Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Starting Out Homeschooling

If you are new to homeschooling, you have a lot of decisions to make.  That *can* seem overwhelming.  But remember you can always change your mind later.  Of course, it’s also true that if you put in a little time up-front to think about what you are trying to accomplish and how you would like to accomplish it, you may save yourself wasted time and money!  You’ll find that homeschoolers use lots of different approaches and materials–there is no "one right way" to do things.  One option to learn more about getting started (if you live near an area where these are offered) is to attend Smoothing the Way classes. 

Don’t rush to get started!  First, you’ve got some thinking to do about what your goals and priorities are.  Your choices are almost endless and very different, and you’ll need to have a good idea what you’re looking for or you’ll be completely lost.

This site might be a bit helpful:

Home School Curriculum Advisor

(Click on the items under How to Choose on the left-hand menu to see the content without taking the eCourse.)

I don’t think their descriptions of the homeschooling styles (like literature-based, Charlotte Mason, Robinson, etc.) are accurate, but they at least give you a general idea and their other suggestions are good.

I use the Charlotte Mason approach, because I want something with structure but that’s also flexible, something that challenges and inspires my kids but also allows them to approach the material individually.  You can find out more about it here:

Ambleside Online

You *could* start the year with this curriculum because it’s free and books can often be found at the library or printed from the computer.  Then if you decided to change, you wouldn’t have invested much, and you’d still have been making forward progress.

There’s a good website that helps you see the steps to getting started with Ambleside:

 Getting Started with Ambleside Online

This site has links to lots of different curriculum outlines or lists of things kids should know in various years, which might help if you want to take an eclectic approach and gather materials from a variety of sources:

Homeschooling on a Shoestring

Remember too that if you’re coming straight from a traditional school setting you need to allow some time to deschool.  More about that here:

Deschool Before You Homeschool

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