Choosing Curricula

If you’re new to homeschooling, finding the perfect learning plan for your child can be a challenge. Most public and private schools use a formal curriculum for each student, and you may mistakenly believe you must follow that same path at home.

Families often begin homeschooling using a complete curriculum package. Many, however, find the structure or workload overwhelming and begin to experiment with different teaching methods. The trick is to find a method that accommodates your child’s learning style. As you become more experienced and gain confidence, you’ll discover effective teaching tools that can help your family achieve educational freedom.

Traditional teaching methods are explored here, as well as a few non-traditional approaches that may surprise you. As a homeschooling parent, you have many curriculum choices. Your children benefit when you are aware of them all.

Social Skills and Homeschooling:Myths and Facts

by Isabel Shaw

The Debate

I’ve heard it a hundred times. If you’re thinking about homeschooling, it probably troubles you. “What about socialization?” is the major homeschooling question people have about a homeschooling lifestyle.

Professional educators, who don’t fully understand the many styles of homeschooling, often raise this issue. They believe school is the only place children learn socialization skills. But it’s just not true!

The socialization myth was born out of a misconception of what it’s like to homeschool. Many educators and critics of homeschooling still believe homeschoolers hit the books at 9 a.m., work all day at their kitchen table till 3:00 p.m. or later, and spend their day isolated and alone. This, of course, is ridiculous!

The homeschoolers I know are out and about every day, enjoying museums, beaches, parks, and shows without the crowds. They travel often. The kids participate in Girl and Boy Scouts, 4-H, and sports. They take art, dance, drama, language, and music classes, to name a few.

Dr. Raymond Moore, author of over 60 books and articles on human development, has done extensive research on homeschooling and socialization. His book, The Hurried Child,

should be in every homeschooler’s library. “The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be ‘socialized,'” Dr. Moore writes, “is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today.”

Children often do not respond well to large groups. They become nervous and overexcited by noise and too many people. Learning becomes difficult. Behavioral problems develop. After analyzing over 8,000 early childhood studies, Dr. Moore concluded that, contrary to popular belief, children are best socialized by parents — not other children.

What kind of socialization occurs when 20 or 30 kids of the same age are placed in a classroom together day after day? Peer pressure is enormous. Kids feel like they need to look and sound and be like everyone else, at the risk of forgetting or never discovering who they really are. This results in rivalry, ridicule, and competition – hardly the environment for healthy socialization.

A homeschooler who interacts with parents and siblings more than with peers displays self-confidence, self-respect, and self-worth. She knows she’s a part of a family unit that needs, wants, and depends on her. The result is an independent thinker who isn’t influenced by peers and is self-directed in her actions and thoughts.

Do tests bear this out? You bet!

The Research
In July 2000, the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think-tank, published an extensive report on homeschooling written by Senior Fellow Dr. Patricia Lines. She describes several controlled studies comparing the social skills of homeschoolers and nonhomeschoolers.

The homeschoolers scored as “well adjusted.” In one study, trained counselors viewed videotapes of mixed groups of homeschooled and schooled children at play. The counselors didn’t know the school status of each child. The results? The homeschooled kids demonstrated fewer behavioral problems. Dr. Lines’ conclusion? “There is no basis to question the social development of homeschooled children.”

Homeschooling parents know kids need blocks of quiet time alone. Time to dream and grow and find out what it is they love to do. This is something few children enjoy today. They are never alone at school, and their after-school lives are packed full of activities, as well.

If you are considering homeschooling and are still concerned about socialization, I suggest the following:

1. Find other homeschoolers in your area and strike up friendships. This can be done via the Internet, your place of worship, a food co-op, or library. Put up notices on safe billboards in your community.

2. Join a group like 4-H. 4-H is a youth development organization. Your child can choose one of their many clubs, based on his or her interests (rocketry, crafts, environment, animals, dance, and many more). All are welcome, and it’s free.

3. When you meet families out with kids during school hours, ask them if they homeschool. I know of many friendships that started that way!

4. Find out about the sports programs available through your local parks and recreation department. Team sports give kids the opportunity to meet peers with common interests.

5. Volunteer your services. Visit local nursing homes, shelters, etc. One young homeschooler regularly visited a nursing home with her mom and gave elderly women manicures. Giving unselfishly to one’s community sets a good example and develops true socialization skills.

Socialization, like learning and life, takes place every day. How you interact with your kids — and how they watch you interact with the outside world — teaches them all the social skills they’ll need to know. Stop worrying about socialization. It’s a “problem” that never existed!

Copyright: Family Education–

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Seven Tips for Homeschool Success

With the right kind of help, any parent that really wants to home school their child can be very successful with this endeavor. To determine what is correct for your child and yourself read through our 7 homeschooling tips for success.

If you think home schooling is the most beneficial choice for your child, never allow disparaging remarks deter you. Just keep going after the ideas and thoughts you find on web sites such as this one until you are confident you are prepared to start. Just take one-step at a time and success will follow.

  1. Homeschooling Tip #1 – Prior to starting your home school program, go over your state’s homeschooling laws and legal requirements. These requirements will be different in each state and you will be able to discover additional information on them from our local education department.
  2. Homeschooling Tip #2 – You, the parent, should have basic educational skills such as adept writing, reading, and math. If you do not have these basic skills, you can learn them through adult education courses until you are up to par and able to follow the curriculum with your child. Almost all the subjects your child must learn will demand a healthy want to learn from you, instead of you requiring full knowledge of them in advance. You might have to commit time and effort tp learning the material before and after your home schooling classes, so you are prepared to effectively teach your child.
  3. Homeschooling Tip #3 – The success of your home schooling endeavor will also depend on the working relationship you and your child have together. Being able to engage the interests of your child and have good communication with your child will make any of your home schooling goals easy to accomplish. If your communication skills or relationship is poor or unhealthy, then a home schooling setting will be very hard. You can solve this problem with counseling from your church or other counseling resources.
  4. Homesch

    If you do not truly believe in the reasons you are home schooling your child, you might become disheartened and doubt your choice halfway through. This can be damaging for your entire family. Just be ready for negative criticism and be prepared to defend your decision.ooling Tip #4
     – Have you done all the necessary research and are you fully committed to home schooling your child? This homeschooling tip is to ensure you know that people will probably make disparaging remarks on how you are ruining your child’s life with home schooling. Just remember that most people incorrectly believe that public school’s are the only way to really educate and will try to convince you of their opinion.

  5. Homeschooling Tip #5 – You need to be very observant of your child, as well as responsive to their feelings and needs. This is very important to your child’s home schooling success. You are the only constant supervision they have in the classroom of the home and they will need you to be aware of whether they are making healthy progress, are in need of extra help, or are struggling and perhaps needing a change.
  6. Homeschooling Tip #6 – Having a good sense of humor along with patience are very crucial qualities needed by any parent, especially ones that are home schooling their child. Flexibility is needed when things go a little astray and you may need to take extra time out for difficult areas. Using creativity is a way to help your child understand the subject that they are having trouble with. You need these qualities during the entire home schooling process. Your home schooling experience will be more enjoyable for you and your child as well if you remain patient in stressful times, laugh during awkward times, and just keep everything interesting, stress free, and fun.
  7. Homeschooling Tip #7 – Organizing effectively is one of the most important parts of home schooling. Having daily lesson plans, schedules, family time, activities, etc. are routine weekly duties. You need to be adept in this to keep a healthy balance and make sure everything stays manageable and productive. You can find free sites online and even local classes that can help you improve your organizational skills if needed.