Monday, March 30, 2009

I've decided to homeschool, now what?

"You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." - Deuteronomy 11:19

I know when we decided to begin our homeschool journey, we were over-whelmed with the large amount of options out there, but we knew it was something we had been called to do.

What kind of curriculum would we use: unit studies, boxed curriculum, online options, free worksheets?

There are many ways to approach this, but the most important thing to do is to take a deep breath, and relax, and know it's going to be ok. If you have decided to homeschool BEFORE your children have been exposed to the school environment, congrats... you are ahead of the game. For all of the rest of us who have struggled with the questions as to whether we were doing the right thing for our children, trust that you can do this, and know it's never too late to start.

The very first thing is to understand that just as this is a new experience for you, this will be a new experience for your child. There will be a period of transition, and they will need that important time to decompress from the stresses of the school environment.

I like to recommend unit studies for those parents who have children who love to read. Unit studies are a great way to ensure your child is covering all or most of the subjects they need, while enjoying a great read. The typical things you can cover with unit studies are: history, geography, writing skills (have them do a book report), spelling, grammar, science, etc. You can do fun projects like mummifying a chicken, putting on a reenactment of a particular time period, learning songs, matching biblical timeline with the historical time period you are reading about (this works well when studying ancient history).

You do not have to set your homeschool up to look like school (you can, and that is ok, but be careful about placing too much pressure on the child in the beginning to conform to what you think they need to know).

After I got over the craziness of buying all of my curriculum that I was so sure would work, I followed the advice of some great homeschooling moms who had been schooling longer than I....take time to get to know your child's learning style, this will save you a lot of time and money!

Understanding how your child learns is so important. If you have a child who learns best through kinesthetic or auditory means, throwing a textbook at them will serve to frustrate you and your child. If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, it may not be a great idea to have him or her start with heavy dictation work.

Unit studies, lapbooks, living books are a terrific way to ease into homeschooling. Check out some great unit study links in the useful homeschool links section. What are lapbooks and living books? Stay tuned....more to come.


  1. Hello Michelle,
    I saw your post on a Yahoo group and have enjoyed looking at your blog. Looks like we share a lot of the same homeschooling approaches. I'll be interested in how you do Apologia; I hope to start that curriculum next year.


  2. Hi Janice, I really love Apologia and it is a very versatile curriculum. It's recommended that you go through it in one year (you can add notebooking if your children are older, or just use narration if they are younger), but you can do it in a faster time frame if desired. There are two yahoo groups that focus on Apologia; one for the Elementary series and one for the higher level series. These sites have schedules, notebook pages and quizzes for free to it's members and I would be happy to post the link if you need it.

    I will be posting pictures of what we did for Zoo 2 within the next few days, stay tuned!
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