Starting the School Year

Homeschoolers of all types need to formulate plans for the school year whether they are unschoolers or use set curriculms. Having your child be a part of this is important because it teaches them to become responsible for learning throughout their lives. Children young and old can offer valuable input and ideas for subjects to study, activities to participate in and how to keep records as the year progresses. Realizing that my children could and would play a large role in their education was a huge weight off of my shoulders, as a homeschooling parent. If you are new to homeschooling or are a veteran, here are some ideas to get your year off to a good start:

1. Visit or your local state government education website to determine if any changes have been made to guidelines for homeschooling in your state. If  you are required to register as a private school, determine the credentials you need to do so and get the paperwork filled out and submitted. An alternative to this is to find an umbrella school you can register with for a fee. Start early on this and interview the school to make sure they are ready to offer the level of assistance you want without being intrusive.

2. Gather and prepare all of the forms your children will need to keep track of their attendance and subjects studied. If you need help with this see the forms offered in my book, Homeschooling:  Start and Succeed with Lifelong Learning. on the website.

3. Review the suggested curriculum as set by your local school district but by no means feel you are locked into following exactly what they do year by year.  Always be open to the pace and style of learning which is correct for your child and you will succeed in completing the requirements according to your family’s timetable.

4. Sit down with your child and discuss any particular areas of interest they want to learn about in the months ahead. Then begin the exciting process of figuring out how to weave this into the school year. What you will find by doing this is that your child is more excited about learning and that one subject or interest leads to other areas of learning you had not envisioned.

5. Determine your curriculum budget and then research the books, games, field trips, volunteer opportunities and internship options you and your family can use to help you reach your goals. Use your imagination and create your own tools for learning such as flash cards, letter and word tiles and games. Spending a lot of money is not a necessity.

6. Remember as you start the school year to be flexible if a tool or idea is not succeeding as you had envisioned.  This doesn’t mean you have to give up on it but brainstorming with your child can help you make adjustments leading to success and often just taking a break lets you see how to deal with roadblocks you have encountered

7. As a parent or education leader, take time for yourself and develop your own talents and interests. Your excited attitude to grow and learn will be mirrored by your children. If possible meet weekly with a group of your peers or friends who inspire and will encourage you. Recreation is a time to refuel and recreate as the root of the word tells us.

Best wishes for a great year of enjoyment in learning.

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