How long will you be homeschooling?
If you are only homeschooling for a short time:
Ask to borrow materials from the school your child currently attends.
Make contact with local homeschoolers;
help you to complete any application forms
borrow suitable resources
join in with group activities or excursions.
Many families 'test the water' with homeschooling in this way and find that it isn't as hard as it first looks.
Homeschooling for o nly a couple of months? Purchase a couple of grade level text-books and student work-books to cover learning in the main subjects. Use an activity based or unit study approach for the other curriculum areas. As well as being quick and easy, doing this is cost effective and will save you a lot of work.
However, if you are planning on homeschooling for a year or more it pays to spend some time in preparation.
Will you be sending your children to school in the future?
Many children home educate for a short time, often to provide a period of respite from unhappy situations at school or during ill health. Some children are homeschooled because they are 'falling behind' and need to catch up, especially during the later primary school years. Homeschooling is sometimes done to help prepare the children for life in high school.
If your child will definitely be going or returning to school you may wish to follow the scope and sequence used by your preferred school. You could ask the school what text-books or learning programs they use and search for a supplier on the internet.
It isn't necessary to use a 'school-at-home' approach (see below) to help ease the transition between school and home education. In her thesis, More than One Way to Learn': Transitions between home and school, Australian home education researcher Glenda Jackson demonstrated that "home educated students are moving into and out of mainstream educational institutions and benefitting academically, socially and through personal development from their transition experiences in both directions." This was regardless of the style or approach of home education used within the homeschool.Many families and teachers cite higher levels of motivation with mature attitudes to studying and interacting with peers upon return to school, with students often quickly catching up in areas not yet covered during their time as home educating students.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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