Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Creating your own homeschool

"How do I start?" "How much time does homeschooling take?" "How much money do I need to homeschool?" "What curriculum should I use?"

These are questions I hear again and again from parents as they approach the idea of homeschooling. Often these parents are in a position where they feel they must homeschool with limited financial resources, and so have a sense of desperation about finding the answers.

Homeschooling can be scary, since it is so far off the beaten path. Homeschooling isn't hard. Well, it isn't any harder than parenting, which you're already doing.

My advice applies to more than just homeschooling -

Keep your goals and principles in the forefront of your mind.

Search out like minded friends and give and accept support.

Get involved in your community.

Give yourself time and room to make mistakes and learn from them.

When I first thought of homeschooling an experienced homeschooling mom asked me questions that befuddled me. She asked "Why are you homeschooling?" and then "What are your goals?".

I realized that the answers to those questions always lead me in the right direction. Rather than homeschooling from a recipe (curriculum) we homeschool from scratch, based on principles and goals. Sometimes we have used a curriculum or book series, but we used them as fit our goals and principles, not necessarily as proscribed.

So, I would suggest that you ask yourself and your child - what are our goals? Long term for adulthood, midterm for youth, short term for this year, this month, this week, this day... Then with a list of goals in hand head off to the library and see what they have. Find books on subjects your child is interested in, look for books that have projects and puzzles in them. Use the library computer to get on line and find some resources that interest you.

Every day read with your child, talk about stuff - the books you read, a bird you saw, local events, etc... (This goes for older kids too!) Find local events and attend together. In the summer many communities have free concerts, festivals, and other happenings. Your public library might be a good place to start looking for those. Consider volunteering for your favorite charity or service group. There are some that will take a parent with child(ren) for certain activities.

Help your child discover their favored learning styles. Work together to find and create educational resources. This process will teach your children skills they can use forever in self education.

Find and get involved in your local homeschooling group. Collectively you will have many more resources than you have individually, and the support from other families is priceless.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Post from a 9 year old's note book

Wild Child's Childhood ( As dictated to Mom one night)

I'm writing this down because I want other people to know how I think. I want other children to know what my childhood was like, even after I'm dead.

I wish I knew what it was like as a child who would grow to be a great writer, or inventor or composer. I think it might have felt like what I feel. I don't think other people feel like I do.

Sometimes I have a hard time with my emotions. Sometimes I think I'm a little depressed.

My mind is a little like a computer. I have a big screen in my mind and I can see what I'm thinking. There's not much smell or sound, but there are pictures. Sometimes there aren't pictures, but I can see my thoughts on the screen.

Those people who know about minds? They wouldn't understand mine. I want to tell people, but they wouldn't understand.

I don't want to talk to a therapist. I don't like talking. I don't like talking to people. You're (mom) the person I can talk to. You know me best.

I'm not a social person. I don't talk to people about stuff.

(You have lots of friends says Mom) Yes, but we do stuff, we don't talk about stuff. I can talk to you about stuff.

I've always wanted to fly. Phtt That's why I invented phtt the floater feet. Phtt I think of things. I want to fly with wings phtt not in a plane, but flying where I can see phtt things close phtt (phtt is the noise he is making as he talks, think kid airplane engine noise)

(This is after I've given him a notebook and he's drawn his idea for this invention. His ideas come faster than he can write/draw, so he gets frustrated, but he's agreed that trying to write them is better than not)