Vicki Bentley: Hi! I am Vicki Bentley, Early Years Program Coordinator with the Home School Legal Defense Association. Today, I'll be discussing home-schooling children in preschool through 8th grade.
If you are considering home-schooling, think of it as a journey, good planning is the key to any successful road trip.
The first step is research. Read all you can about home education, including websites, books and home-school magazines. The hslda.
org site is a good place to start. You want to research your state's home-school statute to be aware of any specific requirement or deadlines that you'll need to meet, such as subjects to be covered or paperwork due dates.
Parents often ask about what curriculum they should be using. First, determine your starting point. Where is your child right now academically? There are various methods to establish a baseline from informal assessments to structured evaluations, just standardized testing. Then set measurable attainable goals for each child. These can be academic, physical, social and spiritual goals.
Evaluate your child's learning style as well as your own teaching style, and decide which method or methods seem to fit your family best. If you have several children, consider a multilevel approach, and materials that will work for various ages at the same time.
There are so many curriculum options from the traditional text book approach to unit studies, to relax or delight directed learning.
Decide on your school year, keeping in mind, any legal requirements in your state and establish a daily or a weekly schedule including household and personal responsibilities. This can include a family chore schedule or some sort of plan to keep the house manageable.
For academics, I found it helpful to rough out an overview of the year, but then to plan in detail in 8 week increments and to follow a basic routine, building in some flexibility and even some downtime.
Home-schooling can be more than just school at home, it's a lifestyle of learning.