When you first start homeschooling, there’s a whole new language to learn, isn’t there? What are all of these homeschool styles you keep hearing about? Hint: it’s not about your wardrobe! And if you Google “homeschool curriculum,” you’re likely to find pages and pages of vendors selling their wares, but how do you know where to spend your money? Part of the problem is that when you start something new, you just don’t know what you don’t know. Ya know? So here are some great articles from veteran homeschoolers to help you find your way on this new adventure!
Let’s start at the very beginning…
That’s a very good place to start! (You’re singing it now, aren’t you?)
One of the first things you need to do when you begin to think about homeschooling is find out what’s legally required in your state. If you live in a state that dictates scope and sequence, you may find that you’re just not cut out to fit an unschooling philosophy into those restrictions (though it can be done!) If your state requires registration under an umbrella school, and perhaps provides funds through that entity for your materials, you may discover that you can support a particular approach that would be too expensive otherwise.
Knowing the legal framework you’re working under shouldn’t eliminate any possibilities for your homeschool philosophy, but knowing it ahead of time will help you see how you will applying a particular style within the confines (or complete freedom) of your state’s laws.
If you’re in North Carolina, check out our series of articles about meeting legal requirements:
Study up on homeschool philosophies
Homeschool philosophies, homeschool styles, homeschool methods… whatever you call them, these are the theories about education that help to shape your family’s journey.
If you’re new to this idea of an alternative to traditional education, then you may never before have had reason to study educational philosophies. Even if you were a classroom teacher, you may be wanting to look at other styles and methods that you would not have had the chance to apply to a larger group of students.
There are some popular styles that you’ll encounter more often as you research homeschooling: Classical, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Unit study approach, and the catch-all Eclectic (that’s me!). Some are better classified as philosophies, some are styles or approaches that apply those philosophies, but if it’s all Greek to you here are some great articles to help you start sorting it all out.
Find the materials that fit (at first)
Once you know a little bit about homeschooling styles, you’re almost ready to begin shopping for curriculum. Almost. It can still be pretty overwhelming.
Choosing curriculum isn’t just about the books that fit your newly-embraced philosophy. It’s also about finding the right fit for your teaching style and your child’s learning style. Sometimes that means a lot of trial and error. And as you get some months and years under your belt, you may evolve to fit something else better. And, of course, there are always new books and materials being released to this growing market of homeschoolers! Don’t ever be afraid to discard something that doesn’t work and try something new if you’re feeling your homeschool just isn’t thriving.
Before you can throw things out though, you have to have something to start with, right? Check out these sites that will help you sift through what’s available to find a good starting place for you and your family!
from Nicki Truesdell
from Homeschool Hopscotch
Do your own thing!
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to take some time… lots of time, even… to read and research some more. Hopefully these links have given you a starting place and helped you to feel a little more familiar with the vocabulary of homeschool styles.
You will find your own groove, eventually! Don’t be afraid to dive in with whatever just feels right, and make adjustments as you gain some experience.
A local NC homeschool mom has some great testing and assessment services available on her website! Check out ATC Educational Services for some learning style assessments and personal consulting and advice to help you get on your way!Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 1)
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