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Getting Started in Homeschooling

  copied from Gods World Book Club

Welcome to the world of homeschooling!

  • What are the laws regulating homeschooling in my state?
  • Where can I get information and help locally?
  • Which type of curriculum should I use: traditional, unit study, relaxed (unschooling)?
  • Where can I get the resources I need?
  • Where do I begin?
The information below will help you begin finding the answers you need.
This article is designed to help you get started by providing information and resources that you can use to make your family's homeschooling experience a success.

Every family is different; therefore each homeschool will be different. However, there are some basic questions for every family to consider:

Information
For the family who is in the process of deciding whether to homeschool, getting information is the primary need. Two of the best information sources are homeschooling books, and advice from experienced homeschoolers. There are any number of books available on this subject, but some of our favorites are:

  • The Christian Home Educators' Manual, Elementary, by Cathy Duffy. ISBN: 0929320131
  • The Christian Home Educators' Manual, Junior/Senior High, by Cathy Duffy. ISBN: 092932014X
  • The 3 R's (Primary grades) by Ruth Beechick. ISBN: 0940319063
  • You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully (Elementary grades), by Ruth Beechick. ISBN: 0940319047
  • The Homeschool Answer Book, by Ruth Beechick, edited by Debbie Strayer. ISBN: 0940319128
  • How to Homeschool: A Practical Approach, by Gayle Graham. ISBN: 1880892405
  • The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, by Debra Bell. ISBN: 0849975751

Any one of these books will give a new homeschooler the basics to get started and the motivation to keep going.

Advice
The other resource – experienced homeschoolers – can be a wealth of information, if you know where to find them! The best way to find help in your area is to contact your state homeschool association. These associations can help you get in touch with homeschoolers near you, plus they can give you the details on state and local homeschooling laws and regulations. For complete information on state requirements, contact your state association or government agency, or access state information from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Styles
One of the most challenging aspects of homeschooling is determining which educational approach to use. Along with content, price and availability, it is important to consider your teaching style and your children’s learning styles when choosing your materials as well as your family’s lifestyle and interests. These factors will help determine which kind of curriculum will bring the most success.

You will find that every homeschooling family takes its own approach to learning. For some, especially those new to homeschooling, a more traditional teaching approach is appealing. Using prepared curriculum materials with step-by-step plans and instructions helps parents know each day what will be covered in each subject for each child. Others may prefer doing unit studies, incorporating several subjects on a common theme (e.g.: historical time periods, literature based, etc.) which can be studied by multiple ages at the same time. Some families prefer relaxed homeschooling (or "unschooling"), directing the instruction from the student’s interests. And many families combine these and other approaches for a course of study that is custom-designed for their children.

It may take a little time, but with prayer and consideration you will be able to determine the most effective ways of teaching your children. You can find more specific information about learning styles and the different education approaches in any of the books listed above, or look for The Way They Learn, by Cynthia Tobias (ISBN: 1561794147).

Ideas
Once you have determined which type of curriculum items you want to use, the next step is finding them! There are several avenues you can explore to obtain the books you want:

  • Contact local public and private schools and colleges for suggestions, checkout, and discarded books.
  • Use the public library for a free source of "real books" for reading and research. Approach the librarian about obtaining copies of homeschool curriculum guides for reference or checkout.
  • Join a local homeschool support group as a source of books, ideas, and encouragement.
  • Most states have homeschool curriculum fairs and conferences. Contact your state association for details.
  • Mail-order and Internet catalogs. Local homeschoolers can recommend their favorite catalogs, and a general search on "homeschool curriculum" on the Internet will yield a list of companies to investigate.

 


 

Homeschooling can be a great choice for your family. Pray, plan carefully, utilize the resources available, and enjoy!