or evenings. Also, make sure to budget in time
to keep your home, cook, clean, sew, garden, etc. Your house will
not clean itself and there is no reason to let your home go just
because you are schooling. Check out http://www.flylady.net
or Managers of the Home for help on getting organized.
7) Be flexible
Kids will get sick, in-laws will visit, vacations and trips will
happen. School with freedom and flexibility but don't let a 'loose'
and 'free' lifestyle keep you from schooling. Remember: your schedule
is your friend, it is there to help keep you on track. It is not
a prison warden -- you do have freedom -- just remember that with
all liberality, there is responsibility.
8) Have fun
Always keep in mind why you are home schooling. Write your goals
down and post them on your computer or refrigerator so that you
will be reminded often of why you are schooling your children
at home. Keep a good attitude and make school fun for your children.
Remember that often your bad attitude will affect your children's
attitude. If they are complaining and whining -- check yourself
first! Make sure you are being realistic in your goals and expectations
and that your children understand what is expected of them (no
TV during the day, no video games, math first, etc.) Be clear,
be firm. Fun times will happen and your children will bless you
for your diligence and consistency!
**Next: Choose Your Method