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How Do I Get Started With Homeschooling?

From Our Forum a Reader Asks:

My son will be entering Kindergarten in fall 08 and I plan on homeschooling him and his two little sister until 6th grade at least. I need help getting started. I don't know where to start and what needs to be done. I looked in to online academy, but I won't be able to pay for it(they want close to 3K a year). My son is too energtic to spend all day in class, and too bright for his age. I really need to get this started with in the next few months so any help is apprecaited.

12 comments to How Do I Get Started With Homeschooling?

  • lyllyan

    Start by checking your county’s education criteria. You can follow their curriculum. You will also need to send in a letter of intent – check also with Heir.org – they are a Georgia homeschool advocacy group. Next, check on Yahoo Groups for homeschool groups and message boards in your area. That will be your best source for the questions you have. You can find educational resources at the library, too.
    Finally – do not listen to those (like the one that follows) that say your child will not get the socialization he needs. Homeschool groups are all over – many of these groups get together for play, for team sports, field trips and parties. He will also still see his friends in the neigborhood, and will more than likely make friends MORE easily when and if you put him into public school at 6th grade.

  • Terri

    check http://www.hslda.org for the legalaties of homeschooling in your state.
    then, find a style that best suits your families needs.
    there are many many ways to homeschool. two good sites are “homeschooling.gomilpitas.com” and “homeschool.com”
    hslda will have a list of homeschool groups in your state, which should help you find a local group.
    it is important to have people around you that have been where you’re going, and those that are going through it the same time you are.
    Homeschoolig does not have to cost three grand per year.
    An umbrella program (like Abeka Academy) that handles all your records for you, grades tests, and offers support will only run around $700/ yr. at that level, and you can even put together your own program for much less than that.
    Some people (I’ve done it) spend next to nothing to homeschool by taking advantage of used text books, the library and internet.
    But, to get a good idea of what’s available to you (and there is so so much) and how to get started in your state, check out those websites.
    best of luck to you!

  • Alexis22

    Hello and Congrats on homeschooling I homeschool all 4 of mine best decision I have made..
    Heres a website that will answer your questions and help you choose which books to use. Dont worry you dont have to register your kids on line to homeschool no online academys.http://www.aop.com
    I use the Lifepac series for my older ones and for my son in kind, I use the Horizons they break it down easier for them to get. Have fun with it and dont stress…
    the abeka series is WAY tougher on the kids its way to advance and doesnt break things down as easily…
    You can also try saxon they have good homeschooling books
    Dont listen to people when they say you will deprieve your child.. My kids have no problems making friends or talking to people they are in activites where they interact with other kids. And you can DO WAY better then any teacher can..
    People dont understand that some kids need extra time or extra help and nowadays teachers dont have the time for those kids and then they put them in a resource class, its not fair for that child.

  • glurpy

    You’ve got LOTS of time. If he’s not eligible for K for another year and a half, then you’ve got at least a year to figure out what you are going to do your first year. And, if K isn’t required where you live, you’ve got a year more than that.
    You absolutely need to learn about the laws where you live. Ideally you would connect with other homeschoolers in your area. They can explain the ins and outs of the laws but also expose you to the multitude of ways to homeschool. Check with Yahoo Groups and just general regional homeschool groups through an online search.

  • Jil-Jil

    There are SO many different ways of homeschooling. I’ll list a few here:
    1. Find an established curriculum that you like and have them work through that. This is especially helpful if you are unsure at what pace public school students are going.
    2. Find a local homeschooling group. This is nice for support, and some in more active areas will have programs to cover subjects you might not be able to muster on your own.
    3. Decide what’s important and go for it: I was homeschooled through sixth grade and my parents used a variety of methods. We learned math by going through discarded books from the public school. We brought home mountains of books from the public library and were required to read a certain number per month. Later, we would cover a certain subject, like the Revolutionary war, and most of the books that month would cover people, battles, and events during that era.
    Homeschooling also gives you the freedom to cover exactly what you want to cover. My cousin is involved in entomology above and beyond what he could ever learn in school. And a key part of my siblings and my education was family trips during the summer when we would visit national parks, historic sites, museums, and presidential homes. It’s one thing to read about Franklin Pierce, it’s another thing to see his house.
    Obviously your children will have to cover some basics, like reading, writing, math, and spelling, but allow them to explore their creativities as well. If they want to take up the oboe, sign them up for lessons. If they love animals, take them to the petting zoo a lot. If they love art, give them lessons. You may invest a little more money, but they will discover what they love and will be able to pursue it.
    And if your son is entergetic, make sure he has an outlet for that as well, for he might still become restless, even at home. If he loves a certain sport, encourage him to pursue it.
    One more thing: I have five younger siblings and a key part of my education those early years was child care and chores. Don’t be afraid to assign them some duties: it’s called home ec.

  • ?

    Your local board of education can help you out. In my state, you have to present a letter to the board informing them that you are planning on home schooling at least 30 days before you start. Look up http://www.abeka.org

  • Barb

    What is a real teacher? The parent is the best real teacher that has ever been created. The relationship between a child and parent is by far the most important of all.
    There are so many things that you are already doing! You are a teacher from the moment your child comes into the world. Somewhere in very recent history it became a fad to ship children off to group institutions for their basic academic training. Home-schooling reverses the trend back to what it should be.
    http://www.oceanetwork.org is a great source for information and encouragement. It is an Oregon group but there is a ton of helpful information that will help you to get started.
    My family uses a method of home-schooling that enables the student to become self-taught. The child learns the initial basics of phonics and math-facts. The next step is to venture into the world of academics with the necessary tools to learn to think. Math is done with a view toward 100% accuracy, writing is practiced every day, and reading involves the elements of excellent literature as written by the classic authors of the past 100+ years. History is learned from reading the writings of important people from our past. Science is an extension of math and is studied through the writings of master scientists.
    A bright child such as yours will do well to learn his phonics — The McGuffey Readers (old, time tested and proven) are an excellent resource for a beginning reader. You don’t need expensive curriculum in order to teach phonics. Read aloud together and show your son the letters and sounds as you go. Keep it fun and pleasant. As your son becomes proficient at reading you should provide excellent books for him. The Robinson Curriculum ($195 for 12 years worth of material and method) includes great books that are well advanced ahead of the “norm” for most age groups.
    Writing practice for a beginning student need not be expensive. Paper and pencils and good things to copy is all that you will need. Many students copy from excellent literature all the way up to the age of ten before venturing into their own creative writing and essays.
    Math is an area that might cost a bit more money BUT many math texts are available in used format. Our favorite is Saxon Math. After a complete set of flashcards is mastered by the student out comes the text-book. I’ve bought some of ours at yard sales for as little as $1. There are curriculum exchanges and used book sales happening in every community — home-schoolers LOVE to trade and share. Some will even loan their material to you.
    Do a search of Yahoo groups and find home-schoolers to talk to.
    Check into http://www.hslda.org and find links to home-school groups in your area. Meeting people face to face will be a good way to start. Learn about home-schooling from the people that are doing it.
    Most communities around the U.S.A. have groups that get together for field trips and co-op classes. Some even have athletic teams and gym play days.
    Children that are taught to think for themselves will not be prone to “follow the crowd” into trouble.
    My children have done very well after being home-schooled for their entire lives. They are well liked by everyone that knows them. They have learned how to study for success and how to work to get the job done.
    I hope that you find all of what it is you are looking to find. Please contact any of the obvious home-schoolers here on the answers page —- I have never met one yet that does not like to help others. You will get plenty of good advice. Sort through it all and pick what you know is a good fit for your family.
    Take Care!!!!

  • answer faerie, V.T., A. M.

    You may want to look into k12.com.
    You can see PDF files of their curriculum, all subjects and all grades. I was pretty impressed.
    Many states will provide the entire program and a loaner computer, all for free, if you go through a virtual academy program.
    Aside from that, just do lots of research. If you decide not to go with a complete single source curriculum, but make your own, you have the flexablity to cherry pick from the best of any number of approaches. There are great resources to give you an overview of what to cover when; I like the Core Knowledge series and Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp.
    Some interesting methods to look up: Montessori, Waldorf, Classical Education, and unschooling.
    edit: why the thumbs down?

  • bangersg

    We need to know what state you are in. There are different laws to go about homeschooling. I would check these sites for curriculum
    http://www.christianbooks.com
    http://www.abeka.com
    Abeka is kind of expensive…you can usually find these books on ebay CHEAP!!

  • chi kadee

    It’s a bit early now to do the paper work, but I do know that you can go to the elementary school district that your child is suppose to attend and let them know of your intentions. They should give you a packet or neccessary papers to get you started. From there you can purchase your own teaching materials. It requires alot of organization and please make sure you have a guide to follow so your children are learning every subject on time, or better yet, advance if they want to. I enjoyed the core series books. Best Wishes to you and your family.

  • sekn4nse

    If you live in the Houston, TX area, try YO Youth Outreach Youth Organization. They are good at creating programs for families just like yours. If not, and you want online classes, they can provide that for you also. email: info@yoyouthoutreach.org

  • Anonymous

    Ok first you need to know the law of your state. They vary greatly…some require testing, record keeping or a teaching degree, some like Texas are geared toward homeschool, so you need to know what you have to do to be legal. http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/default.as…
    Next decide a few things. 1) Do you want a Christian curriculum or a secular one 2) How much structure do you want? 3) Do you need a packaged curriculum designed to work together or do you feel comfortable pulling things together a bit? 4) How much do you want to spend?
    For this age the best structured Christian curriculum is ABEKA. I do not recommend it forever, but for kindergarten and preschool it is the most comprehensive. But depending on how much you have worked with him it may be repetitive and it is worksheet based. It costs less than $500 per year.
    If you can forgo structure I liked the book What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know for a base, Hooked on Phonics to teach reading, Handwriting without Tears for handwriting, and picking my own topics for science, math and history and going to teachers supply and getting books for it. For example we did telling time, most curriculums will teach a K child the o’clock and 30 after. In 1st they learn the 15’s and maybe the 5 minutes, and then in second review it all and add the minutes. I just taught it all to my K son once he had learned to count by 5s and 10s. We did a plants lesson and he was into it so we kept going, we studied animals, we learned about history through the holidays like Columbus day, but didn’t do much here. Most K programs learn community helpers this year, but since my son had rescue heros and we talk to him a lot he knew all that so we did other things.
    I suggest since you will have more than one you are teaching you look in to a Classical Approach. The book A Well Trained Mind is really great and shows you a way to give your children and incerdible education and teach them all the same history, literature, and science subjects on differenct levels.
    Good Luck!

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