Your Trusty Homeschool Emergency Kit!
© Ann Lahrson Fisher
Here's the scene: after months of DOUBT and inner turmoil, you finally decide that this is the day! You stop by the school to withdraw your children. You then help them collect belongings and the phone numbers of their favorite friends, and drive them on home, all the while confidently assuring your children that you will all have a blast learning together at home.
Your cool demeanor reassures your children. Fortunately, they cannot hear your knees knocking or feel the swarm of butterflies ravaging your insides. They cannot hear your inner voice wailing, "Can I really do this? What have I done? Have I ruined my children for life?"
NOW WHAT? Trembling, you sit down to your computer the moment you arrive home. You log onto the Internet and type "homeschooling help" into your search engine and here you are.
NOW WHAT? Read and follow your Trusty Homeschool Emergency Kit instructions below, that's what. Whether you find yourself bewildered by the avalanche of wonderful resources you've discovered, or completely unable to lay your hands on even ONE single resource that could possibly work for your family, this survival kit will help you to a gentle and fun beginning.
Take heart in knowing that there are no educational emergencies! Remember, a day without doing math problems is not necessarily a day wasted. You have time to think this through and make it work. Take a deep breath, and begin when ready.
Some families take a family trip when they begin to homeschool to break up entrenched negative patterns children may have about learning. Consider that option seriously. If you can't sail the Caribbean, can't even take a weekend trip to Grandma's house, then how about a picnic at the park? Take day trips to visit your favorite local sights or take nature walks. If it rains on your outdoor parade, picnic under the dining room table and play games all afternoon. Stay home and
catch up on hobbies.
If you begin to homeschool at the beginning of the regular school session, find out whether a homeschooling group offers a"not-back-to-school" special event, such as a Homeschool Amusement Park Day, on the first day of school. These events are usually open to all homeschoolers, and everyone has a great time. If you don't find an event that works for you, plan your own outing for that day. What a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new educational era!
While you probably won't want to park in front of television for weeks on end, it is important to spend time together as a family while exploring the course your homeschooling experience will take. You might take a few days or weeks or even more: while your kids spend time re-discovering how to explore their interests, parents spend time learning about homeschooling styles, methods, and resources. While your children decompress, perhaps reading for fun or working on personal projects, make it your project to learn all you can about homeschooling so you can begin to chart a successful path.
- Do take the time you need and do the following:
- Read everything you can about homeschooling books, magazines, and Internet sites.
- Get in touch with local homeschoolers
- Find out about your state's legal issues
- Explore homeschooling cooperatively with families nearby.
- Plan what and how your family will learn.
- Take your time before deciding to purchase an expensive curriculum
- Make friends in the homeschooling community.
- Do stuff you've always wanted to do and teach the kids as you go!
- Evaluate your routine regularly
- Have fun!
Copyright Ann Lahrson-Fisher, 1994, 2002. Ann gives specific suggestions for each of these points in her article Your Trusty Homeschool Emergency Kit!! which you can read the rest online at http://www.nettlepatch.net/homeschool
Ann Lahrson-Fisher is the author of Fundamentals of Homeschooling: Notes on Successful Family Living, published by Nettlepatch Press. This is the best book on getting started and continuing with homeschooling that Beverley Paine has ever read!
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