Leslie Nathaniel: Hello! I am Leslie Nathaniel, homeschooling mother of two and a member of the Board of the Directors for the organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. I am talking about how to begin homeschooling your child. In this segment, I will show you how to find resources outside your home.
When you first contemplate homeschooling, you might feel overwhelmed that the prospect of doing it all yourself. The short answer to this dilemma is that you don't have to do it all yourself. Families choose a variety of methods to supplement and expand on what is offered at home, whether to teach the hard subjects or for enrichment activities your child may already enjoy. The truth is that many a homeschooling family complaints that they spend too little time at home. Classes are one opportunity to use resources outside your home. You can find classes in a variety of subject areas through your local Parks and Recreation Department or a resource like the YMCA, foreign language classes, martial arts, music classes and others are offered many communities. Some businesses offer reduced rates for homeschoolers that take classes during the normally slow hours, of week day mornings and early afternoons, especially if a group of homeschoolers organizes themselves into a class. Many homeschool groups form a co-operative, co-op that meets regularly to provide instruction in one or more subjects. Typically, co-ops meet one to two times per week for an hour to to a full-day. The number of subjects offered depends on what parents are willing to teach or their interest in hiring an instructor for a specialized subject. Some co-ops are free requiring nothing more than a willingness to pitch in and help, other co-ops charge their fee. The quality of instruction can vary widely with some co-ops simply focusing on the chance to have fun activities in a group setting to others with a rigorous academic focus. If your child needs more work in a particular subject, then you can provide look for a tutor or online class that can help. You maybe able to barter some of your own skills in return for the skills your child needs, one mom may provide a excellent math instruction but could use some help with writing composition or fixing a leak under the kitchen sink. Sometimes an enrichment activity like music, dance, or scouting, may become the center of your curriculum for a season or for a few years. Your days might revolve around lessons, practices and performances or outdoor events that require planning and preparation. Math, language, arts, history, science and other subjects can be interwoven with the tasks required to accomplish your goals. Working alongside an instructor, troop leader or other mentor to plan tasks, perfect skills, document accomplishments, and teach them to others, requires reading, writing, analysis critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that are sometimes best learned in real world activities. Volunteer work and community service can be an important asset to your child education and homeschooling provide so many opportunities for your child to volunteer. Young children can work along side mom or dad in a variety of settings. Older children and teams can begin to branch out and do work on their own. Libraries frequently appreciate the efforts of homeschool children to shelve books, read stories, and do other tasks. Retirement homes appreciate children who sing, play instruments or read aloud to residents. Pre-teens and teens can become history interpreters or museum docents, animal shelters need visiting children to help socialize the animals and accustom them to kids. Volunteering helps our children to be a part of their communities, to learn new skills, to feel at home in the adult world and to make a contribution larger than themselves. Consider the wisdom in the phrase, "if you built it, they will come.
" If you are looking for a particular class, club, activity, field trip or other resource, chances are other families would appreciate it too. Start organizing and building what you want and publicize your efforts. It's likely that you'll find more families to join in and share the costs and organizational efforts to. In our community, homeschoolers have created clubs for a variety of activities from jump roping to magic tricks to circus skills. Field trips can be to your local fire station, a museum, or aquarium or another continent, the only limit is your imagination and the time and energy you have to invest.
Now, you know how to find resources outside your home to supplement an amateur child's learning. Later on in our series, I will show you how to educate yourself about homeschooling as you get ready for your journey. In our next segment, Celeste Land will talk about homeschooling children with special needs.