Last week we started talking about why you would want to homeschool. So, now we’re all convinced the world is a more beautiful place with homeschoolers, we are super excited to get started… and then we come across the Internet and become utterly overwhelmed. Maybe it is before we find all the amazing resources available to homeschoolers, and we just start thinking about what we are going to cover in the next school year.
Getting started can definitely be overwhelming! I’ve found one of the best ways to narrow down the scope of the materials you are searching for, and what you’re going to cover is figuring out what homeschooling method jives best with you.
One book I found extremely helpful when I started looking into homeschooling was Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling. Her book is written from a Christian perspective, so there is one reference to schools teaching Islam in a negative light, and the curriculum suggestions are largely Christian providers, but still, this book is very valuable. Plus, you can find it at the library! She guides you through what your goals are, and what works for your family. This can help you understand what method or philosophy is right for your family.
Now, you don’t have to stick to one method through your homeschooling career, and really you don’t need to pick one at all. What this does is help you navigate what resources such as blogs, forums, curriculum choices, mailing lists, etc. will work for your family. I think unschooling is great for some families, but it does not resonate with me at all. I prefer a Classical approach, and we use The Well Trained Mind as our main guide in curriculum choices. For little kids, the Charlotte Mason or Montessori approach seem well fitted for budding explorers.
All of these I have mentioned so far are basically philosophies on the most effective way for children to learn and explore, and it is not an exhaustive list. Find more approaches here. Another option for families is virtual schooling and “boxed curriculum”. Boxed curriculum is where you buy a full year’s worth of curriculum from one provider and use most everything they provide. Virtual schools are basically a public school, home learning option. In a virtual school all the books are sent to you, typically with a computer for your students, the lesson plan is set for you, and the child is assigned one or more teachers to watch over their progress. Many virtual schools use boxed curriculum providers for their materials.
We started out with a virtual school when we took the dive into the homeschooling world and used it for two years. It is a great way to get your feet wet with homeschooling, but you have someone doing the most overwhelming work for you, though I think choosing curriculum is one of the most fun parts! Some available virtual schools around the United States are:
- K12 (also a boxed curriculum provider)
- Calvert (also a boxed curriculum provider)
- Connections Academy
- See here for a complete list by location
- Not all are pure home learning options, but this can help you know what your options are
There are so many links and fun things to check out to get you started! I hope it helps you navigate through the sea of information available out there! Do you already know a homeschooling method that works for your family?
Next week we’ll inshaAllah be talking about the laws associated with homeschooling. While this varies by state, I’ll provide some resources to help you find what the laws are in your area.