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Home Schooling

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What is Homeschooling?

The term 'homeschooling' basically refers to the process in which one or more
children of not more than 2 families are instructed by parents or legal
guardians, or a member of either household. The laws that define homeschooling
vary from State to State. The legal requirements for establishing a homeschool
also vary with the State.

For most children, the actual process of learning begins much before school.
Many children already know their alphabets, the names of animals, colors and
other more complicated stuff before they reach school. This is mostly due to
the hard work of a member of the family who has taken the time to teach the
child. Homeschooling is just a natural progression from here. Instead of
sending their children to a public school, parents make their own curriculum
and teach their children in ways that best suit the child. This is
homeschooling, in its most simplistic form.

Before you decide to go in for homeschooling, there are certain important
matters for consideration. First off, meet with parents of other homeschoolers.
Find out the pros and cons of homeschooling. Then ask yourself why you would
want to adopt this method. This is a very important aspect, as the success of
the program depends on the clarity and sincerity of your purpose.

Next, it is time to consider the expenses of homeschooling. It may cost
anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand every year. More
importantly, you are also effectively shutting out any job opportunity for one
of the parents. It is only obvious that one parent will have to stay at home
full time to manage the homeschool. A home-based business however is a great
alternative.

Are you qualified to take on homeschooling for your children? Teaching is a
continuation of your own learning process. With the advent of the internet,
information is aplenty. There are various books and resources for those
interested in homeschooling. Go through the various methods of homeschooling
and choose one that is most suited to you. It helps if you know what kind of
learning style your child has. Also, find out what your child feels about
homeschooling before you start.

Every state has its own laws regarding homeschooling. For instance, in North
Carolina, you must first file a 'Notice of Intent' to start a home school. In
this you have to mention if the school is a 'Private church' school or a
'qualified non-public school'. The persons providing the education are required
to have at least a high school diploma. You have to maintain an annual record of
the child's attendance and disease immunization. Every year, the child is
required to undergo a standardized test. Each student attending the eleventh
grade has to take a nationally standardized test. These are the requirements in
North Carolina, but it is enough to give you a good idea of what homeschooling
entails.

Homeschooling may seem like a lot of fun and freedom from the outside. However,
things are seldom as simple as they seem. Homeschooling is a lot of added
responsibility and hard work. But, if successful, it will forge a strong bond
of love and respect between parent and child, while providing your child with
the best form of education he needs.

Home Schooling: The Benefits of Home Schooling Your Children

Home schooling is considered to be very beneficial for kids. A wise man even
puts it that if we teach our children to have courage, faith and endurance and
show them how to learn, they will in turn teach us to laugh, sing and to love.

To put it simply, each of the members of the family will have some valuable
lessons to teach the whole family.This means that home schooling is not just
about teaching children academic lessons but there is more that meets the eye
to home schooling.

Basically, the main benefit of home schooling is that it builds solid
relationship in the family. Because the parent will teach the children, the
children will see their parents as their mentors and not just people who feeds
them.

It basically increases the bond between the members of the family.A household
that home schools is a household that spends their time learning, laughing,
playing and living with each other all day everyday.Another great thing about
home schooling is that the curriculum is flexible.

Because the parameters are determined by the best teachers, which are the
parents, they know how to teach their children in order for them to learn
better.

Besides, who of all people knows the children more than the parents?

Because parents know the learning capacity of their children, they will be able
to home school them more effectively.

Because the teachers here are the parents, you have to consider the fact that
they will not only act as observers or lecturers, but they are active
participants in the development of their child.

They will be able to expand, explain and encourage their children more
effectively than any teachers.Another benefit that home schooling can provide
is that the parents are the ones who can model and reinforce valuable traits or
behaviors of their children as well as deemphasize undesirable ones in a very
natural manner.

As you can see, home schooling does have its benefits. Although your children
will not be able to interact with other children as much as they can if they go
to a regular or traditional school, you can still let them do so in community
centers.

Try joining home schooling household organizations if the community has one.
Here, home schooled kids will be able to mingle with other home schooled kids
and you, as a parent, will also be able to talk to other parents who home
schools their children and pick up a few tips as well as give your own tips to
other parents.Home schooling does have a lot of great benefits.

So, if you are the type of parent who really wants to see his or her children
develop like the way you want them to develop, you have to remember that
development always starts at home.

By home schooling your children, you will be able to follow them and guide them
more effectively in order to shape them to be the person you want them to be.

With home schooling, you can be sure that your kids will be able to learn from
the best teachers of all, which are the parents. With home schooling, learning
will be a lot more fun and a lot more exciting.

Also, it will be able to strengthen your relationship with your children and
get them to be closer to you.

Home Schooling: The Benefits of Home Schooling Your Children - 2

Why let Tim and Lisa learn at home than send them to school? Well, first of
all, you don't have to wake them up at 7 every morning and bundle them off to
school with umpteen numbers of instructions, and wait with an anxious heart
till they return. Homeschooling gives you more control over the influences that
affect your child. The growth and development of your child is removed from the
realm of the unknown. You, and you alone can decide what your child needs to do
or learn. Tailoring the curriculum to suit the needs and interests of the child
is one of the most obvious benefits of homeschooling

Individual attention is another salient benefit of homeschooling. For instance,
if Lisa needs more time to learn Math, then she can reduce the time for her
English lessons. There are no fixed hours of learning per subject. This means
that a child has the advantage of assigning more number of hours to the subject
that seems tough WITHOUT any additional pressure. The amount of time needed to
learn each subject will depend on the abili ties and interests of the child.

The schooling of the child becomes an extended family activity. Parents get
involved in every step of the learning procedure. Field trips and experiments
become family activities. Thus, the child receives more quality time with his
parents. The entire family shares games, chores and projects. Family closeness
becomes the focus here. The child is also free of any negative peer pressure
while making choices and decisions.

Competition is limited when it comes to homeschooling. The child does not need
to prove his ability with regards to other children. His confidence remains
intact. Since parents have a deep understanding of their child, they can plan
the learning program to pique the child's interest. It is also possible to
intersperse difficult tasks with fun activities. A tough hour with Algebra can
be followed by a trip to the nearest museum. Learning becomes fun. Parents can
also tailor the curriculum to suit the learning style of the child. Some
children learn through reading, while others need to write, and still others
need to see objects in action.

Homeschooling allows parents to take control over the moral and religious
learning of the child. Parents have the flexibility to incorporate their
beliefs and ideologies into the child's curriculum. There is no confusion in
the child's mind either because there is no variation between what is being
taught and what is being practiced.

Lastly, more and more parents are getting disillusioned with the public school
system. They believe that their children are being pushed too hard or too
little. Other worrying issues pertaining to discipline and ethics also make the
school system less welcome. Many repudiate the educational philosophy of
grouping children solely on the basis of their age. Some parents themselves
have unhappy memories of their own public school experience that motivates them
to opt for homeschooling when it comes to their own children.

Homeschooling is the best way to teach a child if you have the time, the
ability and the interest to follow through with his education. After all,
nobody can understand or appreciate your child more than yourself.

Home Schooling Tips: Helping You Become Successful In Home Schooling

Recently, home schooling has exploded in the country. A lot of parents and
children are doing it and most of the time, they are successful. There are
quite a lot of reasons why home schooling is preferred by more and more
families. However, before you start deciding home schooling your children, you
have to remember that home schooling is simply not for everyone.

Although home schooling may be successful for some people, it will not work as
well for others. You have to remember that home schooling will require a
commitment from both the parents and the children. Before you decide to home
school your children, there are still so many questions that you have to answer
in order for you to determine if home schooling is the best for your kids or not.

So, here are things that you may want to look into in order for you to decide
if home schooling is the right choice or not.

First of all, you need to understand the laws about home schooling in your
state. Make sure that you can follow the requirements before you decide. You
have to remember that home schooling demands a lot of time from the parents. If
both parents are working, then home schooling may not be the right choice.

You also need to ask yourself if you and your children have a close personal
relationship. Although this question may seem a bit odd, try figuring out if
you can get along with your children well. If you have a hard time being around
your children at any given amount of time, then you can expect to have a tough
time home schooling them.

You also need to ask yourself about your educational skills. Even if you will
be teaching basic math, reading and writing, you have to remember that these
basic skills are the most important things that you should teach your kids. If
you are not good at any of it, then you may want to give up on home schooling.
Both parents can also share the load. For example, if you are good at math, but
bad in reading and writing but your spouse is good at reading and writing but
bad in math, you can share the load for teaching. Aside from ensuring the best
education for your children, both parents will be able to spend quality time
with their children.

Your communication skills should also be another factor that you should look
into. Try asking yourself if you are good at communicating with others.
Remember that you will be a teacher to your children and good communication
skills are required in order for your children to understand what you are
trying to teach them.

You also need to be observant. If you are naturally observant and that you
really know your children, then home schooling can work for you. You have to
remember the fact that parents are not just there to provide food for their
children, but they are also there to love and also guide them in order to let
them grow up well and develop good values as well as discourage undesirable
ones.

Organization is also an important skill that you must have. Ask yourself if you
are organized enough to handle home schooling. Although this may look easy, you
have to consider the fact that there are other things that you will need to do.
You need to work, make lunch, dinner, clean the house, and any other issues that
may come during the day. If you can organize all these things and still give
plenty of time for home schooling, then this is for you.

Remember these tips and you can be sure that home schooling will indeed work
for you. Just remember that if you are going to decide if home schooling is
right for your kids, ask yourself the question if this kind of method of
education is the best for your kids.

Home Schooling: The Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

Nowadays, home schooling has become quite popular in the United States. With
more and more families now trying to home school their children rather than
send them to public schools, you will definitely think about home schooling
your children too. However, you need to consider the fact that although home
schooling has its advantages, there are also some several drawbacks that you
need to remember.

Home schooling is basically not for everyone.

Although home schooling is legal in the country, you have to consider that it
is still being debated whether home schooling can be beneficial for children.
There are still a lot of controversies that opposes home schooling. So, here
are some advantages and disadvantages of home schooling in order for you to
decide whether it is for the best for your kids or if enrolling them to public
schools will work a lot better.

The first benefit is that you, as a parent, will be able to keep your eyes on
your child at all times. When you get them to public schools, you won't really
know what's happening to your child there. You will often worry if they are
really learning, if they are being bullied by other kids, or if they are
behaving themselves.

Home schooling can also work for the benefit of children who are mentally or
physically challenged. If you have a child who is mentally or physically
challenged, which makes it impossible for them to attend normal public schools
and that you don't want to enroll them to specially designed schools then you
will see that home schooling will benefit both the parents and the children.

Another great benefit is that because you know how your child learns, you will
be able to set the pace for learning that will be favorable for your children.
This means that there will be little pressure on how fast they should learn.

Because you will be the one to teach your child, you will be able to spend more
time with them and make the bond between you and your child much stronger. This
is another advantage of home schooling.

Although home schooling has these advantages, you have to consider the fact
that there are also disadvantages to home schooling. Here are some of the
disadvantages on home schooling that can help you decide whether home schooling
is right for your child or not.

First of all, because the parents themselves will be the one to take over the
teacher's role, they may become too strict or too lenient on their kids.

Another disadvantage is that the child will be unable to socialize with other
kids. Today, this is a very serious issue as children will grow up being shy
with other people. Socialization is important. Unless you can let your kids
play with other kids their age, home schooling can work for them.

Lastly, the academic knowledge of parents can also come in to question as well
as their teaching skills.

As you can see, it is no wonder why home schooling is still being widely
debated if it should be accepted or not.

All in all, you have to remember that before you decide to home school your
children, always determine if you can compensate for the disadvantages of home
schooling. If you can't, then you may want to give up on the idea. However,
home schooling is still a great way for children to learn.

The Costs of Home Schooling

Parents have various reasons for choosing home schooling over traditional
school teaching and one very evident reason is cost. But is it necessarily true
that home schooling does not involve a lot of cost?

Well, if you think that you can cut down the education expenses of your kids,
you're very wrong. Home schooling is a tough decision for parents because the
costs are much higher especially if they choose modern programs. These modern
programs offered through home schooling c an compete with regular schools and
so the costs are almost the same.

Firstly, you will need a computer and a high-speed internet connection. Aside
from that, once you've chosen the particular education program, you still have
to purchase course materials like textbooks. Extra costs also surface as the
child grow older because the subjects are more advanced and difficult. Some
parents can no longer handle the lessons all by themselves and so they hire
private tutors. The tutors are additional expenses on your part if you really
want your child to learn from the best.

So how can you minimize the costs? Costs can only be minimized if you have
several kids who are into home schooling. Some of the resource materials used
by the older ones can be used by the younger kids.

There are still other things to consider when choosing home schooling. In
today's times, most parents are working because money is hard to find. If your
kids are all in home schooling programs, one of the parents should be present
at home to supervise the kids. This would mean that one of them should stop
working. The advantage is that they can monitor and guide their children's
education but there is also a disadvantage -- the income of the family will
decrease.

If you want to cut down your education expenses, you can take advantage of
public libraries, activity classes in the community and even cultural events.
If you want, you can also barter services or expertise. For instance, you can
teach your neighbor's kids dancing lessons while the parent teaches your child
drawing lessons.

All in all, home schooling is definitely expensive as compared to traditional
schools. However, most parents who go for home schooling claim that the
advantages outweigh drawbacks and so they don't hesitate to spend no matter
what amount. Home schooling is a mutually enriching activity. As parents, you
can control the subjects learned by your kids at the pace they can easily cope
with. Your child will have freedom in doing what they want without sacrificing
education.

You can start conducting a search now about the available home schooling
programs on the internet. By doing so, you can at least determine some of the
possible expenses that might come up. You can even participate in home
schooling forums so that other parents can give you some advice on
cost-effective measures that you can undertake. If one of the parents is always
at home, home schooling is a good choice because there would be someone to
supervise the kids but if both are working, the parents should decide who will
resign from work. If in case resignation is the only option for the other
parent, they can also take advantage of work-from-home opportunities so that
they can still earn while supervising the children's education. You just have
to know your options and make the most from it.

Avoiding Burnout in Home Schooling

Whether you're studying in a traditional school or in a home schooling program,
there will come a time when you will experience burnout. This is something that
you have to avoid so that your learning progress is not affected.

Here are a few helpful tips that you can make use of to avoid possible home
schooling burnout:

* Know your limitations. From the very start, you should already know your and
your child's limitations. You are capable of doing things slowly at a time
especially if your child is still young since you have to consider your child's
learning capacity. Most of today's students are average learners so you have to
take the lessons based on your child's learning pace. Never expect your small
child to read complicated reading selections nor your teen to ace SAT exams.

* Don't follow strict schedules because this can pressure your child. You can
simply set an interesting routine for your kids. Children spend most of their
time doing their routine activities like getting up late in the morning, eat
hearty breakfasts, read, write, do light chores, and some other things. You
must insist that they finish first their routine activities before they can
play outside or with the computer. Even the routine activities vary from day to
day but you have to make sure that you're child follows the routine activities.
You can throw in occasional incentives or fun activities if they finish their
routine tasks earlier.

* Enjoy home schooling together with your kid. This is one way to develop a
good relationship with your kid. If you and your kid can relate to each other,
you will find it very easy to handle curriculum struggles and motivation
problems. Aside from motivating and guiding your child, you can also pursue
some of your interests like gardening and cooking. If your child sees you
pursuing your interests, then he or she will also be motivated in doing the s
ame.

* Since your child is into home schooling, you should not mimic the traditional
school environment. Try to use unusual methods when teaching your kid. Home
schooling is also about flexibility and if you can achieve a light atmosphere,
you can effectively avoid burnout.

Always remember that with home schooling, you don't have to structure your
teaching methods. You can simply do things in a fun way especially with very
young kids and they can learn easily. Just keep the day in the right
perspective to avoid burnout. Although your kids might forget some of the day's
lessons, that's all right because somehow they grow in intelligence and even
physically. And of course, you kids will always cherish your moments together
and how well you've treated them. There is no other place like home and for
little students this is the best place to learn the first lessons in life. Now,
even your teens are already in high school or in college, they can still pursue
home schooling if they want too. That is also a good decision because you get
to monitor your child's performance.

Parents are always looking after their child's best interest. If after careful
consideration you still think that home schooling is the best option, go on
with it. Just follow the tips mentioned earlier to avoid burnout at home. Do
fun activities from time to time to rule out monotony.

Unschooling your child

Unschooling is the most fluid style of homeschooling. There is no curriculum
and no set boundaries. Many parents feel a bit apprehensive about such freedom.
But, even unschooling has certain guidelines that make it a great method of
homeschooling

Firstly, allow your child to express interests. Let her select the topic. If
she wants to learn about flowers, tell her about the various flowers, their
functions, parts of the flower, rare flowers etc. But don't go overboard. Allow
her the freedom to stop when she has had enough. This process of learning may
take a month or a day. It is up to the child to decide how much she wants to
learn.

Expand your child's areas of interests using videos, books, magazines, puzzles
and games. Go to a museum or take her to a library. Simultaneously, broaden
your own interests. The more you know, the more the child gets to learn.

Notice all opportunities for learning. When in the kitchen, point out the
vitamins in fruits and vegetables. What makes tomatoes red, and why are leafy
vegetables good? If you don't know the answers, don't worry. Look it up.
Lastly, don't worry if the going seems slow. This is just the way kids learn.
Give them time and lots of encouragement.

Structure the School year

Now that you have begun your homeschooling schedule, there are various
questions that trouble you. Should you study continuously, take a number of
short breaks or a long vacation? What about public holidays? When should you
take a break?

The answer to these questions and many more like these are actually quite
simple: Do whatever suits you best. This is one of the appealing benefits of
homeschooling. You do not have a set pattern to follow. You do not HAVE to take
that autumn break, or close shop for a prolonged summer vacation. Flexibility is
the key here. For some practiced unschoolers, even a definite curriculum is not
necessary because lessons are a part of their day- to-day life. But this may
not be the case with beginners. Beginners may need to chart out their
activities to fall into a pattern.

Before you plan the structure of your classes, consider some of the most
important issues. What method of homeschooling will you be following, what is
your teaching style and your child's learning style, what are the work and play
schedules, what are your vacation plans. Some families plan small 1-week
vacations at differe nt times of the year. Other families prefer to go away for
a month or more. Consult with the members of your family, and chart out a
holiday schedule that most suits you.

There are some positive benefits in following the traditional summer vacation
schedule. Firstly, your children can benefit from the various summer
activities, camps and classes. Your child's schedule will coincide with that of
his school-going friends. A summer job may be possible. A longish summer break
also means that both parents as well as children get a break from their daily
lessons. This could also be a major drawback, as it is sometimes difficult to
get back on track once the classes resume.

On the other hand, there are some advantages to taking numerous small breaks in
the course of a year. Firstly, children do not get bored since they get time to
explore other interests. You can cover more topics in the extra time that you
save. You can also take family trips and vacations during the less popular
periods of travel. This means lesser crowd and better prices. But beware if
your child becomes restless when other children are enjoying their long summer
vacations.

As far as homeschooling is concerned, you and your family are the people in
charge. Taking care of the individual needs of the child is the primary focus
of this system. So, tailor the school year to suit your child's needs. Periodic
evaluation is a must. Set some realistic goals and see if you are able to
achieve these goals. Most importantly, avoid burnout -- both in yourself and
your children.

Homeschooling Methods

For many people, homeschooling may call to mind the picture of two or three
children sitting at a table and writing feverishly in their workbooks, while
mom or dad stands nearby. This is the not entirely true. There are different
methods of homeschooling, and the method you choose will decide the curriculum
and your style of teaching. Given below are some of the most influential and
popular homeschooling methods.

The Charlotte Mason method: Charlotte Mason is known as the founder of the
homeschooling movement. A homeschooler herself, she was passionate in her zeal
to lay out the foundations for an effective a complete homeschooling program
that is fun and educational at the same time. This method focuses on all the
core subjects with emphasis placed on classical literature, poetry, fine arts,
classical music and craft. Mason used a variety of books from classical
literature, which she called 'Living Books'. Since this method encourages a
passionate awareness of literature, the child is read to daily from the 'Living
Books'. After this, the child is asked to narrate what she has heard. This
process begins at the age of six, and by ten the child is expected to write her
narrations in her book. Mason also advocated the use of 'Nature Diaries'. After
each short and interesting lesson, the child is asked to go to Nature and draw
observations from Nature. Thus the child also gains a sense of respect for her
environment. Mason believed that development of good character and behavior was
essential to the complete development of the child's personality.

The Eclectic Homeschooling: This is a mixture of various homeschooling
techniques. Here, the innovative parents trust their own judgment and pick out
the topics that make the best curriculum for their child. Such parents
continuously look out for the best products that will meet the needs of their
homeschoolers. Most Eclectic homeschooling curriculums are improvised. This
means that the basic curriculum is ready-made. The parents then make changes in
the curriculum to accommodate the individual needs and interests of their
children. The child's gifts, temperament, learning style and interests dictate
the curriculum. Eclectic programs include visits to the museum, libraries and
factories.

Unschooling: A Boston public educator name John Holt laid the beginnings of the
unschooling method. He believed that children learned best when they are free to
learn at their own pace and when they are guided by their own interests. His
message was to 'unschool' the child. This method is a hands-on approach to
learning, where the parent takes definite cues from the children. There is no
definite curriculum, schedules or materials. This method is the most
unstructured of the various homeschooling techniques.

The Montessori Method: This method began in Italy, when it was observed that
children have acute sensitive periods, during which they undergo periods of
intense concentration. During such phases, a child will repeat an activity till
he gains a measure of self-satisfaction. The Montessori method depends on a
prepared environment to facilitate learning. All the materials used in this
method are designed to satisfy the inner desire for spiritual development of
the child. The materials used progress from simple to complex, and are rather
expensive.

These are just a few of the methods of homeschooling. Whatever the method, the
underlying factor is flexibility and a keen interest in the desires of the
child. The secret is to use the child's desire for knowledge to further his
education.

Homeschooling hours

How many, how often and when? These are some oft-repeated questions when it
comes to homeschooling hours. Flexibility is of course one of the key
underlying principles behind homeschooling. This flexibility applies not only
to the curriculum but also to the number of hours. It is only natural that
parents, especially if they have just started out on homeschooling should feel
that their children should be at their books all the time when regular
school-goers are at school. This is not only fallacious but can also be
damaging and counter-productive.

One of the most ignored but glaring drawbacks of the public schooling system is
the sheer waste of time and energy that it causes. Many periods are simply
wasted away and the child effectively derives only 1-3 hours of study everyday.
Then, there are days when the studies become too intensive and other days when
it's only games and no work at all. There is a lot of 'invisible wastage'
involved here.

Early on in your homeschooling practice, work out a schedule. It is advisable
to stick to the same hours everyday. A routine makes it easier to learn and
gives structure to the learning experience. It also tells the students that
parents are strict about their learning. A routine also allows your child to
free his mind from other activities and concentrate on studies. He knows that a
particular time is strictly set aside for learning.

The actual number of hours that you need depends on the curriculum you have
chosen and the learning style that suits your child. If you are dealing with a
subject that seems to be more complex, you may need to sit with the child for a
longer period. Using various techniques, it may be necessary to demonstrate what
you are trying to teach. For instance, a lesson in Algebra may take more time
than a lesson in English.

Homeschooling does not refer to the practice of sitting in front of the books
and learning the printed matter. Field trips, watching documentaries, visiting
factories and libraries also make up an important slice of the homeschooling
process. It makes sense to intersperse these activities so that learning
becomes fun. You may want to finish off the few hours of textbook learning in
the morning and dedicate the afternoons to these kinds of activities.

Given the fact that too many public school hours are wasted in meaningless
activities ranging from talking to extra-curricular activities, do not allow
public school hours to dictate the time you should spend teaching your child at
home. Remember that at home, he is getting a high-quality one-to-one time that
is highly productive. About 1-3 hours of study is enough in the primary level.
It is of cour se true that the more number of hours you put in, the more
learning takes place. This is also the reason why homeschooling children are
much smarter and more balanced than regular school going children.

Homeschooling and the family

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost 1.1 million
children underwent homeschooling in 2005 alone. That's a lot of children. Once
upon a time, homeschooling used to be a radical statement -- something like a
declaration of independence. It was the conservative Christians who advocated
homeschooling in the '80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical
homeschooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of the public
school systems where much of the learning is superficial and compulsory. They
are also concerned about negative school environment ranging from drugs and
abuse to negative peer pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of
people who form the homeschooling world of today. They cut across all religious
and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and productive
learning through a method that strengthens the bond between the various members
of the family.

All these families have one thing in common -- a long enduring commitment to
the sanctity of childhood. The children in these families are accorded a
primary position. Many believe, and rightly so, that homeschooling allows
parents to bring up children in a more natural and nurturing environment.
Public schools can make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who
get schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative influences till
they reach an age where they can handle it.

Homeschooling draws the whole family into the almost religious task of
schooling. Everyone is put to work. The parents together form a bond with the
children. Any experience can be turned into an educational experience. Both the
parents are aware of exactly what is going into their child's head. Parents also
have greater control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child
imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning experience. Trips
to the libraries and other places become educational as well as recreational.

A homeschooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one earning
member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed and proper planning
of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring the family members together and
everybody gets involved in the process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the children
brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your husband chips in and there
just is no room for boredom. Yes, problems do crop up, and there are a lot of
misgivings in your mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on
you, and your kids know it too, then homeschooling becomes
a richly rewarding experience.

Social concerns of homeschooling

Social skills is an area of deep concern when it comes to homeschooling. Many
critics point out that since man needs to hone his social skills, a
homeschooling environment where social interaction is limited is detrimental to
his growth and development. But studies have proved this wrong.

Children put into the fiercely competitive school environments lack the
confidence to hold a conversation. Such children show little genuine interest
in the topic of conversation and don't know how to interact with people of
various age groups, especially their elders.

Children who learn at home are more aware of the implications and the purpose
of their learning. They will ask intelligent questions and make accurate
observations. Children begin their life by imitating their parents.
Homeschooled children therefore pick up the sterling qualities they see in
their parents. On the other hand, they are protected from the detrimental
influences of their peers.

These children are thus better equipped with the tools necessary to face the
world. The positive reinforcement that takes place in the homeschooling
environment as opposed to being abandoned, embarrassed or ignored in a normal
school environment strengthens their self-esteem. Children turn out to be
better balanced and well-rounded as they progress into adulthood.

Record keeping in Homeschooling

A topic that frequently comes up in meetings and forums that deal with
homeschooling is record keeping. The importance of record keeping cannot be
ignored. It is not only legally required in various States, but also provides
important milestones in your child's learning experience. An interest-initiated
homeschooling approach means that the topic of studies is far ranging and
multifarious. Thus, it can be something of a challenge to write quarterly
reports for the school district, when it is difficult to classify learning into
neatly pigeonholed areas.

Record keeping is important not only for the sake of regulations. It is also an
exciting way to record and document the learning process of the child. When most
of the learning is done through play and there is no clear cut index of topics
that have to be covered, it is necessary for the parent to keep some sort of a
log which records the child's progress.

The records you keep can be as simple as a daily journal, or as elaborate as a
software program. If you participate in a support group, you probably have set
forms and requirements. But even so, keeping track of daily work makes
reporting easy and efficient.

There are various record keeping methods used by various homeschools. Some of
the more popular ones are:

Journal: This can be maintained by the teacher or the student. This basically
aims to keep a log of what was learned and what was done. Recording memorable
events that happened in the course of the year is a great way to reminisce
later on.

Daily planner: Lay out the plans and the assignments for the week in a
teacher's planning notebook. Check each item as it is covered. Maintain a
separate area where any additional things can be recorded. This includes
educational trips, visits and videos etc. Any extra topics that were covered
are also recorded in this area. Make a summary every quarter.

Portfolios: This consists of a collection of varied materials that show what
the child has achieved and done during the course of study. Portfolio
assessment is a very effective way to chart the child's progress. It gives
structure to the otherwise loose and flexible form of schooling called
homeschooling. A drawing portfolio will consist of some paintings or sketches
that are considered the best in that quarter. A language portfolio may consist
of essays, stories, reading-logs, spelling samples or letters. Progress in
mathematics, fine arts, history, science and social studies can all be recorded
this way. The biggest advantage is that portfolio assessment places control in
the hands of the children. Having a tangible record of what they have
established eggs them on to greater heights.

Other than the above-mentioned systems, there are also purchased record-keeping
systems that lay out a good checklist. Some of these allow one to personalize
the organizer. Irrespective of the methods used, record keeping in one form or
the other is essential. Your child's future may well depend on the
well-maintained record that you have meticulously kept over the years.

Important Data on Home Schooling

Nowadays, home schooling is no longer a big issue and in fact, it is already
generally accepted even by traditional schools or colleges. Before you plunge
into home schooling, you have to consider the various factors involved.

Most of the home schooling students don't do well in traditional classrooms and
that's the main reason why their parents choose the home-based schooling
programs. But this reason is sometimes not enough and you will need to consider
other factors before you finally decide if home schooling is the best decision
for your child.

You can't find a lot of guides that can assist you with home schooling but if
you take just a few moments to read this article, you will get some of the most
important data about home schooling.

Firstly, are you prepared to supervise your child's education? Since your child
will be studying at home, you will need to keep a close watch especially if the
child is still young; high school and college students require minimal
supervision because they are already old enough to handle their
responsibilities as students but still, you need to check on them regularly.
The set up of home schooling is very much different from traditional schools so
you and your child would have to adjust on some changes.

The decision for signing up for home schooling should be the joint decision of
the parents and the child. As parents, you can't just impose home schooling to
your child. If your child is not comfortable with home schooling, it might
affect his/her mindset and hamper learning progress. Another thing to consider
is the type of education that you're giving to your child. It must be suitable
to your child's interests and needs. There are various programs to choose from,
including basic subjects to complex topics.

State laws on home schooling also differ and so you should already expect some
variations. If you want, you can inquire at the local government office
concerned. In the US and Canada, home schooling has tremendously increased
recently. Parents can even participate in home schooling forums so that they
can receive assistance from more experienced parents. They can get helpful
pieces of advice from other parents.

Some kids do well in home schooling because they have more freedom. They can
learn at their chosen pace which makes it easier for them to understand various
lessons. You see, kids differ when it comes to learning. Through home schooling,
you can give much attention to your child's learning progress and you can
effectively monitor it. Home schooling often provides scheduled projects and
other requirements. You have to ensure that your child meets all the
requirements and pass all their projects. That is one way to supervise the
education of your child.

Keep in mind that home schooling is not for everyone. Children who do well in
traditional schools should not be pulled out immediately because it might have
a terrible effect on them. You must evaluate your child carefully and you can
even ask them. They should also decide if they like home schooling. The final
decision will still rest on you and if you have certain problems with your
child regarding your decision, you have to explain everything to your kid. Tell
him/her why you decided to go for home schooling because if there is
understanding, everything will work well.




Home Schooling and the Young Children

In recent years, home schooling has become extremely popular especially among
the middle and upper class families. There have been many arguments before
about home schooling. Experts claim that there are advantages as well as
disadvantages in home schooling but it seems the former outweighs the latter
and so, a lot of families are now choosing home schooling over the traditional
schools.

Cultures vary and somehow the relations of the family are affected. In some
cultures, the family ties are quite strong but there are also those who don't
have very good relationships with family members. Through home schooling,
family ties and relationship can be enhanced. Parents will spend enough time
for their kids because of the home schooling program and the children will have
to listen to their parents well. Communication is improved and both parties will
learn about the importance of speaking and listening.

Many families prefer home schooling because of its diversity. Since the cost of
home education is a bit higher than traditional schools, the financial standing
of the family is very important. However, the financial factor has not yet been
established and most parents will still go for the home schooling option because
it can ensure their kid's safety. Public schools often have dangerous situations
that can terribly affect kids but if they are in a home schooling program, they
can stay away from these situations and their parents will be there to guide
them.

Instead of enrolling the kids at a public school, most parents will prefer home
schooling because the learning environment in the public is not that conducive.
Very young pupils may experience difficulties that can affect them socially,
mentally, and academically. Experts who conducted studies claim that the
children will learn better in a good environment surrounded by loved ones.
Another advantage of home schooling is that the children can learn based on
their capacities. You can't just push a new lesson if the previous one isn't
learned yet; it may take time but the results are better.

As mentioned earlier, home schooling is a bit costly. If you think that you can
cut down the education expenses of your child, you're wrong. The home schooling
expenses are almost the same as that of traditional schools. However, if you
participate in the forums of the parents of home-schoolers, you will discover
that there are ways to cut down the costs. Of course, you will need to spend on
the resource materials, computer, and internet; but you can also use outside
resources like cultural events, public libraries, and many others. You will
also get more cost-cutting ideas if you get in touch with other parents. The
internet offers endless possibilities and with a bit of research and doing your
homework, you can surely come up with a way to reduce the costs. If you don't
want to hire tutors, then you should learn the lessons as well. Besides, you've
already taken up the various subjects of your kids and you only need to review
them. You can get the other learning materials online and later on, teach your
kids.

So you see, home schooling is by far the best option if your child is still
very young. It will all depend on you and your kid if they continue this kind
of education until they graduate in college.

Home Schooling and the Study of History

Do you think that spending time in traditional classrooms is not worth it? To
some people, that is true. For example, a test is coming up and the students
are asked to memorize a lot of dates and names. However, after taking the exam,
they will definitely forget about those dates and names. That's what most
students do every time they have exams. Are you one of them? If you find
traditional history lessons boring, home schooling which focuses more on the
history of the world will surely catch your fancy.

Memorization is not enough to know the significance of famous people and
important events. Through history home schooling, you can learn about the
different cultures of the past in a unique but interesting way. Through the
study of history, you will also understand the current situation of the world
today.

If you think that home schooling is the best option for your child's effective
learning, you should also be prepared to take some responsibilities. Since
there will be no teacher physically, you have to supervise your child's
learning progress.

Suppose your kid is interested in sports. Through history home schooling, you
can simply start by putting a wall map on your child's room. Mark the location
of his favorite sports team and ma ke sure that you track all the team's
activities and schedules. One way to go back to history is to read biographies
of the various athletes who became popular in the particular sport your child
loves. Aside from that, you can also look into the history of the specific
sport and discover where it originated, its inventor, and the other things
happening in that particular time.

For example, your child loves baseball. You can teach your kid about the
history of Negro Leagues, government hearings on the use of steroids, and other
favorite pastimes during that time. Always remember that you can apply this
concept on any file of interest such as dance and inventions. You can also have
conversations with your child concerning the current events or read interesting
historical fiction and other books. Aside from that, you can also watch
documentaries together with the whole family. There are various resources that
your child can use in home schooling like maps, a globe, an atlas, and
encyclopedias. Through the exciting adventures that you and your child went
through, he/she will find it easier to remember the names and dates in history.
So you see, learning is best when done in a fun and educational way.

These things are recommended if the child is still young but once your child is
much older, you must choose the appropriate home schooling program that is
suitable for his/her age. The programs are available on the elementary level,
high school, and even college. You simply have to search online for these
various programs. A good thing about these programs is that you can tailor it
to fit the interests of your child. But you must see to it that all the lessons
are learned and followed by your child.

Once you and your child decide to go for home schooling, you must be prepared
for some changes to take place. The learning environment will now be at home
and through the various resources that you can use like the computer and
internet.

Home Schooling and Computer Learning

You can find computers in almost every household. It is very important to have
one at home because of its many benefits, most especially if you have an
internet connection. With computers, you can have a unique and interesting
educational experience. Children today should already learn about this very
important gadget even at an early stage and one way to achieve that is through
home schooling computer programs.

At present, even pre-school children are already taught how to use the computer
and other support resources. If you opt for home schooling, you and your child
will also spend most of your time making use of the computer and the internet.
Educating your children will be much better when done online because of the
diverse resources. Your child will be provided with exceptional education which
he/she will greatly benefit from in the near future since the job market trends
today involve the Internet.

Most African Americans prefer home schooling because of some society issues and
they too can keep themselves abreast through home schooling. Parents of these
minority children can help their kids learn more effectively by having an
internet connection at home. The education of the kids is better supported by
the parents and they can also help in improving the mindset of their kids as
well. The parents can pass on to their kids their great heritage through the
various online resources.

Remember that home schooling will only work best if the parents are willing to
support their kids all the way. They must also be committed and prepared for
the challenges that they are about to encounter. The parents should look for a
good computer program that can help their children learn all about computer
usage. Oftentimes, the lessons are divided into several parts or series so that
the children can cope easily. Kids have various learning capacities and since
they are not given much chance in traditional schools, this is their chance to
bring out their best through the use of computers.

Home schooling is not new today and if you think that your child is not
performing well in school, talk to the teachers and ask some feedbacks
regarding your child. The guidance counselor can also help you in determining
the best education for you kid. Home schooling is already accepted and perhaps
it can help your kid learn better in the comforts of your home.

You can even ask your kid about his performance in school and then bring in the
subject of home schooling. See how your kid reacts to the idea and tell him/her
about its advantages. Somehow, if you can convince your kid, computer learning
will be a lot easier. It's better if you and your kid both agree to home
schooling. Persuading your kid to commit to home schooling will not be very
good and so you have to seriously talk now. Spend time with your kid and know
his/her interests. Explain that computer programs in home schooling can greatly
help. Besides, tell your kids that they can indulge more in their interests if
they know how to use the computer.

So why not look for the best-suited computer program now? There are lots of
home schooling programs to choose from and it will take some time before you
can find the appropriate one.

College Students and Home Schooling

Most people think that home schooling is just for the primary school but they
are very wrong. It's not limited to primary pupils and in fact, today you can
find programs of home schooling exclusively for the college students. The
courses can be taken online or even offline.

Oftentimes, parents want to supervise their children's education and one way to
do that is through home schooling. Sending their children to a far away college
is not a very good idea because they can't keep a close watch over their
child's performance. Well, most parents are probably like that and if you're
one of them you can now take advantage of this alternative -- home schooling.

College level is far more advanced than primary education. College students can
choose among the various programs available online. The choice you make would
depend on the education type you prefer.

One of the most common type is home schooling for a religion college. The
curriculum obviously includes religious studies and it is an integral part of
education. There are still other types which focus more on science, arts, and
many others. Home schooling is flexible and you can even choose a program which
combines several types. By considering the interests of your student, you can
surely choose the appropriate program.

If your child is a slow learner, home schooling may suit him/her. You see, home
schooling can be carried out based on your child's learning pace. For slow
learners, the lessons are given over an extended period; for the fast learners,
they can get advanced studies.

The program you choose should be the most suitable so that you're college
student can learn without any pressure. College life is sometimes hard because
the lessons are more complicated and difficult. This is part of being a college
student and your child should learn to cope with such difficulties since it is
the only way to learn.

Soon, your child will be graduating and he/she will start looking for work.
Even if he/she is a graduate of a home schooling education program, they will
not find it hard to get employed because they possess the necessary skills and
qualifications to land a decent job.

Some of the home schooling education programs are offered locally. You simply
have to conduct a bit of research and you can determine if there are local home
schooling opportunities. Local schooling programs are often theme-based or
subject-based. You have to check what the program is focused on so that you can
choose the right one for your college student. By signing up for a home
schooling education program, you will be able to meet neighbors who are also
into home schooling.

Online home schooling is so far more popular as compared to local schooling. As
long as you ha ve an internet connection at home, your child can already study
their lessons online and do almost everything on the computer. Your kid doesn't
have to be a computer wizard in order to do this; a little bit of computer
knowledge and he/she can already do all the lessons.

Start searching the internet now about the various programs available for home
schooling. Make sure that you choose a program that is suitable for your kid.
Time flies by quickly and soon, your kid will graduate from college.

Montessori Homeschooling

Developed from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, this style of teaching aims at
duplicating natural laws that a child faces in life. Thus the aim of the teacher
is to control the environment and not the child. It was observed that children
who are left free to interact with their environment developed an innate
self-discipline, love for order and natural curiosity.

The Montessori method of teaching is especially suitable to the preschooler who
wants to do everything by himself. Finding ways in which your child can
participate in the cleaning, washing, cooking, gardening and other 'adult'
activities sets the perfect backdrop for the learning experience. By providing
such opportunities for independence, the child's self-esteem also gets a huge
boost.

Artistic, cultural and scientific activities abound in the Montessori 3-6
class. There is no TV, junk food, or computer. Material is selected carefully.
The child is never forced to work. Instead he is encouraged to do things that
interest him, and the teacher picks up the teaching from cues given by the
child. The Montessori method focuses on the child's inborn ability to learn
from his surroundings. Thus the teacher aims to encourage the natural curiosity
of the child. He is never forced to learn or explore. When the child understands
why he needs to learn something, he will love the learning process.

Maintaining Discipline in Homeschooling

When the child stays at home all day, and mommy is the teacher, there are
certain issues of discipline at stake. It is easy for he child to misconstrue
the freedom he has at home and feel that homeschooling is just a long summer
holiday. This is a potential landmine and children need to be disciplined right
at the start.

Homeschooling gives you and your child a truly immense amount of flexibility.
You and your child decide where to learn, how much to learn and when to learn.
But,these should be decisions made at the beginning stages. If your child is
too little to take an active part in the decision, chart out a few hours of the
day for the various activities, and stick to it. When there is no outside agency
to supervise and no exams to answer, it is easy to get sidetracked. If your
child is old enough, consult him and find out when he wants to learn. Apply
your parental discretion and come up with a timetable.

Homework is also a part of homeschooling. What this means is that once lessons
have been taught, the child should be asked to do some part of the course work
by himself without your guidance. You will need to make sure that your child
sits willingly and finishes his work.

Courtesy, manners and punctuality are some of the various facets of discipline
that a child has to imbibe in the early years of his life. The school where he
interacts with his peers, his seniors and juniors and his teachers mould these
values quite automatically. At homeschool, the child should be taught the
importance of speaking and behaving in a proper manner and appropriate
corrections need to be meted out if behavior is unsatisfactory.

It is advisable to keep aside a particular room or a part of the room for your
homeschool. The child should be expected to reach his desk at the appointed
time, in proper attire with all the necessary material. It is easy to allow the
school to become an extension of play if these ground rules are not laid out and
followed. As the teacher, supervisor, principal and janitor rolled into one, you
should also approach the study area with a cool professionalism.

Homeschooling is doomed to fail without patience. In spite of all the
precautions and steps one takes, it is easy for a child to get familiar' at
homeschool. At such times, it may be difficult to discipline the child and get
him to listen to you attentively. When this happens, switch to something new.
Allow the child to take a breather and enjoy a break yourself.

Homeschooling is not easy. It requires a lot of hard work and patience. The
very informality of the whole procedure sometimes works against it by making it
too easy. If you take steps to establish rules at the very beginning and adhere
to these rules, your homeschooling experience will be a huge success.

Is Homeschooling legal?

Without a doubt, homeschooling is legal in all the 50 States of the U.s. But,
that is just about where the similarity ends. Laws and regulations regarding
homeschooling vary from state to state. Interpretations of these laws can vary
from scholl district to school district. Additionally, these laws may change
every year.

The National Home Education network is a wonderful resource when it comes to
the legalities of homeschooling. It has a listing of the actual state laws for
each state in the U.S. Reading the laws that pertain to your state is perhaps
the best way to get accurate information about these laws. But, most people
need to get the laws interpreted by a qualified attorney. You can get valuable
information from the support group at your locality. Additionally, many state
education departments have online resources that will help you in interpreting
the state requirements for homeschooling. The internet is also a good source of
information.

It is a good idea to check out your state laws regarding homeschooling before
you start educating your child at home. This will prevent any nasty surprises
on the way. If you have to move, you will need to be aware of any tests or
exams that your child may need to take.

How to Homeschool Your Child

Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate your child,
get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety -- the road ahead is a bit bumpy, but
the rewards more than make up for it. Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded
personality is no mean achievement.

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home schooling.
Some states need an affidavit filed with the State's education department.
There are basically 3 categories for homeschooling laws. These are: private
school laws, home education laws and equivalency laws. Find your state laws.
You may also need to maintain a portfolio that records the child's educational
progress. It is important to look into the legal requirements BEFORE you start
homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a minimum educational qualification
for the parent or teacher.

Next, look for a support group. If you live in a friendly or curious
neighborhood, well-meaning friends will t ry to dissuade you. At the very
least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in your mind. A support group
that consists of like-minded people will insulate you from the criticism,
pressures and questions of regular school-goers. Many groups organize fun
events like visits to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops etc. And if
your children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to build
lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends change schools. These
groups provide an important avenue for socialization.

The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum. Depending upon the
method of homeschooling, you may choose various tools that aid you in this
process. The internet is also a rich resource for homeschooling. Do some
research and look into the material that is available.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of self-discipline and
hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the things you will need: 

1) Eagerness to learn 
2) Hard work and effort 
3) Discipline 
4) Time and patience
5) Flexibility 
6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and your reasons
are important pillars on which the whole edifice of your child's lessons
depends. Also, consult with your children. Ask them what they feel about
homeschooling.

Select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits your child.
Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling. Look into the various
methods of record keeping. Set up a schedule. Your child does not have to learn
6-7 hours a day. Allow him or her to dictate the time. Flexibility and fun are
the cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a single
term or year. Prepare a skill list. Make the child learn the skills that he is
ready for.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling. Children make great
advances in learning and show more enthusiasm. They also turn out to be
surprisingly well balanced and well informed when they are taught at home.

Homeschooling with a disability

If you feel that your child suffers from a disability that seriously hampers
his ability to stick to a routine, then homeschooling is your best choice. The
child will be constantly under your supervision. But he will be gaining a lot
of quality education, in spite of his disability. This is rather surprising,
considering how children with disabilities are stigmatized in public schools.

Goal setting is an important part of homeschooling a child with disability. Set
the number of working hours per week for the child. A child with a disability
may have his bad days. Structure the learning hours according to the needs and
interests of the child. Use the computer. This way, he will have all the
necessary information right at his fingertips while staying within the confines
of his home.

Field trips and other educational activities are just as important. Get help
from your support group. Visit places of interest and interact with other
children in the group. Take your child out for some activities, so that he can
socialize. Let him set his own pace with making friends. This will help in
strengthening his self-esteem.

Above all, remember that homeschooling is just the same, even when your child
suffers from a disability. You will just need to look for the right
opportunities and the easiest alternatives to achieve the same goals.

Homeschooling -- the darker side

It's not all hunky-dory and smooth sailing on the homeschooling front. Like all
things in life, there is a downside that has to be seriously considered when you
explore the homeschooling option. Though one man's bane may be another man's
boon, there are certain common reasons for concern.

The responsibility of teaching your child rests solely on you. You cannot blame
anyone else if your child is seen wanting in the skills that his peers excel in.
If your child cannot do the things that are expected from other children of his
age group, it reflects badly on you as an educator as well as a parent.

A critical part of homeschooling is the time that you have to spend with your
children. You may have to give up your friends, shopping and other
entertainment and dedicate all these to your child. This can become frustrating
at times. You have to learn to take the aggravation with equanimity and wait for
the rewards with patience and enthusiasm.

A parent who is dedicated to tutor his or her child single handedly does not
realistically have much time left over for a career. This means that the family
is robbed of an additional source of income. In turn, this may lead to stress
over finances. You will have to train yourself to live on a strictly controlled
budget. While this is a matter of habit, it does need some getting used to.

You cannot take a break when you feel like it. Feelings of guilt will assail
you if you neglect studies just because you are feeling blue. You also fear
that the child will take advantage of the situation. Even when you have given
homework, you have to be around to give a helping hand. This means that anytime
your child is around you, you are on duty! For some, this may mean working every
waking hour. The child studying at home also needs to get out more. This comes
from staying at home all the time. Interaction with adults and other children
needs to be given special attention.

Children tutored at home cannot develop in the various directions that are open
to children attending public schools. To achieve that kind of exposure, you
either have to be a super-parent skilled in everything, or enroll your child to
various activities. This may not only prove too costly, but also be
counter-productive.

It is sometimes observed that homeschooled children do not do as well in SAT
tests as their school-going counterparts. Without a diploma or a GED, some
students find it difficult to get into the military.

Lastly, if you envision enrolling your child to a public school, there may be a
certain period of emotional as well as social adjustment. A child who is used to
being at home for the whole day and enjoying so much of uncontained freedom may
have to undergo some distressing emotional upheavals before he or she gets used
to the rigors of a regular school life.

Homeschooling and college

As children grow out of their little pants and are ready to begin their teens,
many parents wonder if they should continue with the homeschooling program.
They fear that colleges may not give equal opportunities to a child educated at
home.

Many fears of this kind were put to rest when 2 homeschooled boys got admission
into Harvard. Harvard does not require a high school diploma for gaining
admission to their degree program. Many colleges are more interested in the
knowledge and behavior of the homeschooled children rather than their high
school diplomas. In fact, other things being similar many colleges prefer
homeschoolers because of the diversity and richness they bring to their college
life.

Admission requirements may vary. While some colleges require the child to
appear for the SAT, others may need a general equivalency diploma. And some may
not care for any tests at all. The criterion may vary depending on the college
that you wish to apply to. But, college courses really do not require any high
school background or special training.

It is common to come across parents who frantically try to shift out their
homeschool children to high schools because they fear unavailability of college
admissions. But college admissions are open to all educated individuals,
regardless of whether they are educated at home or at a public school.

Homeschool teachers

The teacher is the key to the success of homeschooling. In most cases, the
teacher is a parent or a close relative. In some cases, parents may divide the
subjects between them. Rarely, if both parents are busy, they may hire a
homeschool teacher. Whatever the case, children need time with their parents.
Parents, as a rule, make very good teachers.

Teaching does not involve a clinical presentation of facts. Learning has to be
integrated lovingly into daily life for it to interest the child. That is where
parents come in. Grandparents also make great teachers, especially since they
have an abundance of patience.

If you feel anxious about your skill or knowledge, relax. There are countless
homeschooling resources that are aimed at helping you. Professional curriculum
packages, support groups, online help desks, virtual schools and library
resources are all available. When you start out, you may want to make use of
the commercial curriculum packages. Readymade software also allows you to
record and log important achievements.

Local support groups are an excellent source of help, ideas and material. This
is where you get to meet experienced homeschoolers, who will be more than happy
to offer their insight and advice. Once you settle into the homeschooling
routine, you will find yourself tailoring the curriculum to suit your own needs.

Homeschool -- staying connected

The world has become a jungle of knowledge. Wherever you turn, you find a new
fruit that just has to be passed on to your child. In the middle of all the
knowledge flying to and fro, we sometimes forget to talk and relax with our
children. A mom who doubles as a teacher needs to leave the teacher behind and
simply become mom for a few hours everyday.

Listen to your child. Do not just hear the words, but notice the emotion too.
Many children find it difficult to express exactly what they want. Talk to your
child about general stuff and allow him to be 'just a kid'. When you talk to
your child, as for his opinions. Few things please him more. It also adds kilos
to his self-confidence.

Most parents interrupt when their children talk. We, as adults, detest it when
someone cuts across our lines. Kids keep mum because they are forced to be
silent when we shut them up. But this is unhealthy and unfair. Allow your child
to finish and then express your views in a rational manner. The child should
have the confidence to confide in you.

Gentle parenting is the key to successful homeschooling. Be a parent first, and
then a teacher.

Homeschooling the teenager

As children start maturing into adults, parents feel insecure about
homeschooling. Many parents then discontinue the homeschooling process and
happily hand over the reign to outside authorities. But is this really
necessary? Is the strictly compartmentalized education provided in schools a
better option?

If social concerns are worrying you, look for interest-oriented associations,
clubs and societies. These offer a lot of support for leaders, opportunity for
shared experience, and foster a sense of belonging. Make up your own group or
share this responsibility with someone else. Home education support groups
provide fantastic opportunities to meet your child's needs. This is the best
way to develop intelligent, self-motivated, healthy and able young people.

If the growing burden of some of the higher level Math or Science seems to be
beyond you, enlist the help of someone who knows more. You can even barter your
own services and thus save some money. With homeschooling becoming more and more
popular, support groups will have innumerable resources that help you find the
right teacher for your child.

The underlying principle that guides homeschooling is this: any child has the
innate capacity to grow, develop and achieve its full potential. All it needs
is the right environment and all the right answers. Be there to provide these
and think twice before you turn over this responsibility to a third party.

Homeschooling online

If Johnny is fascinated by the blinking cursor and struggles to master the
movements of the mouse, you may want to look into some of the recent
developments in homeschooling techniques. Gone are the days when parents had to
buy material from vendors and then pass it on to their children with
explanations. Today, you get the full course details, material and test papers
online.

Children love to sit with the computer. In addition to making them feel like an
adult, the computer also makes use of the visual and sound medium to make
learning fun and easy. Streaming video and audio show various scientific
processes in great detail. The colorful pictures and the various techniques
used help to effectively bind the data to the child's memory.

Many online resources have a fun testing center that aims to measure the
knowledge and skill level of your child. Complicated math and science problems
are dealt with deftly and elegantly. A visit to an e-library can also be fun,
especially when there is an audio clip that reads out the passage to you.

E-learning has just begun to revolutionize the world of studies. If harnessed
properly, a child can assimilate an astonishing amount of information from that
great resource sitting right there at your table -- your P.C.

Homeschool -- Field trips

If you are going over a particular subject with the family and feel that a
field trip would be beneficial, then that's what you should do -- go for a
trip. If you are attached to a support group, you can plan to include other
children too.

Here are some guidelines that will help you plan: 

1) Collect the rates 
2) Allowed ages 
3) Special highlights 
4) Size of the group 
5) Timings 
6) Eating facilities

Inform your support group of all these details well in advance so that the
necessary circulars may be sent out. On the appointed day, arrange to meet with
other parents and children in a particular place. Plan the mode of travel and
reach the place at least 10 minutes in advance.

The field trip is not just fun. So, let your kids bring their writing material.
Allow them time to stare and admire. Do not hurry them along. Collect data
beforehand so that you can clear doubts. Get help from a guide, if necessary.
And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your children.

Homeschool burnout

When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating his or her child,
homeschool burnout is one of the more common issues they have to deal with.
There are many reasons that lead to this burnout: an illness, a new baby, added
responsibility, change in routine etc.

The symptoms of burnout vary from lack of patience to overeating and crying
without any apparent reasons. Surprisingly, a burnout need not be such a bad
thing. It is a wake-up call -- an indicator that things are not going well and
that you need to reschedule. Reversing or avoiding a burnout is possible if you
get fair warning.

Firstly, lower your expectations. Do not be a perfectionist. Take the good days
with the bad. Next, when something does not seem to work, look for alternative
methods. Flexibility is a key factor. If tension starts mounting, take a break.
When necessary, change the style of teaching. For instance, small children love
to take on their spellings when they quiz an adult.

Avoid overkill. Do not pack too many activities for the sake of socializing
your child. A worn out mom means a grouchy kid and that means no happiness. Get
support from your spouse or a neighbor or a support group. Don't try to achieve
everything by yourself. Homeschooling means 'happy schooling' -- don't forget
that.

Grading in homeschooling

Grading in homeschooling is done by the teacher-in-charge. In most of the
cases, this means mom! In this situation, grading can get a bit tricky because
it can be a little difficult to grade your own child. There is no benchmark
against which you can evaluate your child's performance. In most cases, you
also have no awareness of how well other children are doing. So, obviously the
traditional method of grading is perhaps not the best method to follow.

When grading a child undergoing homeschooling, it is more important to assess
whether the child has understood the subject that is being taught. Inherent in
this is the fact that if the child has not understood something, you will go
over it again. This will work in your child's favor in 2 ways. Firstly, the
child knows that if he or she fails to catch on, the topic will be repeated
till it is mastered. Secondly, the child also knows that once the topic has
been mastered, he or she will get full credit for his hard work. Getting full
reward for the hard work put in is a great motivational factor, especially for
kids.

When assessing your child's abilities, do not allow emotions to overcrowd your
rationale. Do not yield to the cries and tears of your child if he or she
resists certain topics or subjects. If mastering these skills is necessary,
then you as the teacher (and not as the parent alone) have to go over the topic
over and over till it sinks in. When dealing with tougher concepts, the child
may get restless and may even show frustration or belligerence. When the child
is still young and unable to understand the importance of his lessons, it is
your responsibility to see to it that the child develops the skill set
necessary for future growth.

In case you belong to a state that requires yearly tests, this will help you to
judge your child's ability vis--vis his peers. Even if it is not mandatory, you
may want to test your child every year. These tests will reveal the variations
in the child's learning pattern. It may show up unexpected areas of strength
and hitherto unknown areas of weakness. This enables you to structure your
teaching to cover the areas that are weak, and build upon the areas that are
strong.

In case your state requires a homeschool report card, keep a record of the
yearly development and scores of your child. Include pertinent areas like
punctuality, discipline etc in the report. You may also need to keep a record
of the number of working days and attendance schedules.

While grading your child, make sure that you use as many external tests as
possible. There are several websites that deal with the various age groups, and
allow free downloading of question papers. This is an excellent and
cost-effective method to assess your child. Homeschooling, if done in the
proper manner, will boost the child's confidence because he will be studying to
satisfy his natural curiosity. The scores therefore will reflect his true
intelligence.

Financing homeschooling

When people talk about teaching their children from home in the absence of any
definite or structured curriculum, it is perhaps natural to think that
homeschooling is cheap. But this is far from the truth. Although homeschooling
does not stick to any particular text, this is perhaps more of a bane than a
boon, when it comes to finance.

When you need to make sure that your children receives state-of-the-art
education so that they can compete with regular school goers, expenses will
naturally mount. The actual cost of educating a child at home is surprisingly
high. Up-to-date textbooks, course materials, a library, computing equipment,
lighting, specially designed furniture all cost money. In this case, the cost
may be slightly lesser when it comes to homeschooling the second child. Add to
this any additional tuition cost for tutors who come to teach subjects that
cannot be handled by parents, like higher-level math or science. The total cost
can be a bit mind boggling.

If you take another important factor into consideration, homeschooling costs
may effective triple. The need for having one of the parents tied to the house
and fully dedicated to providing education deprives the family of a second
earning member. The average homeschooling teacher is usually a lady with a
college degree. This means that she can easily bring home a pay of $35,000 or
more. It is also interesting to note that most families that have more than 2
children do not opt for homeschooling at all.

But, there are those who have been successful in carrying out homeschooling at
low rates. This is dependent on the size of the family, the support group, the
type of materials used and the availability of the material. When successive
children can reuse the materials, cost goes down. Much of the course material
can be got from vendors of homeschooling materials. A membership in a public
library, theatre, concerts, ballets and other cultural events also help in
cutting costs. Sometimes, it is even possible to barter expertise. For
instance, the mother of an 8-year old gives dancing classes, and her daughter
receives drawing classes for free. Support groups allow you to divide the cost
of field trips, science projects and fairs.

Whatever the cost, advocates of homeschooling say that the benefits far
outweigh these considerations. When you are able to decide what knowledge your
child receives and when he or she should be taught and to what extent, it gives
you a lot of freedom and a lot of power. Both the children as well as the
parents benefit from this mutually enriching experience.

Disadvantages of public schooling

When we consign our children to public schools, we feel satisfied that they are
receiving 'quality education'. But, are we really getting our money's worth?
More importantly, are the children gaining anything from this kind of a
learning procedure?

Socialization is hailed as one of the greatest advantage of schools. This is
the place where the child picks up the rudiments of social skills that help him
survive. But in truth, a regular school-going child can interact only with his
peers. He may bully younger children or fear older ones. He does not know how
to behave with an adult. This is because in the school environment he interacts
only with his peers. A homeschooling environment brings in a more natural social
environment.

A regular school going child cannot read literature. He cannot keep silent or
think in depth about any one thing. The artificial 'busy'ness imposed upon him
by the school disallows quiet contemplation. Rowdy and destructive behavior, as
seen among peers, is more noticeable in school-goers.

There is little long-standing knowledge among regular school goers because most
things are learnt for the exam. There is no correlation of facts with life. The
child may know a lot, but understands very little. This is where the
homeschoolers beat the regular school goers. Ultimately, homeschoolers emerge
more adept at facing the outside world.






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