Home Schooling 101

 By: John Smi
Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate your child, get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety - the road ahead is a bit bumpy, but the rewards more than make up for it. Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded personality is no mean achievement.

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home schooling. Some states need an affidavit filed with the State's education department. There are basically 3 categories for homeschooling laws. These are: private school laws, home education laws and equivalency laws. Find your state laws. You may also need to maintain a portfolio that records the child's educational progress. It is important to look into the legal requirements BEFORE you start homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher.

Next, look for a support group. If you live in a friendly or curious neighborhood, well-meaning friends will try to dissuade you. At the very least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in your mind. A support group that consists of like-minded people will insulate you from the criticism, pressures and questions of regular school-goers. Many groups organize fun events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops etc. And if your children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for socialization.

The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum. Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the material that is available.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of self-discipline and hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the things you will need:

1) Eagerness to learn

2) Hard work and effort

3) Discipline

4) Time and patience

5) Flexibility

6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and your reasons are important pillars on which the whole edifice of your child's lessons depends. Also, consult with your children. Ask them what they feel about homeschooling.

Select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits your child. Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling. Look into the various methods of record keeping. Set up a schedule. Your child does not have to learn 6-7 hours a day. Allow him or her to dictate the time. Flexibility and fun are the cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a single term or year. Prepare a skill list. Make the child learn the skills that he is ready for.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm. They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home.
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