Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Homeschool Series: Can I Do This?

We made the conscious decision a year ago to start homeschooling our grade-schooler. We live in one of the top school districts in our area so it wasn't a do or die situation but one that resonated with the needs of our child. We felt she needed an opportunity to work at her own speed and I wanted to be more in sync with what she was learning. I know she had an opportunity for a good education but I wanted to provide her with the best education. Injecting moral and life lessons as we work through our day magnifies application of each learning moment. We have loved it and I even love the questions we get from other families- like- I love the concept but I've got so many questions. How would I get started homeschooling? How do you do it? How can I do this?
Homeschool: Unlocking each child's potential and the "At Your Desk"  requirement

I can't say every day is a breeze and I know my daughter would love it if there was a teacher in the house that was more delicately attuned to bringing up the class to the same level- therefore unintentionally allowing those students that could push harder to actually give work that reflects their potential. I know that would make her day "easier". I also know that you get out what you put in plus a little on the investment side. The starter feeling that is totally normal is - What in the world was I thinking- I can't do this!

No worries. It's less about you and more about uncovering your child's potential. We are in Texas and have full rights to home school in whatever way we choose with very little requirements. I have a very well balanced curriculum in place because it's the right thing to do but make sure you check with your state requirements. The HSLDA  (Home School Legal Defense Association) is an awesome resource to find out what you need to know. Fuddbuddle on the legal stuff- it's ridiculously frightening to think you are solely responsible for planning  out your child's education. Really- it's not that big of a deal. You don't have to have it "all done" by day one. ,Take a deep breath and focus on a subject at a time. Most curriculum publishers have samples online or can send you materials that include samples. You don't have to teach everything! You really need to just teach your child how to learn. I believe it's the singularly more important thing they need to know- a true lifelong lesson. It develops from an inquisitive nature and lots of exploration. You are only there as a guide and to make sure laziness doesn't take a lead. Once you get them interested you can assess what it is they need to learn. Once you get there- find some resources and watch them fly. It's astounding the self-motivation that can come from a child- especially if they are involved in the curriculum pick.

Here's my tip for starting. Make up some paper coupons- that's right- second grade style. Give you child a certain number of "play" days. We all need a break- I know in my corporate job it was almost expected that every few months if you didn't take a few hours or a day to yourself- it would only result in sickness in body or attitude. Let them have a limited number of "personal days". It doesn't provide an excuse for not getting the work done but it may provide an exist strategy when they just aren't able to focus. In addition, create some reword coupons that can be turned in with the completion of each unit or a certain number of lessons. Museum trip? Walk at the arboretum? Nature walk? Lots of things that are free or low cost if you think outside the box. Give yourself that freedom and you will find so many opportunities on those "personal" and reward days- you may find those are the days they are learning the most.

I'll be posting with the tag "homeschool" on a series of common questions every parent asks when deciding to homeschool. Check them out- and let me know what you think. Additional questions? If I can't answer them I promise to find a more experienced homeschooling family to step in and provide a guest post- let me know!

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