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homeschooling steps from a homeschooling mom

 

So you want to Homeschool? Where do I start?

When I first considered the foreign thought of homeschooling I already had friends enjoying the journey. Since my boys were still babies I had plenty of time to warm up to it. My husband somehow just always knew we would homeschool.  Under some circumstances you may not have time to warm up, if there is a SUDDEN need to take the kids out of school for instance.... but you must agree with your spouse on your decision to homeschool. Meanwhile, there is plenty to do while he’s warming up to the idea….Research!

Concentrate on the first year.  One full year ~ Any thought of running a homeschool until GRADUATION may just drive you from the commitment altogether. I believe that you will continue, come to look forward to your future decisions to homeschool, but initiallycommit to one whole year.

If you are still struggling with the decision to homeschool, contact one of our veteran mom mentors for helpful information.

Beware of the opposition. They usually lurk within your own family. Those who oppose you simply do not have proper information. Be ready to stand firm and confident

LIES they will tell you:
You are not qualified to teach.
Your response could be...30 unknown kids in a classroom, maybe not, but I've been their teacher since they were born. Harder subjects come with DVD's  these days where the student can back up and listen again until they have it.

Without standardized testing they will fall behind.
I'll know on a daily basis how well my child is doing. Standardized testing is required for government funding. It helps the department of education determine how well the teachers are doing and keeps them challenged. Homeschoolers too have opportunities for state testing.
What about curriculum?
100's of companies offer grade specific curriculum. 

My favorite:

What about socialization?
My latest impatient response to that comment "Oh what class is that in the public school, teen pregnancy?"
Co-op opportunities offer classes, field trips, clubs, dances and graduations. Socialization is exactly why some homeschoolers choose not to public school. Where in life will any adult encounter a co-worker demand their lunch? or be forced to sit next to another adult "until you can just work this conflict out together". After prom parties are NOT a right of passage and children will not be damaged by missing a slow dance (or even dating). The younger you date the more you "break up" and the better you get at.....Divorce.  

It is best to avoid these conversations though and just get back to that wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at hand.

Family will often unfairly test the child with on the spot questions. Really, they are just testing YOU. Prepare your children to say......I have not studied that yet but.....did you know that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth.  

Book Review: Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson... 
 (to be discussed at a moms meeting near you....)

Lies:

  • Everyone else's kids are better than yours. 
  • Everyone's house is cleaner than yours.
  • Everyone Fixes Better meals than you.
  • Everyone is more disciplined than you and more spiritual.
  • Everyone's Marriage is better than yours.
  • Every other mom loves homeschooling her kids
  • Everyone else is more capable than you.
  • You are the only one who is falling apart and feels the way you feel.

Truth:

  • Get a friend, dump the downers
  • You are not alone
  • God gave your children exactly the mother they needed
  • Don't compare
  • Your children will become exactly what God wants them to be
  • You can't do it all
  • Those perfect homeschooling families are not real
  • Your doing a great job

 

TIME.....TIME....TIME....TIME....TIME.....TIME....TIME....TIME....TIME

Set aside the TIME. This is a serious commitment. Some days may be longer than others. Even IF When the laundry piles up give your child the proper amount of time.

TIME - A serious commitment!

Set apart the time!!

The most important tool in homeschooling. Some days take longer than others. Even if the laundry piles up give your child the proper amount of time.   

Follow a schedule! And yet it is ok to adjust that schedule as you find out what works for your family. Homeschooling has advantages of certain degree of flexibility and spontaneity but be sure not to get to relaxed in your unschooling adventure.  You need structure and your kids need structure. They will thrive on organization and a specific schedule.

You just found out the museum has a free admission day, go for it! But back to the regularly schedule program tomorrow. You will get fewer questions about “What  will we be doing today?”; if they know what is expected of them. Even the youngest students like to see progress by marking assignments completed.

 

Know the Law!

It is legal to homeschool in all STATES!

In some states, there are more detailed guidelines and harsh requirements. In Wisconsin, parents don't need to do much to comply. 

HSLDA... Protect your family--Join today!

By clicking on the banner ad for HSLDA or using HomeStars as a referral code will generate a little commission to our Homeschool group. Fundraisers like these keep tuition costs down and allow us to offer more programs each year. We appreciate it.   

To withdraw from your WI school district click here. I recommend using a random user name/password rather than personal email just to protect your privacy. If your child has already been enrolled in a public/private school you must complete this process ASAP then again every school year. I also recommend completing the required notification as close to the deadline in October at possible.

Understanding that there are many circumstances that brought you to the decision of withdrawing your youngster, religious, issues with a particular school or just because you want, be sure to have  legal back up with the Home School Legal Defense Association HSLDA. For the cost of $115 per year HSLDA will keep you informed on your legal rights and communicate the with the state on your behalf. Even if you NEVER need to use your membership with them your dues will help offset the cost of a family in an unthinkable situation. 

By joining HSLDA under a Homeschool organization such as HomeStars you may receive a group discount rate AND HomeStars receives a small fundraising commission. Just click the banner ad above for more information. 

Wisconsin Parents Association WPA is a statewide, inclusive, grassroots organization. It was founded in 1984 to oppose legislation that would have severely limited homeschoolers' freedoms by giving the Department of Public Instruction power and authority over homeschools. Homeschoolers working together through WPA got the legislation amended so it became one of the most reasonable homeschooling laws in the country.

To join this organization has benefits of graduation, conferences, discounts and keeps you updated on WI legal issues effecting Homeschoolers. When you join WPA through a homeschool group such as HomeStars we receive a small fundraising fee allowing us to continue to offer classes, speakers and events to members at a reasonable cost. If you are going to join WPA or renew your membership please consider joining through HomeStars.    

 

Ahh The search for curriculum 

  • If you’ve been thinking for a while then maybe you want to go through several curriculum book lists and create your own. Some enjoy counting out the lessons and calculating the days, weeks and schedules.
  • Keep records of your schedule.
  • If your just starting in high school talk to an expert.
  • If your not starting from Kindergarten know your Childs learning level. Many reading or math curricula will have placement tests. I firmly believe many subjects can be taught with multiple siblings levels because they will repeat them several times through out their academic career but phonics/reading and math certainly deserve to be progressive. 

    Recommended by a HomeStar member veteran.

    By clicking this banner ad HomeStars will receive a commission~if you buy. Fundraisers like this keep cost at a minimum and allow us to offer more programs each year.

     

 

Examine yourself. How do you like to teach?  Before you embark on the incredibly rewarding homeschool journey, you need to examine yourself. What kind of teaching role do you want to take? I found a quote on a web site once that simply said become your favorite teacher. Take a moment to think about the teachers in your life. Maybe you had a negative experience with all of them but this too will be your way of not being what they were to you.

 

  • Do you want curriculum that is already set up – a package deal clearly spelled out?
  • Do you want to take curriculum then modify it to fit your needs?
  • Do you want to pick out every unit, subject, worksheet and book? Obtain a book list from several curriculum companies and go ECLECTIC. 
  • Do you want to get dirty with science and be prepared to have experiments around the house. Or do you prefer an organized home?
  • Designate a homeschool space. If you don’t have a whole room and separtate desks for each child then at least designated boxes in a corner. Demand that no child leaves his/her books on a coffee table or just anywhere. Trust me it will save you hours of looking for curriculum the next day.

What kind of a learner are you? That will determine what kind of a teacher you are as well.

A naturalist will learn about bugs better by turning over a rock or looking through a microscope, but someone who does not like to get their hands dirty would prefer reading abut them in a book. An artist may fight you to write that research paper because they are itching to draw a picture of it. So let them. A musician might learn math facts by rhythm and repetition where an auditory learner will memorize and a kinesthetic needs manipulatives. Know your childs learning style. There is more to it than just Auditory or Hands-On. Did you know there are naturalists, musical, logical, Kinesthetic, Spatial and Artistic learning styles

Our homeschool group invited speaker Diana Warring to present a workshop in 2010 and I highly recommend her workshop cd's available here.  I learned not only what kind of learner my children were but what kind of learner/teacher I was! My musician tapping a pencil was not bothering his capability of listening it was bothering my capability of reading aloud. Kids CAN be more than one kind of learner too. In a school setting all kids are taught all subjects one way. If they cannot keep up they fall behind or get accused of being a slow learner when they are actually very clever, creative or artistic and cannot sit still or listen to the drone of a lecture. When you find an interest in your child like music for example, develop that skill with the best lessons money can buy. Music is a good example but Science, Math …YOU will be the child’s biggest obstacle at that point.

These points are important to explore as you search for just the right curriculum. Why? Because they help to define the kind of program you need.

If you are still struggling with the decision to homeschool, contact one of our veteran mom mentors for helpful information.

 

Know your passions; know your abilities and be willing to accept your strengths and your weaknesses. That is where a successful program begins.

If you are one who has no idea where to begin or what you should include in your program, consider working with a veteran homeschoolers in HomeStars. Many of us love to let someone browse through our material. 

Spiritual growth and a strong foundation. Your greatest commitment should be your relationship with God and building your children’s relationship with God.

Before you realize it your desire for academic success may become a higher priority than training your children to know God. Many of us have found ourselves setting aside Bible time in order to fit in the enhancements of our programs. It happens so don’t be too confident that it couldn’t happen to you.

On a personal note of experience: I can tell the difference when I don’t start out my day in prayer before I even get out of bed or before the pencil hits the paper.

Grow your relationship with your spouse.  A strong parental relationship is essential part of parenting and homeschooling. This area often becomes difficult or forgotten. Many homeschoolers will agree. Your children’s relationships even at a young age is based on what they see now~ in the home. Be in agreement on the homeschooling decision. Work through struggles. Discuss the homeschool curriculum before you buy and get your spouse as excited about it as you.

Some books we save until bedtime so dad does not miss a chapter. Many times I read even the history aloud so dad can say wow! Really? I never heard it said that way before.  

Continue dating for a lifetime. Your spouse that is….. Those formal dates before children or before marriage will turn into a walk, a cup of coffee at Borders or a private talk without computers or TV but make the time for one-on-one weekly.

Grow new relationships.  Surround yourself with individuals with like minded interests. A Homeschool support group about sums that up I’d say. This is an important part of your homeschool experience! These new friendships provide support, encouragement and ideas.  

Homeschoolers love to help each other. We love to share ideas, to create field trip opportunities, to hold each other up through times of struggle and to be there to help when needed.

If you have not been steered in this direction consider attending a HomeStars Moms support meeting on the 2nd Tuesday afternoon of each month.

Bring your questions to one of our veteran homeschooling moms. Enjoy refreshments, listen to a guest speaker on homeschool and real life, while the kids "try out" our co-op classes. 

 

Being connected with other homeschool families has it's benefits. In casual conversation we learn what works for them and what did not and we are able to share our tips and tricks of a homeschooling day. We spark ideas on how to manage your time, get cooking tips, curriculum ideas, home management with life long friends with alike goals. 

I know this may seem overwhelming, but once you make those commitments you are ready to start one of the most rewarding journeys you will ever experience!

Enjoy the ride!
Michelle Johnson