Welcome to the TOS Crew blog hop! It's going to be a fun week around the blogosphere! There are lots of topics that will be discussed and shared. Here at The Berry Patch we'll be discussing Homeschooling 101.
So you have decided to homeschool....congrats! Let me first share a bit about my story and how I decided to go this route.
I am the mom to three boys. When my first son was born, I was working full-time. I figured I would continue to do so. At first I tried to do both - raise my son myself and work full-time. However, it soon became apparent that was not going to work. I was so sleep deprived from my work schedule and caring for a newborn, that I soon found a new job (he was four months old) and a day care. It broke my heart to leave him there even though he was receiving good care.
When I became pregnant with my second son, however, the urge to stay home and raise my boys became my desire. My hubby and I had just bought our first home about 18 months previously. We realized that we'd need to sell our home and downsize our life in order to make this happen. So we did so and never looked back. At the time we had a newborn and a four year old.
My oldest son was due to start kindergarten that fall. However, here in Maine we could delay the start if they were a "young five." In other words, he would have turned five the day school started so I opted to keep him home a year. It was then that I started hearing about homeschooling.
And that's when I actually sat down and did the math. I had just quit my full-time job, sold my dream home, and moved from a 3000+ square foot home to a four room apartment in order to raise my boys. I realized my son would be spending the majority of his waking hours with someone else. Why then had I done all of that? I called it my "bonus year" and began our homeschool journey. I figured if I messed it up, I'd just enroll him as I had planned with no time lost. It's now been 10 years and he's never been to public school.
My oldest - age 11 - circa 2007
Have those 10 years been easy? Absolutely not. There have been many times I have longingly looked at those yellow school buses bringing kiddos to school and thinking of all I could get done at home if my boys were gone all day. Then I remember why I chose to homeschool.
I know everyone has various reasons as to why they chose this route. In fact, more and more people make this decision every single day. And everyone has different reasons why they want to educate their children at home. They range from religious, to safety (their children are bullied or the school itself isn't safe), to academic (their child is gifted or on the other end of the spectrum), or any number of reasons. Why did you decide?
I encourage new homeschoolers - no matter what age your child happens to be - to create a mission statement. Write out why you want to homeschool. What has led you to this decision. There will be some tough days ahead. It could be relatives and friends who think you are crazy for going this route and you'll begin to believe them. Read your mission statement. It could be the day you and your child are frustrated over a new learning concept. Read your mission statement. It might be the day you just feel like you can't do it anymore. Read your mission statement.
My youngest - age 3 - circa 2007
I also recommend checking out Homeschool Legal Defense Association or HSLDA. HSLDA is an organization that supports homeschooling. For the first time in 10 years, I have felt the need to become a member (and that is not an affiliate link). HSLDA supports you in all things homeschooling from legal issues all the way to what type of curriculum would work best with your child.
HSLDA also has all the homeschooling laws for your state. It's important to know what your state requires or doesn't require for you to legally educate your child at home. You do not need to be a member in order to access their site, but certain parts of it can only be seen and used by members.
I really encourage people to follow the laws of their state. There have been many who have gone before us - long before homeschooling was so main stream - and helped to create those laws. They fought for our rights to educate our children at home. By supporting the laws, you help fight the stereotype of families educating their children off the grid anyway they like. Some states require very little while others may require a lot. Continue to follow and fight so our children can have the same opportunities with their children.
My middle son - age 6 - circa 2007
It's also important to do some research. Look at what type of support is available in your state. Check out Yahoo Groups. Many states use these to connect members. Try looking for groups on Facebook as well or other social media outlets. Ask at your local library. Libraries are a great resource for homeschoolers and a great way to find others. Head to the park in the middle of the day. If you see older kids playing, generally they will be homeschoolers!
Tomorrow I will be discussing how to figure out your teaching style and your child's learning style and why that is important when choosing curriculum. If you have any questions about what I posted here, please leave it in the comments. I will spend time on Saturday answering questions in a blog post.
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