- Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Homeschooling is rewarding, but hard work. You’ll need friends and resources along the way. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your homeschooling journey:
Tip #1 Get plugged in
Join your local and state support groups, participate in local homeschool events, and talk with veterans who can show you the ropes. HSLDA's homeschool organizations listing is a good place to start.
Tip #2 Tune in to your child’s learning style
Homeschooling enables you to tailor your child’s education to his unique style of learning. “Children’s overall learning style includes both the channel through which she/he learns (eye, ear, or hand) and the ways in which she/he is most motivated to learn—‘thinking style’” (Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling, pg. 121). Other resources:
The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.
Help! My Child Isn’t Learning by Dr. Grant Martin.
Discover Your Child’s Learning Style by Mariaemma Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson.
Tip #3 Select a type of curriculum & method of homeschooling
There are almost as many curriculum combinations and educational philosophies as there are homeschooling families. Many families find their teaching style and curriculum choices altering to meet their growing children’s changing needs. Here’s a nutshell description of some general categories: (See Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started Home Schooling for a much more thorough description of curriculum types.)
Traditional—textbook/workbook approach, emphasizing reading, writing, grammar, and spelling through drill and practice.
Classical—following the medieval “trivium,” a child’s education progresses from fundamental facts and skills to logic and advanced language abilities. Students study the great works of Western Literature.
Unit studies (instructor-designed thematic studies)—progress in several disciplines is woven around a particular theme.
Unschooling / Child-directed / Delight-directed—allowing a child to learn by encouraging and equipping him to pursue his own interests (guided or unguided exploration).
One of the great things about homeschooling is that you don’t have to be limited to just one approach—you can mix and match, taking what you like from each approach, to maximize your child’s learning.
Tip #4 Attend a convention or curriculum fair
“At a curriculum fair, you have many of the homeschool publishers and their most popular products all gathered under one roof,” explains Beverly McCord. “You can really pick up a book and thumb through it—you can’t do that when you are trying to shop over the internet or through mail order catalogs. You can get honest consumer feedback. Just stand at a publishers’ booth for about 10 minutes and get an earful of what homeschoolers think about some of the titles of that publisher—which ones are the jewels that everybody’s using and which ones are really not that helpful. Many of these publishers actually wrote the materials they’re selling. I just love being able to talk to a live human being and really get my questions answered.” - Kirk & Beverly McCord, Founders and Coordinators, Arlington Book Fair (Texas)
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