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How To Begin Homeschooling


We all arrive at the decision to homeschool in different ways. For some people it seems an easy choice; for others, the thought is nearly overwhelming, despite the desire. This article is intended to help you sort through some thoughts, feelings, concerns and questions that you may have, have had, or possibly will in the future.

Is homeschooling right for your family? Of course nobody can guarantee that you will want to homeschool long term, once you begin. However, most families who start, continue throughout the duration of their child's "school years". Making the decision to go for it, is probably the largest step there is. It is a big commitment; though that doesn't equate being a difficult one. It is helpful if both parents agree to the decision to homeschool. But, sometimes one parent will reluctantly agree, and frequently is "won over" in short time. Sometimes friends and extended family members will balk at a family's decision to homeschool, too. Be prepared; you're going to receive encouragement and support from some folks, and criticism from others.

Sometimes a family will come to the homeschool decision, because their child initiates it. This usually occurs when a child wants to leave school. Again, the issue of communication and a mutual decision making process, is helpful. Another consideration to keep in mind is that homeschooling is a year-to-year choice. Nobody is locked into it. It's alright to change your mind if it's not for your family. It's a very personal choice that should be respected no matter what we choose as families; public, private, or homeschooling.

What does it entail ? It will require your time. No matter what homeschool style you use, your children will be with you 24/7 ! This will leave the parent (usually mom; sometimes dad), with very little time alone to pursue individual desires, or just to sit and relax. It's only fair that this situation is faced, so that one has a realistic view of what they are getting in to. Moms will find time, or make time, for themselves in various ways. Grandparents can be a great resource for taking children on day trips, or spending special time alone with the grandchildren (who are always learning!). Sometimes moms take turns having their children enjoy playdates with others, while mom gets some down time. Dads can take the kids, too ! You get the idea - that this is something that you may want to think about, so you will be able to plan for time alone, too.

Close to home with not having as much free time to oneself, since the kids are with you most of the time, is trying to maintain a spotless household (chuckle). It isn't easy to do. But having a clean house and kids is never easy to do ! Some will find creative ways to make it happen; others surrender to homes that look like they do not belong in Better Homes & Gardens. That's okay, too ! Kids grow too fast to be overly concerned about that.

Another consideration is the cost of homeschooling. Again, there is a wide variation along this line. Some families homeschool using so many free resources, that they expend very little from personal finances. Others go all out and purchase expensive curriculums. One way isn't better than another, nor yield a result that is "better than". But to give you a realistic view of what your options are; just know that you truly can homeschool on a shoestring budget, or spend thousands of dollars. There are thousands of free educational websites, where a family can print out worksheets to use, for example. Libraries have book sales, discount book stores have great deals, checking out library books IS free, unless you owe them late fees like some of us.... Swapping books and materials with other homeschoolers is common, as is attending used "curriculum" fairs. You get the idea; how much or how little you spend is under your own control.

As far as the CT law goes, just find out what the law is in CT. It's explained on this website, at the *legalinfo* webpage. CT is a relatively easy state to homeschool in.

Those unsocialized homeschoolers ! Another concern among new homeschoolers (and those in an uninformed public), is the lack of socialization among homeschooled children. Simply stated; this is a false belief. It's just untrue that homeschoolers are lacking in this area ! Any homeschool mom knows how much she spends time driving her children to playdates, a vast array of homeschool group activities, community events, classes, workshops, field trips, sports, library and town functions, etc., etc. If anything, the truth of the socialization matter is it is difficult to choose among all of the fun options there are available, which ones to attend! Homeschool children and their parents, mix and mingle with many different groups of people. People of all ages, and who offer so much wisdom and experience, from all walks of life. That's a far step away from being in one classroom, day in and day out, with only age-mates to interact with, when you are allowed to interact, at all.

You may want to contact another homeschooler in your area, or a group. Either or both, can probably help you out a lot, in connecting with activities in your area, and meeting other families, too. Some homeschoolers are very social themselves, and go to many group events. Others are quieter and prefer the choice of having more private get togethers with homeschoolers. Either way is fine; that's what you can choose - when and how you want to connect with others. You will find out who has things in common with your family, and relationships will develop on their own, in their own time.

Take some time to read through this website. We endeavored to keep is as short and sweet as possible, so you get the basic information and support that you need, without feeling overwhelmed. There is information on homeschool "styles", and resources to help you find what you want. Be flexible to change and know that you are in the driver's seat. What works for your family one year, or one month, may change suddenly as you all experience the homeschooling lifestyle. You can adapt to whatever you need to, so your homeschool experience is fulfilling and works for your family !

Here are a few links on homeschool styles, to offer you support and information while considering your choice to homeschool, and as resource info, once you begin.

What is Eclectic Homeschooling?
It refers to using a variety of "styles and philosophies" rather than using specific resources, or espousing one homeschool philosophy. Statistically, most homeschoolers consider themselves eclectic in approach and attitude. See more specific approaches, just below....

What is Unschooling?
http://www.unschooling.com/library/faq/index.shtml

What about Homeschool Curriculums ?
A quick thought on the matter of curriculum: it is a resource not a rule book. If you choose to use it, use it wisely; don't let it use you. Check our Curriculum page HERE.

What is Classical Homeschooling?
http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/curriculum/scope.html

What about Unit Studies?
Below are nine resources who sell & explain, unit studies.

Unit Studis General Info
http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitstudies/a/unitdirectory.htm

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study Adventures
http://www.unitstudy.com/

Beautiful Feet (literature based studies for homeschoolers)
http://www.bfbooks.com/

Cadron Creek Christian Curriculum
http://www.cadroncreek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?

Christian Cottage Unit Studies
http://www.christiancottage.com/units.html

Design-a-Study
K-12 or K-8 all-in-one books for composition, spelling, history, science, math, and more. Design unit studies, entire curriculums, or individualize an existing program.
http://www.designastudy.com/

Five in a Row (literature based unit studies for ages 2 - 12)
http://fiveinarow.com/

Heart of Wisdom
http://www.heartofwisdom.com/

Konos
http://www.konos.com
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