You want to home school but aren’t sure what you need to do to get started? Well, look no farther! I have been home schooling for the past 12 years. What started out as, “We will do this for kindergarten because I am not sure I want my little girl to be gone all day to school” turned into a life style. We have loved every minute of it!
When we started home schooling, there were little to no curriculum choices out there. Now, you can find tons of home school curriculum’s. You can buy them from local bookstores, Christan books stores, teaching supply stores, on-line catalogs and even private schools and colleges. There are home school conference where you can review home school curriculum and even purchase it on the spot.
We chose to go with an accredited program. What this means is we purchase all our text books, teacher books, workbooks, from a popular home school Christian Academy. At the beginning of the school year, we receive a school calendar and a letter of enrollment (In case you need this for your school district). The students are required to do a certain amount of work in a 9 week period, just like a public school. The teacher books tell me what to teach each day, what pages the student will need to do in their workbooks, material to quiz or test the student over, as well as supply me with all the test and quizzes and an answer book with a grade point. I am also sent a progress report for each class that the student takes. On this progress report, I record all the grades for their test and quizzes, reports, research papers, etc. After we have completed 9 weeks, I mail in the progress reports along with their test. In turn, the students receive a report card from the Christian Academy. We have been with this Academy almost the entire time we have been home schooling, so my students will actually receive a regular high school diploma from the Academy. The cost of all our books, and the accreditation, can run anywhere from $600-$1,000 a student. The higher the grade, the higher the cost. This may sound like a lot, but when compared to a private school, the cost is very reasonable.
If you are not looking for accreditation or to spend that amount of money, you can always look for other ways to get your curriculum. You can purchased used books from other home school students. We often have just given ours away. In this case, you would only need to purchase the workbooks.
Some states offer virtual on-line schools for students. Usually, there is no cost for this! Some states send your student a computer, send you a check for the cost of Internet service and provide you with all your books and materials. Yes, for free! Just do an Internet search under your state + virtual schools.
When my students where in kindergarten and we were just starting this home school path, I bought a book called “What your Student Needs to Know When”. It had each grade broken down and what a child should know at the end of that grade. It included a list of words that the child could read/spell, geography, history, math, etc. I found it must helpful in the early years. I took the list from this book and built my curriculum on what they needed to know. I found workbooks at Wal-mart and Sam’s Club for under $5.00.
Whole sale clubs have lots of workbooks at reasonable prices for younger grades. The computer is a wonderful research for gathering lesson plans.
The key, if you are making up your own curriculum is to lay out a plan for the year. Let’s say you have a kindergarten er. Visit your local school and talk to a kindergarten teacher and ask what they will teach in the course of a kindergarten year. (I would not recommend telling them you are home schooling as that is funding being taken out of their pocket) If you are uncomfortable doing that, look it up on the Internet. Once you have determined what they need to learn, lay out a calendar for the year of what you want to teach when. If you have a plan in place, it will be less overwhelming and you know what you need to look for.
Let’s say you will be learning about seasons in September. Go to the library and get a book on seasons, search the Internet for crafts and lesson plans on the changing of seasons. Make a poster of what season it is now, make another poster of what season will be coming up next. Make up a season book by allowing your child to go out side, with your supervision, and take pictures of the season it is. Due this with each change of seasons until you have all four seasons. Print off the pictures and place in a small 3X5 album and label each season. Scrapbook stickers are a wonderful thing to add to this.
Don’t be intimidated. Talk to others who home school. Each year, the number of parents who home school are increasing. The possibilities are limitless and oh so rewarding!