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A Note to New Homeschoolers

Educating your children is a huge responsibility and will require commitment on your part! I am so thankful each day for the many joys and challenges that I get to share with my kids.

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that you get to choose what works best for your family! No two families will have the same schedule, style, curriculum, method, etc. Many times, no two days for the same family will even look alike! If you try something, and it isn't working, CHANGE it! Remember that schedules are a guide and not gospel. If your children are moving faster, or slower, than what you have scheduled, it is okay! If your children want to explore further a certain lesson than what you have allowed time for, let them! You can always re-evaluate tomorrow's schedule. You will find that it takes far fewer hours of structured instruction to progress academically than a 'normal' school day. You will find, too, that you are teaching, and your children are learning, every waking moment. They are learning morals, family values, character traits, conflict resolution, how to run a household, life skills, cooking, baking, fixing, creativity, independence, budgeting, time management, and the list goes on. Homeschooling is more than an educational choice, it is a lifestyle. 

Speak to your spouse BEFORE you start educating your children at home! It is extremely important that spouses are a part of, and are in support of, ALL homeschool choices. Education should be a family affair. Once you start, you will find that there are countless opportunities for teachable moments throughout each day. Take advantage of that. Get Dad involved. If Dad is the primary teacher, then include Mom!

When choosing a curriculum, always keep your child's learning style in mind before you make a purchase. For younger children especially, do not underestimate the importance of play! Babies, even, can learn at their parent's knee. Read to your children often. Let them read to you. There are great videos to use with Geography, Science, and History. Music is an awesome way to teach multiplication. any kind of pattern, verses, languages, etc. You can be creative with teaching tools! I encourage you to take advantage of the internet. There are many free sites that you can use for curriculum or as supplements to your favorite purchased curriculum. If you prefer a 'boxed' curriculum, look into buying used. You can homeschool on a budget!

Here are a few links to help you determine your child's learning style:

http://csl.cofc.edu/pv_obj_cache/pv_obj_id_B0DE294280BBED242250B7CF0B3A9C6D95680100/filename/learning_styles_the_four_modalities.pdf

http://web.cortland.edu/andersmd/learning/modalities.htm

Look here for the different teaching styles:

http://www.homeschool.com/Approaches/default.asp

I encourage you, too, to look into a local co-op and get involved! It is imperative that homeschooling families surround themselves with other homeschooling families! Having supportive family and friends is wonderful, but you will need the support of like-minded friends, too. You will have days when you doubt yourself and everything that you have done. That is totally normal! Reach out to other homeschool moms.  I promise that you are not alone. Always encourage one another.

Below, you will find several examples of schedules from ONE real homeschooling family. (These schedules started out being timed. After a few months of this, schedules changed.) Note that each day is very different.  Remember, YOU get to make your children's schedule! You can be structured, or you can be a little more relaxed.

1) 9:30-10 Chores

    10-10:30 Pledge, Prayer, Bible lesson

    10:30-11:15 Language Arts, Handwriting, Spelling- Poetry

    11:15-11:45 Math (We reviewed measurements and made a tool box in the afternoon)

    11:45-12:30 American History

    12:30-1:00 Nature Walk

        Afternoons are free for Reading, Projects, Games, Extracurricular Activities, Free Time

2) 9:45 -10 Prayer

    10-10:40 Phonics/Reading with the younger ones and Writing/Copywork for the older ones

    10:40-11:20 SC State History, begin lapbook

    11:45-12:15 Art, Van Gogh

    12:15 Lunch-Cooking lesson

    12:45-1:15 Math, fractions

    1:15-2 Science (We use Unit Studies. This week's lessons are about weather. We had instruction and did a Water Cycle experiment)

    8-9pm  Video on 9-11 with Dad

3) Today, we will work on researching Helen Keller and begin a report. We will continue working on our Time Line for History, 612 B.C to 404 B.C. Math test after lunch, multiplication and division for older, number recognition and addition for younger. Reading assignment is to finish The Horse and The Boy by C.S Lewis. Little ones to read their readers and practice handwriting.

4) Co-op from 10-2

   Dance at 4:30 and Baseball at 6:30

5) Field trip at Ripleys's Aquarium and Shark dissection in the afternoon

You will notice that none of these real examples mimic a brick and mortar school day, and there is no reason why they would need to. Please don't frustrate yourself and your kids by trying to do at home what is meant to be done in a classroom with 28 kids all at different levels, with different behavioral issues, and is meant to produce high scores on a state standardized test. Hard as it may be, try and get that 'classroom' image out of your head. Your family and its needs are unique. Your children and their needs are unique. Celebrate that! You know your children best and love them more than anyone else on Earth will. You CAN teach your children, and you can do it WELL! Not everyday will be blissful, but everyday should be cherished. The blessings and the rewards that you and your family will reap are beyond comparison! And, if you should all need a break, take a field trip! Field trips count as school days when you homeschool, and what better way to learn than to be up close and personal!

Blessings on your journey!