Home schooling

Maintaining Discipline in Homeschooling

When the child stays at home all day, and mommy is the teacher, there are certain issues of discipline at stake. It is easy for he child to misconstrue the freedom he has at home and feel that homeschooling is just a long summer holiday. This is a potential landmine and children need to be disciplined right at the start.

Homeschooling gives you and your child a truly immense amount of flexibility. You and your child decide where to learn, how much to learn and when to learn. But,these should be decisions made at the beginning stages. If your child is too little to take an active part in the decision, chart out a few hours of the day for the various activities, and stick to it. When there is no outside agency to supervise and no exams to answer, it is easy to get sidetracked. If your child is old enough, consult him and find out when he wants to learn. Apply your parental discretion and come up with a timetable.

Homework is also a part of homeschooling. What this means is that once lessons have been taught, the child should be asked to do some part of the course work by himself without your guidance. You will need to make sure that your child sits willingly and finishes his work.

Courtesy, manners and punctuality are some of the various facets of discipline that a child has to imbibe in the early years of his life. The school where he interacts with his peers, his seniors and juniors and his teachers mould these values quite automatically. At homeschool, the child should be taught the importance of speaking and behaving in a proper manner and appropriate corrections need to be meted out if behavior is unsatisfactory.

It is advisable to keep aside a particular room or a part of the room for your homeschool. The child should be expected to reach his desk at the appointed time, in proper attire with all the necessary material. It is easy to allow the school to become an extension of play if these ground rules are not laid out and followed. As the teacher, supervisor, principal and janitor rolled into one, you should also approach the study area with a cool professionalism.

Homeschooling is doomed to fail without patience. In spite of all the precautions and steps one takes, it is easy for a child to get familiar’ at homeschool. At such times, it may be difficult to discipline the child and get him to listen to you attentively. When this happens, switch to something new. Allow the child to take a breather and enjoy a break yourself.

Homeschooling is not easy. It requires a lot of hard work and patience. The very informality of the whole procedure sometimes works against it by making it too easy. If you take steps to establish rules at the very beginning and adhere to these rules, your homeschooling experience will be a huge success.

Is Homeschooling legal?

Without a doubt, homeschooling is legal in all the 50 States of the U.s. But, that is just about where the similarity ends. Laws and regulations regarding homeschooling vary from state to state. Interpretations of these laws can vary from scholl district to school district. Additionally, these laws may change every year.

The National Home Education network is a wonderful resource when it comes to the legalities of homeschooling. It has a listing of the actual state laws for each state in the U.S. Reading the laws that pertain to your state is perhaps the best way to get accurate information about these laws. But, most people need to get the laws interpreted by a qualified attorney. You can get valuable information from the support group at your locality. Additionally, many state education departments have online resources that will help you in interpreting the state requirements for homeschooling. The internet is also a good source of information.

It is a good idea to check out your state laws regarding homeschooling before you start educating your child at home. This will prevent any nasty surprises on the way. If you have to move, you will need to be aware of any tests or exams that your child may need to take.

Important Data on Home Schooling

Nowadays, home schooling is no longer a big issue and in fact, it is already generally accepted even by traditional schools or colleges. Before you plunge into home schooling, you have to consider the various factors involved.

Most of the home schooling students don’t do well in traditional classrooms and that’s the main reason why their parents choose the home-based schooling programs. But this reason is sometimes not enough and you will need to consider other factors before you finally decide if home schooling is the best decision for your child.

You can’t find a lot of guides that can assist you with home schooling but if you take just a few moments to read this article, you will get some of the most important data about home schooling.

Firstly, are you prepared to supervise your child’s education? Since your child will be studying at home, you will need to keep a close watch especially if the child is still young; high school and college students require minimal supervision because they are already old enough to handle their responsibilities as students but still, you need to check on them regularly. The set up of home schooling is very much different from traditional schools so you and your child would have to adjust on some changes.

The decision for signing up for home schooling should be the joint decision of the parents and the child. As parents, you can’t just impose home schooling to your child. If your child is not comfortable with home schooling, it might affect his/her mindset and hamper learning progress. Another thing to consider is the type of education that you’re giving to your child. It must be suitable to your child’s interests and needs. There are various programs to choose from, including basic subjects to complex topics.

State laws on home schooling also differ and so you should already expect some variations. If you want, you can inquire at the local government office concerned. In the US and Canada, home schooling has tremendously increased recently. Parents can even participate in home schooling forums so that they can receive assistance from more experienced parents. They can get helpful pieces of advice from other parents.

Some kids do well in home schooling because they have more freedom. They can learn at their chosen pace which makes it easier for them to understand various lessons. You see, kids differ when it comes to learning. Through home schooling, you can give much attention to your child’s learning progress and you can effectively monitor it. Home schooling often provides scheduled projects and other requirements. You have to ensure that your child meets all the requirements and pass all their projects. That is one way to supervise the education of your child.

Keep in mind that home schooling is not for everyone. Children who do well in traditional schools should not be pulled out immediately because it might have a terrible effect on them. You must evaluate your child carefully and you can even ask them. They should also decide if they like home schooling. The final decision will still rest on you and if you have certain problems with your child regarding your decision, you have to explain everything to your kid. Tell him/her why you decided to go for home schooling because if there is understanding, everything will work well.

How to Homeschool Your Child

Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate your child, get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety – the road ahead is a bit bumpy, but the rewards more than make up for it. Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded personality is no mean achievement.

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home schooling. Some states need an affidavit filed with the State’s education department. There are basically 3 categories for homeschooling laws. These are: private school laws, home education laws and equivalency laws. Find your state laws. You may also need to maintain a portfolio that records the child’s educational progress. It is important to look into the legal requirements BEFORE you start homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher.

Next, look for a support group. If you live in a friendly or curious neighborhood, well-meaning friends will try to dissuade you. At the very least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in your mind. A support group that consists of like-minded people will insulate you from the criticism, pressures and questions of regular school-goers. Many groups organize fun events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops etc. And if your children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for socialization.

The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum. Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the material that is available.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of self-discipline and hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the things you will need:
1) Eagerness to learn
2) Hard work and effort
3) Discipline
4) Time and patience
5) Flexibility
6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and your reasons are important pillars on which the whole edifice of your child’s lessons depends. Also, consult with your children. Ask them what they feel about homeschooling.

Select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits your child. Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling. Look into the various methods of record keeping. Set up a schedule. Your child does not have to learn 6-7 hours a day. Allow him or her to dictate the time. Flexibility and fun are the cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a single term or year. Prepare a skill list. Make the child learn the skills that he is ready for.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm. They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home.

Homeschooling with a disability

If you feel that your child suffers from a disability that seriously hampers his ability to stick to a routine, then homeschooling is your best choice. The child will be constantly under your supervision. But he will be gaining a lot of quality education, in spite of his disability. This is rather surprising, considering how children with disabilities are stigmatized in public schools.

Goal setting is an important part of homeschooling a child with disability. Set the number of working hours per week for the child. A child with a disability may have his bad days. Structure the learning hours according to the needs and interests of the child. Use the computer. This way, he will have all the necessary information right at his fingertips while staying within the confines of his home.

Field trips and other educational activities are just as important. Get help from your support group. Visit places of interest and interact with other children in the group. Take your child out for some activities, so that he can socialize. Let him set his own pace with making friends. This will help in strengthening his self-esteem.

Above all, remember that homeschooling is just the same, even when your child suffers from a disability. You will just need to look for the right opportunities and the easiest alternatives to achieve the same goals.

Homeschooling – the darker side

It’s not all hunky-dory and smooth sailing on the homeschooling front. Like all things in life, there is a downside that has to be seriously considered when you explore the homeschooling option. Though one man’s bane may be another man’s boon, there are certain common reasons for concern.

The responsibility of teaching your child rests solely on you. You cannot blame anyone else if your child is seen wanting in the skills that his peers excel in. If your child cannot do the things that are expected from other children of his age group, it reflects badly on you as an educator as well as a parent.

A critical part of homeschooling is the time that you have to spend with your children. You may have to give up your friends, shopping and other entertainment and dedicate all these to your child. This can become frustrating at times. You have to learn to take the aggravation with equanimity and wait for the rewards with patience and enthusiasm.

A parent who is dedicated to tutor his or her child single handedly does not realistically have much time left over for a career. This means that the family is robbed of an additional source of income. In turn, this may lead to stress over finances. You will have to train yourself to live on a strictly controlled budget. While this is a matter of habit, it does need some getting used to.

You cannot take a break when you feel like it. Feelings of guilt will assail you if you neglect studies just because you are feeling blue. You also fear that the child will take advantage of the situation. Even when you have given homework, you have to be around to give a helping hand. This means that anytime your child is around you, you are on duty! For some, this may mean working every waking hour. The child studying at home also needs to get out more. This comes from staying at home all the time. Interaction with adults and other children needs to be given special attention.

Children tutored at home cannot develop in the various directions that are open to children attending public schools. To achieve that kind of exposure, you either have to be a super-parent skilled in everything, or enroll your child to various activities. This may not only prove too costly, but also be counter-productive.

It is sometimes observed that homeschooled children do not do as well in SAT tests as their school-going counterparts. Without a diploma or a GED, some students find it difficult to get into the military.

Lastly, if you envision enrolling your child to a public school, there may be a certain period of emotional as well as social adjustment. A child who is used to being at home for the whole day and enjoying so much of uncontained freedom may have to undergo some distressing emotional upheavals before he or she gets used to the rigors of a regular school life.

Homeschooling the teenager

As children start maturing into adults, parents feel insecure about homeschooling. Many parents then discontinue the homeschooling process and happily hand over the reign to outside authorities. But is this really necessary? Is the strictly compartmentalized education provided in schools a better option?

If social concerns are worrying you, look for interest-oriented associations, clubs and societies. These offer a lot of support for leaders, opportunity for shared experience, and foster a sense of belonging. Make up your own group or share this responsibility with someone else. Home education support groups provide fantastic opportunities to meet your child’s needs. This is the best way to develop intelligent, self-motivated, healthy and able young people.

If the growing burden of some of the higher level Math or Science seems to be beyond you, enlist the help of someone who knows more. You can even barter your own services and thus save some money. With homeschooling becoming more and more popular, support groups will have innumerable resources that help you find the right teacher for your child.

The underlying principle that guides homeschooling is this: any child has the innate capacity to grow, develop and achieve its full potential. All it needs is the right environment and all the right answers. Be there to provide these and think twice before you turn over this responsibility to a third party.

Homeschooling online

If Johnny is fascinated by the blinking cursor and struggles to master the movements of the mouse, you may want to look into some of the recent developments in homeschooling techniques. Gone are the days when parents had to buy material from vendors and then pass it on to their children with explanations. Today, you get the full course details, material and test papers online.

Children love to sit with the computer. In addition to making them feel like an adult, the computer also makes use of the visual and sound medium to make learning fun and easy. Streaming video and audio show various scientific processes in great detail. The colorful pictures and the various techniques used help to effectively bind the data to the child’s memory.

Many online resources have a fun testing center that aims to measure the knowledge and skill level of your child. Complicated math and science problems are dealt with deftly and elegantly. A visit to an e-library can also be fun, especially when there is an audio clip that reads out the passage to you.

E-learning has just begun to revolutionize the world of studies. If harnessed properly, a child can assimilate an astonishing amount of information from that great resource sitting right there at your table – your P.C.

Homeschooling Methods

For many people, homeschooling may call to mind the picture of two or three children sitting at a table and writing feverishly in their workbooks, while mom or dad stands nearby. This is the not entirely true. There are different methods of homeschooling, and the method you choose will decide the curriculum and your style of teaching. Given below are some of the most influential and popular homeschooling methods.

The Charlotte Mason method:
Charlotte Mason is known as the founder of the homeschooling movement. A homeschooler herself, she was passionate in her zeal to lay out the foundations for an effective a complete homeschooling program that is fun and educational at the same time. This method focuses on all the core subjects with emphasis placed on classical literature, poetry, fine arts, classical music and craft. Mason used a variety of books from classical literature, which she called ‘Living Books’. Since this method encourages a passionate awareness of literature, the child is read to daily from the ‘Living Books’. After this, the child is asked to narrate what she has heard. This process begins at the age of six, and by ten the child is expected to write her narrations in her book. Mason also advocated the use of ‘Nature Diaries’. After each short and interesting lesson, the child is asked to go to Nature and draw observations from Nature. Thus the child also gains a sense of respect for her environment. Mason believed that development of good character and behavior was essential to the complete development of the child’s personality.

The Eclectic Homeschooling:
This is a mixture of various homeschooling techniques. Here, the innovative parents trust their own judgment and pick out the topics that make the best curriculum for their child. Such parents continuously look out for the best products that will meet the needs of their homeschoolers. Most Eclectic homeschooling curriculums are improvised. This means that the basic curriculum is ready-made. The parents then make changes in the curriculum to accommodate the individual needs and interests of their children. The child’s gifts, temperament, learning style and interests dictate the curriculum. Eclectic programs include visits to the museum, libraries and factories.

Unschooling:
A Boston public educator name John Holt laid the beginnings of the unschooling method. He believed that children learned best when they are free to learn at their own pace and when they are guided by their own interests. His message was to ‘unschool’ the child. This method is a hands-on approach to learning, where the parent takes definite cues from the children. There is no definite curriculum, schedules or materials. This method is the most unstructured of the various homeschooling techniques.

The Montessori Method:
This method began in Italy, when it was observed that children have acute sensitive periods, during which they undergo periods of intense concentration. During such phases, a child will repeat an activity till he gains a measure of self-satisfaction. The Montessori method depends on a prepared environment to facilitate learning. All the materials used in this method are designed to satisfy the inner desire for spiritual development of the child. The materials used progress from simple to complex, and are rather expensive.

These are just a few of the methods of homeschooling. Whatever the method, the underlying factor is flexibility and a keen interest in the desires of the child. The secret is to use the child’s desire for knowledge to further his education.

Homeschooling hours

How many, how often and when? These are some oft-repeated questions when it comes to homeschooling hours. Flexibility is of course one of the key underlying principles behind homeschooling. This flexibility applies not only to the curriculum but also to the number of hours. It is only natural that parents, especially if they have just started out on homeschooling should feel that their children should be at their books all the time when regular school-goers are at school. This is not only fallacious but can also be damaging and counter-productive.

One of the most ignored but glaring drawbacks of the public schooling system is the sheer waste of time and energy that it causes. Many periods are simply wasted away and the child effectively derives only 1-3 hours of study everyday. Then, there are days when the studies become too intensive and other days when it’s only games and no work at all. There is a lot of ‘invisible wastage’ involved here.

Early on in your homeschooling practice, work out a schedule. It is advisable to stick to the same hours everyday. A routine makes it easier to learn and gives structure to the learning experience. It also tells the students that parents are strict about their learning. A routine also allows your child to free his mind from other activities and concentrate on studies. He knows that a particular time is strictly set aside for learning.

The actual number of hours that you need depends on the curriculum you have chosen and the learning style that suits your child. If you are dealing with a subject that seems to be more complex, you may need to sit with the child for a longer period. Using various techniques, it may be necessary to demonstrate what you are trying to teach. For instance, a lesson in Algebra may take more time than a lesson in English.

Homeschooling does not refer to the practice of sitting in front of the books and learning the printed matter. Field trips, watching documentaries, visiting factories and libraries also make up an important slice of the homeschooling process. It makes sense to intersperse these activities so that learning becomes fun. You may want to finish off the few hours of textbook learning in the morning and dedicate the afternoons to these kinds of activities.

Given the fact that too many public school hours are wasted in meaningless activities ranging from talking to extra-curricular activities, do not allow public school hours to dictate the time you should spend teaching your child at home. Remember that at home, he is getting a high-quality one-to-one time that is highly productive. About 1-3 hours of study is enough in the primary level. It is of course true that the more number of hours you put in, the more learning takes place. This is also the reason why homeschooling children are much smarter and more balanced than regular school going children.