New to Homeschooling?

Welcome! Homeschooling is the most flexible and diverse educational option available today. The variety of homeschooling styles reflects the diversity of the people who choose this method - parents who have decided to take charge of their children’s education.

   

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With this decision comes new experiences and initially there are more questions than answers. Homeschool.com’s founding principle is to consistently provide resources, information, and support to all homeschooling families.  Below is a brief introduction to some of the many areas created just for new homeschooling parents or parents considering homeschooling.

Some Basic Questions

As with any new subject matter a solid foundation of information can help quell fears and satisfy reservations. Primary concerns such as “Is homeschooling legal?” (Yes, it is) and “How much does homeschooling cost?” are some of the main questions asked about homeschooling. The answers to these questions and others such as “What are the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?” can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page http://www.homeschool.com/new/faq.asp .

A Great Place to Start!

Interest in homeschooling and a base of understanding is a great beginning. Combining that with Homeschool.com's Official Getting Started Kit http://www.homeschool.com/kits/default.asp  can help finalize a decision or start the process.  The kit includes the “Getting Started Video,” which walks through the process of starting a homeschool; the “Homeschooling For Success” book, with more start up information, a listing of local support groups, and state homeschooling laws; and three Special Reports to help with the transition into the world of homeschooling. There are several different Getting Started Kits to choose from – Eclectic, High School, Christian, and Unit Studies. To order the kits go to www.homeschool.com/kits

Teleconference Recordings

Every year, Homeschool.com hosts a free homeschooling teleconference where we interview 32 experts about how to get started, how to motivate the kids, how to organize your home, how to discover your child's learning styles, etc. We recorded the hour long interviews and you can order them for just $8 per CD. Limited copies are available so order now at: www.Homeschool.com/preorder

How to Homeschool?

Most homeschoolers use an eclectic approach that is partly structured and partly interest-based. This method allows parents to pick and choose the classes and materials that meet their children’s needs. Although every homeschool is unique, certain homeschooling "styles" have become prevalent. The following are the most popular homeschooling styles.

  • The School-at-home approach generally involves purchasing a boxed curriculum complete with textbooks, study schedules, grades, and record keeping. While this allows families to know exactly what to teach and when to teach it, it also requires much more work on the part of the teacher/parent and the lessons are not as much fun for the children.
     

  • Unit studies work with a theme of interest and integrates a variety of subject areas under that theme. For example, a unit study of ancient Egypt would include the history of Egypt, reading and writing stories, generating art projects and mapping a catacomb. This method is best when incorporated into other learning methods so it does not become overwhelming.
     
  • "Relaxed" or "Eclectic" is the method most often used. Eclectic homeschoolers combine an assortment of styles, perhaps using workbooks for math, reading, and spelling, and using an unschooled approach for other subjects. This allows for subjects considered most important to be covered more thoroughly.
     
  • Unschoolers learn from everyday life experiences and do not use school schedules or formal lessons. Unschooled children follow their curiosity and learn by pursuing an interest. This gives children the time to become experts in areas of interest but may not allow them to do as well on grade-level assessments or reentering the school system.
     
  • The "Classical" method began in the Middle Ages and was used by some of the greatest minds in history. The goal of the classical approach is to teach people how to learn for themselves. The five tools of learning are reason, record, research, relate, and rhetoric.
     
  • The core of the Charlotte Mason method is that children deserve to be respected and that they learn best from real-life situations. Students take nature walks, visit art museums, and learn subjects from "living books." Assessment of understanding is done via discussion and not tests.
     
  • Waldorf education stresses the importance of educating the whole child—body, mind, and spirit. Early grades emphasize arts and crafts, music, movement, and nature, while older children are taught to develop self-awareness and reasoning.
     
  • The Montessori method emphasizes "errorless learning," where the children learn at their own pace to develop their full potential. The Montessori homeschool emphasizes beauty and avoids confusion or clutter. Although Montessori materials are available for high school students, most homeschoolers use the Montessori method for younger children.
     
  • "Multiple intelligences" is an idea developed by Howard Gardner and Harvard University’s Project Zero. The belief is that learning is easiest and most effective when it uses a person’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. The theory includes a list of learning styles and assessments to identify them.
     
  • The DVD/Video Schooling approach can be used with all different styles of homeschooling by using quality educational titles to help learn Science, Physics, American History, World History, Religion, Preschool skills, Music, Art and more. A powerful movie can inspire a new interest or help develop a solid understanding of a complicated area of learning. Homeschool.com offers a DVD rental program that features programs from PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and video lessons in Math, English and History at http://www.familypass.com/home.aspx?AffiliateID=173
     
  • The power of the Internet can be harnessed by accessing virtual tutors, virtual schools, online curriculum, and quality websites. Help, expert advice, and resources necessary to homeschooling are always available, in addition to cutting-edge online curriculum programs, private distance learning schools, homeschool support academies and more.

Some children prefer structure and learn best when they are told what to do, others learn best on their own. Some children do their best work around the kitchen table, and others excel when they are out of doors. The goal for homeschooling parents is to identify how, when, and what their child learns best and to adapt their teaching style to their child.

Final Thoughts

 Still not sure about homeschooling? Consider the Ten Most Important Things You Need to Know About Homeschooling:

1.   Homeschooling is life changing. It creates personal growth for both the parent and the child. You (the parent) get a second chance to re-discover your own special genius; while you help your children discover theirs. Nothing you will ever do will have a more profound effect on your child and your family's future as homeschooling.

2.   You are qualified to homeschool your children if you love to read to them, love to spend time with them, love to explore the world with them, love to see them learn new things and, most important, love them.

3.   Children love to learn. It is as natural to them as breathing. They have an inborn hunger to explore the world and examine what is interesting. They learn by following their interests, with one interest leading to another. This is the way we all learned as younger children and how as adults we learn after we leave school. Homeschooling families learn together and know that learning is a life-long process.

4.   Homeschooling is legal everywhere in the United States, but homeschooling laws vary from state to state. The three basic categories for homeschooling laws are: home education laws, private school laws, and equivalency laws. The best way to find out what your state laws are is to contact a local support group in your area. To contact a representative from your state, please visit our list of local homeschooling groups. They are well versed in your states particular laws and regulations and can assist you.

5.   It does not take six to eight hours a day to homeschool your child. Most of the time children spend at school consists of waiting. Design a plan that works for your family and be prepared to scratch it several times and start over. Don't sacrifice your family's happiness to "school" your children. There are many ways families homeschool; find what works for you and your family.

6.   Your child will not become a social misfit. Children do not need to be socialized in a large group of same-age children to become well adjusted socially. Quite the opposite. Most parents want their children to learn their social graces from adults, not other children. Homeschoolers have healthy relationships with people of all ages, including the new mother next door, the retired couple who loves to garden, their friends at ballet, 4-H and Karate and, most important, their parents.

7.   You will not have to teach algebra unless you really want to. It is not necessary to teach pre-algebra to ten year olds. When your teen decides to become a scientist, or is ready to explore the requirements of college admission, together you will explore the ways they can learn algebra: in a community college class, with a tutor, or through text books.  After years of using math in their daily lives, homeschooled teens are well equipped to teach themselves higher math. Don't worry about it when they are ten.

8.   You will question yourself a lot. Maybe several times a day in the beginning. This is normal. Find a fellow homeschooling friend. Support each other. Tell each other that it's okay to sometimes feel that your children didn't seem to learn anything on a given day. They did, and so did you!

9.   You do not have to starve or live in a tent to homeschool your children. Thousands of homeschooling families are able to make the money they need and homeschool their children at the same time. While you create a family business or dream job, or restructure your current job, your children will learn the most important skill of all- how to create the life of their dreams.

10. Trust in your child. They learned how to love, smile, crawl, walk, talk, run, dress themselves, and understand their world before starting school, and they will continue to grow and learn without school.

Keep in mind that everyone who currently homeschools was new to the concept initially. While the world of homeschooling is unique, it is very supportive. Take some time to review the resources and information available and find answers to questions. Remember that thousands of other people have done this. You are not alone!

Additional Resources

A list of the Top Ten Homeschooling Books http://www.homeschool.com/bookstore/default.asp such as “So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It” by Lisa Whelchel and “The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12” by Linda Dobson is available in our bookstore.

Homeschool Message Boards
http://forum.homeschool.com/forum/default.asp are a great way for you to connect and chat with other virtual homeschoolers. Sample discussion areas include Curriculum, Gifted & Special Needs, My First Year in Homeschooling, Homeschooling During the Teen Years, and Homeschooling Young Children, in addition to boards for each method of homeschooling.

Homeschool.com’s Free e-Newsletter
http://www.homeschool.com/subscribe/default.asp allows you to stay up-to-date on new ideas in homeschooling or the latest events and resources at the site.

Our Resource Guide http://www.homeschool.com/resources/default.asp is a comprehensive and growing guide of homeschooling resources and services to help each child reach their highest potential!

Detailed information and resources for each of the homeschool approaches can be found at our The Different Ways to Homeschool http://www.homeschool.com/Approaches/default.asp section.

 

   Your Guide to Homeschool.com   

Homeschooling is a wonderful option for families today and Homeschool.com is here to help. We have a number of resources that may be helpful to you:

Awesome Homeschooling How-To Kits from Homeschool.com!
Eclectic, High School, Christian and Unit Studies Kits.  These excellent kits answer all your questions about homeschooling and can help you find the curriculum that is right for you. Available at: http://www.homeschool.com/kits

Recordings from the 2005 Homeschooling Teleconference
Homeschool.com interviewed your favorite homeschooling authors and speakers and asked them for their advice about Christian homeschooling, homeschooling through high school, how to get into college, how to teach multiple age children at the same time, homeschooling the special needs child, you name it!  Just $8 per CD! http://www.homeschool.com/preorder

Homeschool.com's Resource Guide
Find it here! Homeschool.com's Resource Guide is a comprehensive and growing online guide to homeschooling resources and services for all subjects and grades. Visit the Resource Guide at: http://www.homeschool.com/resources

Local Support Groups
You are not alone in your homeschooling adventure.  Simply select the state you live in and you will find a wonderful listing of homeschooling support groups in your area. http://www.homeschool.com/supportgroups

NEW! Homeschooling Forum
FREE!
Try our new Homeschooling Message Boards!  Want to connect with other homeschoolers? We have message boards for every subject and every method of homeschooling. http://forum.homeschool.com

DVD Schooling at Homeschool.com
Imagine having access to the best educational shows from PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, and even video classes, any time you want and without having to sign up for cable. Now you can rent great educational DVDs and keep them for as long as you want and never worry about late fees. And these DVDs are mailed directly to your home and then you return them in the addressed and stamped envelope. We love this program and highly recommend it! To learn more, click on http://mentura.com/DVDRentals/homeschool.html

We hope you enjoyed receiving this newsletter. If you would like to reprint any of the above information, please contact editor@homeschool.com.  If you would rather not receive any future e-newsletters from Homeschool.com, please visit this page: http://www.homeschool.com/us

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