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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome to Homeschooling Letter

Congrats on considering homeschooling! Here are some words of wisdom.

1. Know and understand your state laws. It is LEGAL to homeschool. A great help in understanding your state laws are.....local Support Groups!!!

2. READ, READ, and did we mention READ? There are so many great books available on homeschooling!! Here are some favorites:
The Unschooling Handbook
by Mary Griffith
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell
The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn (even if you do not yet have a teen!!)
Anything by John Holt , Linda Dobson, the Moores, and the Colfaxes.
If you have a teen/pre-teen, find a copy of And What About College by Cafi Cohen.
100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning, by Cathy Duffy
You Can Teach Your Children Successfully by Ruth Beechick
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling
Teaching Children , by Diane Lopez
The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield
Just to name a few!

3. Take the time to learn how your children learn best. This is a benefit that homeschooling offers tailor our children's education to fit THEM! There are 3 primary styles of learning: Visual Learners (seeing), Auditory Learners(hearing), and Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners (doing).

University of Minnesota: Learning Styles
A great book on learning styles is called
In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong anything by him!
Also check out books by Cynthia Tobias and
Still Teaching Ourselves by Agnes Leistico.

Know that there are many different styles of homeschooling....there is NO right or wrong way to go about it. It is about what is RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD and you!! Here are some"terms".....

- Deschooling- a period of time after a child has been in public school to get out of the mode of 'school' . You may find that if you try to go right into homeschooling you will have a battle on your hands.. so if you take time to have some fun, go to museums, out to lunch etc.. things you could NOT do during 'school' before.. it might help. The loose rule of thumb is...for every year spent in schools, they will need a month to relearn that learning can be fun!!! To love it again.

- Curriculum based homeschooling- it is just as it sounds, you buy a prepackaged curriculum that comes with all the 'bells and whistles'. There is such a wide variety to pick from. The Elijah Company has a pretty good writeup on different kinds.

- Eclectic homeschooling- An eclectic curriculum is where you pick and choose resources, books, textbooks, ect. for each subject to be taught from different curriculum publishers. So rather than purchasing your entire curriculum (prepackaged) from the same publisher or provider you build your own curriculum from a variety of publishers/resources. For example: A 1st grade English curriculum might use Hooked on Phonics , Pathway Readers , Spelling Power , and Writing Strands, all from different publishers. Similarly, you could choose Making Math Meaningful, Math-U-See, or Saxon Math for your 1st grade Math Curriculum based on how your child learns. And then read aloud the Little House in the Big Woods series by Laura Ingals Wilder for your Social Studies: History, Geography, Economics, and Government curriculum, all in one set of books!!! You are still using books and workbooks but from different sources that meet your child's interests and needs.

- Unschooling- Child led learning; Natural learning; Delight-led learning; Spirit-led learning. The child is given back his own education. Learning is happening all the time. The parent is always on the lookout for that 'teachable moment'. It is a lot easier to do than it sounds. If the child wants to learn about the Civil War, that is what they study etc. We use whatever resources work!! Life is the most popular!! Here's a hint: Unschooling is what you have done since birth. It is the way you helped them walk, and talk, and learn the alphabet...When they were ready, in fun happy ways, with you there helping and supporting!! Find some unschoolers to talk to.. it is very interesting!

- Unit Studies- Unit studies is like.. you are studying horses. You do your math with horses, (age appropriate.. like counting them, percentage of white and brown, etc) your history of horses, biology of horses, etc. You study one thing that encompasses everything. Many people use this when they have many different levels in the household... it is easy to provide for all grade levels. Also, it works well with special needs children because you can focus on what they want to learn about.

5. Love your kids :) Hug them, learn with them, have fun!

Here are some links:

Catalogs and Resources

Eclectic Homeschool Online

School Is Dead; Learn in Freedom!
Great site, offers a list of colleges that accept homeschoolers.

NHERI National Home Education Research Institute 's Typical Course of Study
curriculum overview by grade

OK, that's it :) Hope it didn't overwhelm is really a GREAT journey you are beginning!

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