You have chosen to school your child at home. It is now time to explore the many options that are available to you. Let’s first look at online schools, because they have re-created the wheel of homeschooling and made it far more user-friendly.
Each state has its own version of the K-12 system. Enrollment for online school is the same as for brick and mortar schools. The joy of enrolling in an online school is that they send you all of the materials you will need, except the school supplies. They also offer computers to families who qualify.
Most online schools offer free day-to-day schooling, purchasable curriculum or paid private school options. The free day-to-day requires that the child must be online each day. Lesson plans are uploaded, accompanied by a materials list. Independent reading is a must, so consider a library card part of your school supply list.
In addition, they will keep you posted on each state’s testing requirements and all lessons are geared toward excellence in this testing.
I have found that my local dollar store carries wall posters that help create a learning atmosphere in the room you choose to use as your classroom. Make certain that the posters you choose are age- and grade-appropriate. Brightly-colored posters help to stimulate the brain. This is also a great place for school supplies and learning rewards.
There are options other than online schooling that require purchasing curricula. There are hundreds to choose from, so take your time and research each one. It is important to make notes as you do this so that you’ll have the ones you like at a glance. These curricula are often religion-based and can be expensive.
Another approach is to build your own curriculum. The first step in this is to check what the graduation requirements are for your school district. You can get this from the District office. This will be your guide to choosing the materials you need. A great resource is the “What Your __ Grader Should Know” books. They offer suggestions from an educator’s point of view for that child’s grade. There are book lists and websites listed also. These books also offer helpful hints and guides for discovering your child’s learning style.
If you choose this route, be prepared to spend some time at your local library and familiarize yourself with the catalog. This way requires that you do all of the legwork. You must keep records of your child’s work, progress and even attendance. It is wise to purchase a medium-sized storage container to store your child’s learning portfolio. This would include artwork, spelling lessons, writing papers, etc.
The wonderful thing about choosing to school your child at home is that you can make life a learning experience. Keep your eye open to events in your city that will lend themselves to a learning field trip and allow your student to write a paper on the experience. Once you understand that anything and everything is home study material, you will also discover the freedom of your decision. A simple box of rice can turn a math lesson into 60 minutes of fun.
Your Public Broadcasting System is also another great home study resource. There are videos like the Baby Einstein series. Today you can find many children’s television shows that were created for learning and are age-appropriate.
Get connected to other parents who have chosen to school their children at home. Search online for the group in your state or city. Support is a must when you choose to school your child at home.