Before setting out and choosing our curriculum, I spent a week or so just looking at options. One thing that is great about entering the home school community is how much support there is, there are so many great blogs out there! Pinterest is also an amazing resource. The web in general is full of useful tools for homeschooling, from Netflix or YouTube videos, to facts about U.S. history and more on http://www.factmonster.com, to how to set up a homeschool room or area in your home. Don’t forget to look at your local library, especially for those resources you may only read once, this can help save you a buck. I am still in search of more information about how to teach children with vision issues… so if you know of any, comment below!
I was surprised to find out that there are different styles of homeschooling, I just figured you taught your kids at home, but I was completely wrong! Getting into homeschooling is kind of like learning a new language, like watching people speak that language, and knowing you want to speak that language, but feeling very much on the outside. Anyways, I dove in, as I usually do, pouring over blogs and informational sites until 3 in the morning. (My husband thought I was crazy for the first week I think, now he is fully on board though!)
The first “school” of homeschool I happened to come across was “Unschooling”, which seems great, very relaxed, and some people travel the country while doing it. But I knew that for me, some sort of set schedule was going to need to be in place, or we would end up in our jammies, cuddling and watching a movie or something along those lines. As I clicked through page after page of information, I came to find there is also: School-at-Home, Eclectic, Montessori, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, internet based, and I’m sure other’s in between. Ahhh! SO MANY CHOICES!! I thought my brain was going to explode, I was on information overload! So I started going through each type, and found I was actually able to eliminate many of them pretty quickly. Phew! I ended up deciding that eclectic was going to be our best option, I originally thought I would like a complete curriculum that would take the guess work out, at least for this first year. But, while researching curriculums I came to realize that I like having the ability to pick and choose different items for different courses, to come up with a well rounded plan.
Another thing I found out while researching homeschooling, is that there are rules, laws that govern homeschoolers. If you are like me and have been living under the public school rock, you may have not have realized this. I had no idea. I don’t know, I guess I thought homeschooling was kind of like going “off-the-grid”, like you leave public school, you are on your own, good luck! So yeah, now you know, if you didn’t already. Every State has their own rules, you can find out more information on your state education site. There are also many blogs out there devoted to this, in Colorado you can look here.
If this scares you, like it does me (last thing I want is a truancy officer on my doorstep!) you can choose to operate under an Umbrella School. These schools can help you with the legal parts of homeschooling, as well as help you along the way, and can offer extra curricular courses, or courses you may not feel comfortable with. The schools I have looked at provide transcripts, which is helpful if you plan to re-enroll in public school at any time. They also perform testing, to make sure your kiddos are on track.
The last thing that I looked into before choosing my curriculum, is learning styles. Obviously if you are choosing to homeschool you want something that is going to work for your child as an individual, and that may take awhile to figure out! I’m sure we will go through some trial and error. But to start with at least, I found some information about learning styles on another blog Feels Like Home. My husband and I actually did this together, to verify each others choices (it is easy to think of how you learn while doing these tests, so this helped us thoroughly consider K.T. and how she learns). We decided that she is an Auditory/Kinesthetic learner. With this information I am trying to find resources that come in various forms, as you will see in my next post Our Curriculum I am still using several workbooks, and books in general (K.T. does love books!), this is with the understanding that we may not homeschool forever, and in the event that she returns to public school worksheets are going to be used, so this will allow her to keep up on that traditional medium. Besides she actually does very well on her Math worksheets… the idea is that you find things that will work for your child! Hopefully I have done that… I will let know!
To find out what I ended up choosing, read Our Curriculum