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Homeschooling - Homeschool Tips and Resources

Aug 27, 2007
Homeschool can quickly grow and become an enterprise that is overwhelming. There is so much that parents need to learn before they can begin to educate their children. However, just like any other large and complex task, it is much easier to tackle when you break it down into simple to handle pieces. Plus, homeschooling is not nearly as difficult as many people think it is - or as the make it seem.

The first thing to remember in homeschooling is that there is no "one size fits all" and what is right for one person may not work for someone else. This being said, there is no single starting point that is right for everyone. Different parents present different skill sets and have different life experiences. However, nearly every single parent who attacks this task will at some point experience some trickle of doubt as to whether they can actually DO this or if homeschooling is right for their child or even their family. The doubts are normal, but what it boils down to is that only the parent and child can decide if it is right. Family members who do not understand or approve can not make the very personal decision regarding how your child is educated - only you and your child can do that.

If you decide to go with homeschooling, know that homeschooled children, on the average, outscore their peers on standardized tests and perform at the top of their class in college. Within the home, parents can offer an environment to the child that is safe, fun and is conducive to learning. They can tailor an educational program that is structured specifically for their child's needs and interests. This is an area where public schools often fail.

The Law

One of the first things that you should do once you make the decision to homeschool your child is to learn everything that you can about the laws and regulations in your state. Learning the legal requirements and restrictions should be done very early in the process. The HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) can provide you with a wealth of information and assistance. They can guide you through the process of researching the laws in your state. While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, certain aspects differ such as the amount of paperwork and the level of involvement of local school districts. Some states also require that homeschooled students be tested at certain points to track their progression.

Support Groups

Modern homeschooling has been around for more than 40 years. Literally hundreds of organizations have been formed during at time that covers every state and nearly every area in the United States. You can find a list for your area by visiting http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/states/index.php. There are also many online groups and many are even region specific. Yahoo groups, Google groups and MSN groups all have very useful clubs where homeschoolers can share curriculum, tips, support and supplies including books. Some local online groups even have field trips, get togethers, play groups and teen nights to aid in the socialization process for the children.

Books and Magazines

There are many books and magazines that are available to help with homeschooling issues. However, as the internet has grown and expanded, there is even more information readily available to homeschooling parents as well as students. Parents can sign up for homeschooling newsletters and they can even go on to teacher resource websites and sign up for newsletters and daily tips.

If you are interested in reading the philosophy of homeschooling and its origins, John Holt's books are fascinating. "Teach Your Own" by Patrick Farenga is also a very popular book on homeschooling. "Classical Homeschooling Magazine" is available at http://www.classicalhomeschooling.com. While it mainly focuses on the classical homeschooling approach, homeschoolers of all types can gain valuable information from it. "Home Education Magazine" is another very popular publication regarding homeschooling.

Materials and Resources

Materials and resources are integral to the homeschoolers success, but not in the manner that you may think. Many parents elect the school-at-home route, at least initially. What this does is basically take the books and materials out of the classroom and place them in the home where the child learns them and the parent is the teacher. It usually does not take long for parents to realize how much effort is involved in this method and they often find the materials substandard at best.

There are alternative materials and curricula available from many commercial sources. The homeschooling clubs and groups mentioned earlier can also offer a wealth of information. There are materials and curricula that can be downloaded on the internet for free and these groups can point you in the right direction. A popular forum that provides good information is http://forum.homeschool.com/forum/default.asp. Another popular source is HEM (Home Education Magazine). You can access their site at http://www.homeedmag.com/wlcm_netwrk.html. Another site is http://www.home-school.com/forums.

All of these sites give parents helpful tips, suggestions for curriculum design and materials and much more.

Your approach to homeschooling your child may be structured or unstructured. It depends on you and your child's goals, whether they are college, art school or just a good foundation of knowledge and a keen mind. Whatever your concerns and issues, you can find the help that you need to get you started and make your homeschool experience a success.
About the Author
Learning can be fun, and games can be educational. Give your kids the best of both worlds, come visit 123KidsGames.com - Educational Books and Games and discover the best, most fun way to grow and learn.

123KidsGames.com is also a valuable homeschooling resource - find great homeschooling books, tips and advice here.
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