Homeschooling from scratch in a hurry

Sometimes we enter homeschooling as a journey, a gradual zero depth wading pool. Sampling, testing, experimenting, exploring, researching. Other times people enter their homeschool journey from the high dive. Many parents find themselves there now. Toes on the edge, wondering if they can do it, terrified by the risk, but with a growing line behind them and the clock ticking, it’s jump or ??? Well, the analogy falls flat there. There are other options. Your child will not fail or die or be ruined for life whether you choose to homeschool or not this coming year. Whatever successes or challenges they face this year can be redeemed or neutralized in subsequent years.

I know this, because we have had “those years” before. Like the year my grandfather died. I spent hours many days driving to visit him, bringing him lunch, knowing the trip might be the last of its kind and choosing to ignore the way I “failed” as a homeschool teacher that year. Another year I started a new job that should have been 15 hours a week and turned into 50-60 before settling into 20 after a few months. Homeschooling happened in bits and pieces with the stress pooling in the corners of my eyes and the strain in my verbal instructions many days.

And, somehow they thrived. They knew we loved them. They knew some days were better than others. They learned greater independence and the value of elders and serving others and a million other life skills that I didn’t realize I was teaching as assignments were graded weeks late instead of daily.

They also thrived academically. In the bits and pieces, the “car” schooling (Thank the Lord for audio books) that sometimes become more the norm than the exception, the Saturday studies done of necessity, the shortened Christmas or spring break, they learned more than I ever could have imagined.

Yes, sleep was in short supply, and I wanted to quit (homeschooling, life, my job, parenting, everything!) Hard days and seasons came and went and we all stood stronger because of them.

So, what now? You’ve decided to take the leap, or prepare in case you get shoved off the high dive. First order of business (and the one I honestly get asked the most when people find out I homeschool) — what curriculum do you use?

If we were wading in, this is one of the later questions, but assuming you are hoping to start school in a month, it is kind of pressing. No time to research educational philosophies, or sample a few methods to see what you enjoy, or interview academic experts in your sphere of influence. We need to jump right in. The water’s cold, but you’ll adjust quickly.

This is where the self-interview begins:

  • How much time do I want my child to spend on the computer?
  • Do I have a religious affiliation that I want reflected in the books I choose?
  • How much time do I have to find this curriculum?
  • How much time on a daily basis do I have to help my child with their studies? (this is not asking how capable you feel, that is a whole different issue)
  • How much can I afford?
  • Am I planning on returning my child to a traditional school in the near future or am I trying homeschooling as a potential long-term option?
  • Does my child do well with more desk work, or do they need to move regularly?
  • How much room do I have to store extra materials?
  • Do I have access to a well-equipped library that I know how to use (or am willing to learn)?
  • What technology is available in our home or am I willing to invest in?
  • Are there other like-minded families around me that I can rely on for mutual support?

Once you come up with an idea of the boundaries of what you are looking for, you are more prepared to actually look at curriculum. Set your budget, determine some expectations, and tomorrow we will look at some resources and how to make up your mind.

In future posts, either here or on the Facebook page we will explore more curriculum questions, age specific considerations, working with special needs, setting goals, record keeping, and setting a schedule.

Book sale at the HRC

Homeschool Resource Center OPEN HOUSE & FLEA MARKET (the following taken from the library’s calendar):

When: July 30, 2011 – 10:00 am until 4:00 pm

This free event is the perfect opportunity for current homeschoolers to get re-energized, and for those thinking about homeschooling to ask questions and get real answers.

10:00 am to Noon: Used Curriculum Flea Market

A limited number of tables and half-tables are available by advance reservation only. Those who do not register in advance may bring a blanket and use the lawn to sell.

1:00 to 4:00 pm: Open Forum Panel Discussion and Q&A

Learn about the different homeschooling styles, curriculum choices, legal information, where to find resources, and much more. (Guest speakers to be announced.)

To reserve a free space to sell at the flea market or for further information, please call our Homeschool Parent Advisor at 847-497-4407.

Book sale at the Homeschool Resource Center

To register, please visit:  http://sites.google.com/site/hrcopenhouse/

Johnsburg Library HRC Open House and Used Curriculum Flea Market


July 10th from 10:00 – 4:00

(set-up for the Flea Market begins at 8:30 when the library opens)

10:00 – 12:00 Used Curriculum Flea Market

Sell some stuff, buy some stuff, ask lots of questions!

A limited number of tables and parking spaces are available by advance reservation only.

Those who do not register in advance may bring a blanket and use the lawn to sell.

Each seller is responsible for pricing and selling his/her own materials.


To reserve a space (free!) to sell at the used curriculum flea market please fill out the form below.

Answers to all questions are REQUIRED.

12:00 – 1:00 Eat, Meet and Greet

Bring a lunch or purchase a boxed lunch ($10 each) and join us!

You must reserve boxed lunches in advance (see below).

1:00 Р4:00 Open Forum Panel Discussion Q&A

Ask questions and hear real answers about the different homeschooling styles, curriculum choices, what has worked (and what hasn’t!), legal information, where to find resources, and much more!

This year’s featured panel members are:
Barbara Frank,

author of The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling and LifePrep for Homeschool Teenagers

&

Alison McKee,

author of From Homeschool to College and Work: Turning Your Homeschooled Experiences into College and Job Portfolios and Homeschooling Ourselves, Unschooling our Children.


This event is FREE.

Children are, of course, invited to attend but we do not have room for child care

and any noise must be kept to a minimum in the library.

Homeschool Resource Center at the Johnsburg Public Library
3000 N Johnsburg Rd, Johnsburg, IL 60051
(located on Johnsburg/Wilmot Rd. – 2 blocks north of Chapel Hill Rd.)