This seems to be the time of year that people decide to pull their children out of school. Have you noticed that? Some people decide not to put their kids in school in September. But another group decide to not send their children back to school after the holiday break. So I thought that I would write a bit this week about being new to homeschooling. When we first make that decision to pull our children, I think the first thing we feel is a great sense of relief. It's over. The decision is made. Then we start thinking, "Oh, No, What have I gotten myself into?" It can be a very scary place to be. But it will be okay. The first thing you need to do is relax. Take a few deep breathes. Now go turn on your computer and do a yahoo search for homeschool in your state. I'm sure you will find several links to groups in your area. Read about each group and join all of the ones that sound like they would be a good fit for you. Once you have a joined a few local groups, start attending events in your area. Then check out the museums, art centers, historical places and environmental centers in your area. Ask if they have homeschool classes. Start signing up for some fun ones. You will want to take some time to deschool so only attend fun events for the first little while. Park days, bowling, game nights. These are all fun ways for you and your children to meet other homeschool families. After a while, you will want to start taking classes that have some educational value to them.
The next thing you want to do is make sure your library card is valid. Get a card for each of your children. Introduce yourself to the children's librarian at your local library. Let her know that you will be homeschooling. She will become your best friend very quickly.
Look at the ways your children like to learn. Do they like computer games? Or do they like reading books more? Maybe they would rather be actually doing things instead of learning them out of books. This is how you can narrow down your choices of curriculum. Also look at what works best for you. Do you want to spend the time researching everything and teaching like a school teacher standing in front of the classroom? Or do you want a curriculum that is all spelled out for you?
We love the curriculum that we have chosen. Time4Learning is all laid out for me. All I have to do is turn on the computer, log in, and let him start working. Some kids would be able to sit down and do their work by themselves. Unfortunately, my son has the world's shortest attention span. So I have to sit with him to keep him focused on his work. But the cartoon like characters keep his attention pretty well. I've also heard that they are having a get acquainted sale, only $4.99 for the first month. If you try it and don't like it, you just quit. No contracts, nothing.
If you're one of those who have just decided to pull your children out of school, welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling.