I just have struggled to start. I’m not exactly where to start or how to find the right fit for our family. Without knowing where to start seems very overwhelming. So I haven’t even started the cycle. I just avoid it. 😀 My boys are little yet. So my question is where do you start?
Have you done homeschooling from the start with all of your children? I’m considering it starting this fall. I just registered my oldest for Kindergarten and where we live it is full day, five days a week. On top of questionable material I think that is just too long for a five year old to be away from home. I am completely lost here with where to start. I’ve googled some. Looked at your homeschooling tab. If you were me and had the knowledge you have now, any suggestions with what to do? I also have a 2.5 yr and 4 mo at home.
Starting on the journey of homeschooling can be scary, no doubt about it!
The first thing I recommend to anyone thinking about homeschooling their children is to learn about the laws in your own state. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a clickable map that allows you to see what the laws are in your state regarding notification, testing and other regulations. HSLDA also has a great website to explore. It answers a lot of questions for newcomers and oldies alike. Finding someone in your area who already homeschools is a boon! They can offer advice and give valuable input into how the local school district works with homeschoolers.
Most states don’t require initial notification until the child is 7 years of age. Here in Nevada we have to send in a notice of intent to homeschool to our local school district. They are required by Nevada law to immediately grant permission. An official letter, which is good for the next 12 years, is sent acknowledging our choice to educate our child. We can present this letter to stores and other organizations to receive teacher or school discounts. There is no follow up from the school district, no standardized testing required, and our children are allowed to participate in any public school clubs, sports, or other organizations. We have it pretty easy thanks to state legislators who also homeschool. ☺
Once you get past that hurdle, it’s time to focus on the next hurdle. What do I teach?
Looking back to when I first started, I wish I had relaxed more. I was so stressed about making sure I didn’t forget anything when teaching my children. Now I know better! There is really no way to mess up preschool through second grade. HONEST! This is the best time to explore the world around you with your naturally curious child. Go on walks, explore all the senses, sing, dance, expose them to classical music. It is also the ideal time to expose them to books, books, and more books. You can NEVER read to them too much. Reading is the most important, and first skill, they need to learn. Without reading it is very difficult to learn any other subject including math. So read to them, instill a love of books in them until they are begging to learn to read for themselves.
Reading is so important it should not be forced upon your child until they are ready to learn – much like potty training. Don’t start at too early an age or else you will become frustrated and so will your child. My Mother-in-law told me a story about someone in her family teaching a group of young grade school children. She was trying to teach them how to read but there were a few students in her class that were having great difficulty. One day one of the superintendents came to supervise her class. Towards the end of class the supervisor asked all the children to stand up, reach their right hand up in the air, over their heads and touch their left ear. Those who could not do it where the ones having trouble learning how to read. The superintendent turned to the teacher and told her, “They just aren’t ready yet. Give them other things to do and when they can touch their left ear with their right hand then you start teaching them to read.” I have used that as one of my guides to know when my children are ready to read.
Other than focusing on books I recommend developing some type of structure to your day. Developing the habit of doing “school” at the same time each day will greatly help later on when “school” must be more thorough and involved. Children, particularly young children, thrive on routine. Take advantage of that! Only don’t be too surprised when they hold you to it.
I know most want a guide of some sort to help in teaching their children. Here are some wonderful resources and websites to aid you. These are recommended for those aged 3 – 7.
Letter of the Week – as the name implies one letter of the alphabet is introduced each week. There are books to read, finger plays, science studies, art and music suggestions to go along with every letter.
Ambleside Online Year 0 – A HUGE list of wonderful books to read with your child.
Bry-Back Manor – Lots of printables to supplement any learning you do.
PURCHASED (or check your library)
Five in a Row – You read the same book every day for a whole week doing activities to go along with that book each day. Really a fun program!
Happy Phonics – Developed by a homeschooling mother of seven this is a game based phonics program ideal for those children who like to wiggle!
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – I have used this program with success for the last four of my children. I didn’t know it existed with my first two. Special Dark just started a couple of weeks ago and LOVES it!