Are you new to homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling? Here is a list of some things that you need to know before you start.
Do you need qualifications to homeschool? No, you do not. Though you do need to be committed to helping and encouraging your children find the answer to their questions and in learning new things. For example: if our boys asks what a word means, we show them the dictionary (now they know where it is, so they get it themselves) and help them find the word and the answer to their question. If they ask about an animal or a subject, we read books (if we have them) on that particular subject, we google and utube (they always have an adult with them when using utube) that topic and we borrow books from the library.
As you can see on this site, our boys usually pick a topic and we spend about 1 to 2 weeks learning and doing activities relating to that topic.
2. The Perfect Curriculum
There is no perfect curriculum out there. Every child learns differently; therefore they need different methods of being shown the information to learn.
Work out how your child learns best and use activities to that best suit them. The more enjoyable it is for them, the more they will want to learn and the more they will take in.
We use a bit from here and a bit from there. We have found as they boys grow older, their ways of learning have changed. We started out using lapbooks, but have known outgrown them and have moved onto different methods of learning.
3. How do you do it all?
You can’t! Be flexible. You don’t have to complete activities in every subject, every day and you won’t have a spotless house every day of the week. If a friend wants to visit or the boys want to go to the park, just do it. Sometimes this turns into great learning experience for them.
With our boys, we try and do a little of the basics everyday but extras like music, art and lote, we do once or twice a week, but it doesn’t always happen. Hubby works shift work and gets every second Friday off. The boys don’t do any written work on these Fridays, we try to spend time as a family and go on field trips even if it is just to the park or the beach. Relationships are also important.
If you have a bad night with a sick child, don’t pressure them into doing the schoolwork the next day. Take time to read a book, watch a movie (Magic School Bus, Horrible Histories, Roald Dahl books are great for these days) get plenty of rest and you will feel refreshed ready to get back into it when they are well again.
With the housework, I do the washing and the dishwasher in the morning before we start learning, then when we have a break for lunch, I tidy up a little more and at night when they are in bed, I vacuum and mop the floors. We do only live in a small townhouse, so I don’t have a lot of rooms to clean and now our boys are older, they do have their chores to do too which helps greatly.
4. Do what suits your family
Learn at your child’s pace, don’t be caught up comparing your children with others. Spend time together and be flexible (as above). You don’t have to follow the ‘school’ rules when homeschooling, that is what we love about it.
We don’t follow the school year. Instead we do things a little backward. We find that it is better to stay at home during the school holidays. This is when we do a lot of our learning.
We plan our holidays and field trips for when everyone is at school / work. This way we get the cheaper prices on accommodation and can usually use coupons or discounts to get into places. You also don’t have to line up and wait or fight the crowds as well.
5. Expect to be Criticised
Not everyone agrees with homeschooling. Trust yourself that you have made the right decision for you and your family. Don’t let the criticism get to you. There are a lot of homeschooling groups you can join that are full of great support and encouragement.
Even going grocery shopping in the middle of the day while the boys are supposed to be at school, we get comments from the cashiers like, “Having a sick day today,” or “Didn’t feel like going to school today.” We just say we homeschool and leave it at that. Some people ask more questions and are genuinely interested. Those that disagree, we listen and say “Well we are all entitled to our own opinion,” and just walk off.
Just be confident in the reasons why you homeschool and that you are doing what is best for your children!
Even though you are homeschooling, you still need to set goals. Your children still need to learn and if you set goals, this will enable you to know that they are learning and achieving.
Ask your children to help you set the goals. We encourage our boys to help us set goals. We love to see their face light up when they have achieved them.
You don’t have to set massive goals that will take years to achieve, just set ones for the first couple of weeks, then move onto a term at a time.
7. Don’t give up!
Everyone has days when they feel like giving up or quitting. Take time out, go to the park, walk around a pond and look at the animals, walk through the gardens and talk about the plants and trees. They will still be learning and having fun at the same time.
8. Choices of homeschooling
Before you start homeschooling, research all the different methods you can use and decide which will work best for you and your children. What works for you family may not necessarily work for the family next door. You may like the Charlotte Mason way or maybe Distance Ed is better for your family. Don’t compare yourselves to anyone else, just do what is best for you.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are tons of free printables and information on the net that you can use. Also join up to your local library. Op shops are also great for purchasing cheap books or items required for science experiments. There are some great websites that supply curriculum for minimal prices as well, you just need to find them.
We have found that we can put books on hold at our library, so when we decide on a topic, we put a hold on the books that we want and pick them up when we receive a text to say they are in.
If we find a book or dvd that we have borrowed from the library that the boys really enjoy, then we may decide to purchase it. We research the cheapest place to buy and usually it becomes a birthday or Christmas present.
You don’t need a special room to homeschool. Most people just use their dining room table, as we are at the moment. You do need a cupboard or some shelves to put your things away in, to try and keep your house tidy, but you do not have to have a specific room.
Usually the boys do their schoolwork in the garage that we have transformed into another room, but when the hot water system broke in the garage, it flooded the room a bit, so we had to clean it up and wait for the plumber to put in a new one.
We have purchased a couple of white cupboards in which we store almost everything the boys are using and when we are finished with an item, you can sell them on homeschooling sites or pass them onto other homeschoolers who will be able to use them.
I hope these were able to help you enjoy your homeschooling experience!
If you have anything else you think should be added to the list, let me know!