Okay, so you’re thinking about homeschooling your child. Where do you begin?? Well, for starters we need to take a look at what options are available.
Homeschooling curricula run the gamut from online classes where the students log in for lessons and grading…to packages that provide all the books and direction for parents to follow step by step…to organized frameworks that the parent plugs their own choice of books into…all the way to something called ‘unschooling’, where learning is child directed and topical. I’ll put a list below of some major programs or web sites you can look at for examples of each.
Here are the first few steps you should take (see below for explanations/links):
- order the Rainbow Resource catalog
- locate a local homeschool group to join or at least visit
- look at the various methods available to see where you and your child fit
- choose one or two methods that appeal to you and try to look at examples of the materials
Is there a right and wrong choice of program to use? Of course there is. But it’s not what you might be thinking right now.
The right choice is the one that works for you and your child. There are people out there who will encourage you to believe that one method is superior to all others. That’s just plain wrong.
I know of one mom who was totally sold on the unschooling approach. When you check those sites, you’ll see claims that setting a child at a desk with a workbook is harmful. (I’ll share my observations on this in a future post.) So this mom was all into unit studies and creative efforts to teach her son things in a real world context. She really worked hard at it.
What did the boy want to do? Worksheets. He liked the structure of learning that way. She laughed and adapted. Wise woman.
Okay. I listed some steps above. Here are the explanations:
Order the catalog from the their web site asap (it takes a while to come in the mail.) I’ll warn you right now: it’s huge…like over 1000 pages. www.rainbowresource.com
Wait wait! Before you run away or decide not to get it let me tell you why it’s so good. Almost every product they sell has either a detailed description or review written by a homeschooler who’s used it. You can also access these descriptions through the website. Rainbow has low prices and friendly customer service reps.
Local Homeschool Groups
Most groups are glad to help with advice and support as you work your way through this process since they’ve already been through it. If I were starting out with no clue where to look, I’d enter my city, state, and the word ‘homeschool’ into a Google search box to see what came up. Oh, I’m assuming you’re an American with that statement. If not, enter terms for your area. If groups exist near you, chances are they’re listed online somewhere so you can find them. Good luck!
Research Various Methods
The following is by no means a complete listing of web sites that discuss homeschooling. This is just to get you started. I tried to strike a balance between Christian and secular options. There are also many books on the market (or at your local library) on homeschooling. I’ve never read any of them, mainly because I was suffering from information overload.
Framework/Philosophies – I’m listing keywords here in addition to sites because there are too many choices to list.
- Classical Approach www.welltrainedmind.com
- Charlotte Mason approach www.home-school.com/Articles/phs12-karenandreola.html
- Co-ops/Cottage Schools www.maybewewouldbeamazed.com/coops.html
- Unit Study www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/kandi_chong.html
Once you’ve chosen your top one or two methods, try to take a look at the materials or plans. Publishers often have sample lessons online. Rainbow Resource and Amazon.com also will show pages if the author has given permission. Sometimes your local library may have the books. Finally, local homeschoolers who follow that method may be willing to show you what they’re using.
That should keep you busy for a while. Next post we’ll discuss legal requirements and how to find them, along with other online resources that may be of interest.
Earnest Parenting: tips for creating a successful homeschooling.