When Bob and I began homeschooling in 1990, I never thought we would still be doing it 17 years later. What started out as a temporary solution to a bad schooling situation turned into a way of life. We have enjoyed teaching our own children and the wonderful family times when I would read a book aloud to everyone. We still remember the excitement we shared when Kari and then Scotty learned to read and I will always treasure the moments when I came upon one of our older children teaching their younger siblings. These are just some of the many privileges we have had as we have educated our five children at home.
If I have a word of encouragement for you, or any advice, it would be--you can do it. I believe the most important ingredient you need to make homeschooling work is this; you must have your children's respect. If your children do not mind you, then before you do anything else you must work on developing respect and positive character traits.
My favorite parenting advice book is
The New Dare to Discipline, by James Dobson, Ph.D. Once you get your children to
mind, then the rest is much easier!
There are many ways to homeschool, and no way is right for every family, or even every individual in a family. In order for your homeschool to succeed, and in order for you not to spend a lot of money on curriculum that you will never use, it is best if you, the parent, do your homework first.
I have read many "how to homeschool" books but my absolute favorites are:
Ruth Beechick's 3-R's (Ruth Beechick)
You Can Teach Your Child Successfully (Ruth Beechick)
The Charlotte Mason Companion (Karen Andreola)
A Thomas Jefferson Education (Oliver Van DeMille)
These books are inspiring and filled with common sense suggestions for getting a homeschool started and keeping it going. The authors not only come along side to teach you how to educate your children, but they also encourage and inspire you in you to create a lifelong love of learning in your children's hearts.
I have used many curriculums and techniques over the years; textbooks, workbooks, video courses, and one year I even wrote unit studies when my children were in 9th, 7th, 5th and 1st grades, with a 3 year old on the side. We loved learning together, but the planning was too much. I just couldn't keep it up for another year. I knew the kind of education I wanted my children to have--one with great books that we could discuss, one where we, as a family, could learn together and could delve deeply into issues and problems.
The "Charlotte Mason Companion" and "You Can Homeschool Your Children" had many of the common sense ideas, free of unnecessary busy work and boring textbooks, and spoke to our educational needs. I loved their ideas and goals for having a happy healthy family, living in an educational environment, and interacting with each other in a positive manner. But even though their ideas appealed to me, it still seemed like it was all up to me to figure out how to implement their great plans. I felt inadequate to do the planning necessary to execute this kind of education. Textbooks seemed so much safer and easier. But it wasn't what we wanted.
Then in 1997, after 7 years of homeschooling, I discovered Sonlight Curriculum®! . It had everything I needed and wanted in a curriculum. The children could learn together using great literature. And the best part of all--the lesson plans were complete! All I had to do was open the lesson plan book, pull out the listed books, and begin reading the indicated page numbers. There were comprehension, vocabulary and geography questions... with answers! It had suggested time line entries and lots more; and it was all done for me! We just finished our 10th year of using Sonlight and the more we use it, the more we all love it.
This is a small brochure that I worked on with two other ladies. We combined what we thought were the most important things you need to know to get started in homeschooling. Sonlight published it and they offer it for sale for a reasonable $3.50.
What you need to know about homeschooling before you start. Is
homeschooling right for you? What are the pros and cons?
A great interview with a veteran homeschool Mom (on a CD). Lots of
information for you, or someone you love. (Maybe even for family and/or
friends who don't understand why you homeschool or why you want to
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