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Homeschooling: Where Do I Start?

This is a common question from parents that are thinking of home schooling for the first time. It can be overwhelming if you do not have a plan in place.
There are many different things to keep in mind if you are going to begin home schooling. First thing you must do is get acquainted with your state laws. Every state has different laws for home schooling and you want to be sure you are abiding by the rules. A great resource is The Home School Legal Defense Association.

So, you are ready to begin, now what? The first thing to do is to develop a plan and a schedule. The place is not really important, because one of the beauties of home schooling is that it can be done anywhere. You can have a designated room or you can do it on the kitchen table, outside, or living room. The place will be determined by you when you begin.

For Pre-schoolers: craft supplies are a must, which will include but not limited to paints, play dough, construction paper, crayons, blocks, sand, measuring cups, etc. This group is great to work with because they are very inquisitive but they also do not have large attention spans. So, time is scheduled in blocks.

For instance, you may start with the letter of the day. In the morning you can make breakfast with anything that begins with that letter and then incorporate a craft, in the afternoon, you can incorporate visual and writing activities and reading. It will all depend on you and your child. Typically for a pre-schooler 2-3 hours a day is more than enough time, but we are always doing some sort of schooling so it usually encompasses most of our day.

Elementary and Middle School: There is a wonderful series of books on the market that are made for each individual grade. It lists what a child should know for each grade level, from 1st through 6th. This is a wonderful book to use as a guide line and as supplemental work. There are also an abundance of workbooks that you can purchase in warehouse stores, book stores, discount shops, garage sales, etc. You can also purchase pre-packaged curriculum for any particular grade level to make it easier. But remember, that each child learns at a different pace, so what may be in a package for a 4th grader may be too difficult or too easy for your child, so you will need to research and decide accordingly. Typically but not usually, for 1st through 8th grade, it will take a child 4 to 6 hours a day to accomplish their given school work. Our family does not follow a time schedule, so like I have mentioned before, we can incorporate schooling in many of our daily activities.

High School: If you have taught your child all along, you will know what your child is capable of handling, so this part should not be difficult. It is very important to keep a transcript of classes taken in the high school years for college entrance interviews. There are many free samples available online or you can develop your own. Check with your state and determine the amount of credit hours and classes needed in order to graduate and develop your curriculum at that time. There are many resources available such as pre-packaged curriculum, home school groups, and online classes available for high school students. Home school groups are wonderful for any age group but for high schoolers it will give them a sense of belonging to a group and not being alone. Many communities have groups that will incorporate activities for high schoolers to attend and some have proms and graduation ceremonies. If this is something your child needs, it is a great addition to your home school schedule. High schoolers also need to satisfy community service hours, many states require this in order to graduate and that is easily attainable for home schoolers.

I have given you a very brief outline of what you can do when thinking about home schooling or organizing your home school program. With a little determination, lots of love and organization you will be successful.

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