What Do I Do First?

This is the second in my Getting Started Homeschooling Series. Check out the rest of the articles in this series:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Why Should I Homeschool?
  3. What Do I Do First?
  4. Homeschooling Laws
  5. The Different Homeschooling Methods
  6. What is Deschooling?
  7. What is Unschooling?
  8. What is the Charlotte Mason Method?
  9. Homeschool Distance Learning
  10. Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
  11. Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
  12. Abeka Homeschool Curriculum
  13. Creating Your Own Curriculum
  14. Homeschool Planning
  15. Homeschool Support
  16. Homeschool Socialization

OK, so now you've decided to home school, and you need help getting started. You're in the right spot for help on getting started homeschooling! Getting started is pretty easy; you have to check the homeschooling laws in your state, choose a homeschooling method, learn some basic terminology, and select the type of curriculum you will use.

Homeschooling Laws

While homeschooling is legal at this time in all states, the actual homeschooling laws vary from state to state. It is very, very, VERY important that you learn and understand the homeschooling laws in your state.

You can find the homeschooling laws in your home state by either visiting the HSLDA website, or by contacting your local school district.

A Note about the HSLDA:

Joining the HSLDA is an excellent idea. The Home School Legal Defense Association has a lawyer on call for its members, for help in any legal issues that may arise for homeschoolers.

Homeschooling Methods

There are many different homeschooling methods. We will be discussing them in depth later in this series, but for now I will list them for you:

  • The Charlotte Mason Method - A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits. (Simply Charlotte Mason)

  • The Classical Education Method - Classical education as understood and taught in the middle ages of western civilization is roughly based on the ancient Greek concept of Paideia. China had a completely different tradition of classical education, based in large part on Confucian and Taoist traditions. (Homeschool Christian)

  • The Eclectic Homeschooling Method - Eclectic homeschooling involves the use of a wide variety of homeschooling resources.

  • The Montessori Homeschooling Method - The Montessori homeschooling method involves implementing all five senses, and observation skills in learning.

  • Unschooling - Unschoolers use real life experiences instead of more traditional curricula.

  • Waldorf Homeschooling Method - The Waldorf Homeschooling Method is based on the premise that everyone passes through 3 stages of development; as such, each of these stages has specific approaches to learning.

  • Traditional Curriculum Method - The traditional curriculum method uses textbooks and assignments that we are all familiar with.

  • Distance Learning - There are online courses to enroll your children in that will fulfill their education requirements.

  • The Unit Study Method - Unit studies are studies centered around a certain theme; they include lessons for all subjects.

  • Homeschooling Terminology

    Getting started homeschooling requires you to learn all you can about it. After all, that's why you're here, right? Do you know what "deschooling" means? How about "unschooling"? I know it may sound confusing, but I promise you it's not.

    I've seen many websites that lump deschooling and unschooling together, but deschooling and unschooling are NOT the same thing. Let me tell you what they mean, so you will understand.

    Deschooling vs Unschooling

    Deschooling refers to the process of phasing out the public school atmosphere. In public school, children are conditioned to respond to the bell; this bell tells them when to go to their locker, when to eat lunch, and when to go home. Basically, deschooling is de-programming the children, so they can be open to learning in their home environment.

    Unschooling refers to the practice of using life experiences to teach children. Unschoolers do not follow a curriculum, do not use text books, or worksheets, or anything most people consider "traditional".

    Choosing Homeschooling Curriculum

    Getting started with homeschooling requires you to select a curriculum. The type of curriculum you choose will depend a lot on what homeschooling method you go with; so be sure you think about which homeschooling method best represents how you want to teach your child(ren).

    There are many curriculums that you can purchase, such as Abeka, Bob Jones, or Sonlight. These full curriculum sets make getting started homeschooling much simpler, as they have text books and full year plans already set out for you.

    If you can't, or don't want to, buy a curriculum, there are other options. You can create your own curriculum or use distance learning.

    In the next entry in "Getting Started with Homeschooling" series, we will be discussing Homeschooling Laws. See you then!

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