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Homeschooling: Where do I start? and Can I really do this?

25 Mar

(Note this was taken from my response to a question on one of my homeschooling groups).

It’s likely that unless we have friends/acquaintances/family members who
homeschool, we all start out pretty clueless. That was certainly the case
for me. I had never been around anyone who homeschooled. My husband came
home one day and announced that our kids would be taught at home and I was
speechless. I thought, I am not qualified. Panicked (more like mortified) I
just kind of dove in. We did not have a computer/internet at the time so the
library was my main resource at that time, that and the little internet time
I had at the library.

Make no mistake, it is a challenge and you most likely will feel at times
like “why am I doing this?” But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Like you said, you may want to cut down on some of those commitments if you
are able to. Organization is going to be key. I feel like now, for the first
time in 10  years, I am actually getting organized (in terms of the
household) and its making a big difference on my homeschooling.

Will you scream and shout at them? Maybe. (unfortunately I do all the time).
But its something you have to work at.  I think I would scream and shout at
them even if I wasn’t homeschooling.

Will you cause damage to their spirits? We all make mistakes, even non
homeschoolers can cause damage to their children’s spirits in being  harsh
with them. But at the same time, spending this quality time with them is
invaluable. Its not the same as when you simply help your children with
their homework from school.  It’s many a wondrous moment when you teach your
child to read or he understands some concept that you have explained and you
feel like you have really benefited your child instead of sending him/her to
be educated by someone else. You feel like you are really making steps
toward fulfilling the responsibility that Allah has given you. Also
invaluable. You are providing your child with one on one time and that is
something that is very precious. I look back on the time I spent with my
children when I was working and it definitely was more limited and not the
same.

Many people look into curricula right away. But ideally, you should probably
spend time getting to learn the different approaches to homeschooling
(though not mandatory). But this should be mandatory: observe your
children’s learning style(s). Each child’s most efficient learning style
will probably be different and no one curriculum will probably fit all your
kids though you wish it would for the sake of money. Observe how your child
learns best. Is he/she more hands on or does he/she do better with
textbooks? There are all types of curricula out there and many are geared
towards different learning styles. Don’t rush out to buy a curriculum.  You
may invest a lot of money into something that you will not use.

Also, don’t be in a rush to start up with the textbooks/curricula.  Ease
into homeschooling. My advice is to get your household in order first (make
routines, get the chores scheduled) first. Get the house running
efficiently. While  you are doing this, you and your children can read books
and play games from which they can still learn. Remember that learning can
take time anywhere, anyplace with your children.  On days where we do next
to nil, I try to take advantage of all the times throughout the day when I
can be teaching them something informally. Spend extra time explaining how
to clean something, explain why we do something, etc.  As you are getting
your life in order, you can research curricula, course of study, etc.

World Book has a course of study:
http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?curriculum
which outlines what children typically learn at certain grades. You might
start here, look at the list and then look for books that match these
topics. Sit down and read daily with your kids and they are still learning.
Again, all the while you deciding on your curricula. During reading or
games, observe how your child is learning. Does he do better with visuals or
when you orally explain things? Also, read Quraan, tafsir, ahadith, etc to
teach your child about the deen.

Also, look at your philosophy of learning. Take this into account when
deciding on a curricula. If you need step by step instructions, you will
most likely not be happy with a more freer curriculum and vice versa, if you
are more of a free spirit, a highly structured curriculum is probably not
the answer. This page has some questions to ask of yourself and your child
to see what approach might suit you both:
http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/HomeschoolingApproach.html

I agree with what the sister said, concentrate on reading  to kids and
language skills first. And focus on teaching reading because once a child
learns to read, they are on the road to being able to learn about things on
their own.

You might also start off with one class at a time. Figure out your plan for
that one class. Start teaching. When that is under control, you are in a
rhythm and being CONSISTENT, then add another class. Sometimes we get burnt
out because we try to do “school at home” when we have all these other
commitments and then we get stressed out and feel like failures. You can
have some traits of school, but try to be more relaxed.  You do not have to
do 6 or so classes a day, ever. You can stagger classes, two classes this
day, three this day. Studies show that homeschool students who receive just
two hours or so of school each day can fare better than their public school
counterparts who are in classes for 6 hours or more a day.  That one on one
attention that your kids are getting as opposed to 20 or more kids in one
class, is so much more efficient.

So take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can do it. It probably
won’t always be a walk in the park, but generally, nothing good ever is.
And of course, make duaa to Allah that He guides you and makes your
homeschooling journey easy and a happy time for you and your children.

Here are some great places to start looking into homeschooling.

Welcome to Homeschooling Guide from Time4Learning (PDF)
Discusses reasons for homeschooling, understanding your child academically,
learning the laws, getting support, planning, and homeschooling lingo.
http://www.time4learning.com/homeschool/WelcomeToHomeschooling.pdf

Here are some great sites that many of us have used to learn the ins and
outs of homeschooling when we were starting out (and still today)

* Homescool A to Z
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/directory/Beginning.htm

* The Homeschool Mom
http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/

* Homeschool.com
www.homeschool.com

* Donna Young.org
www.donnayoung.org

* Homeschooling.about.com
http://homeschooling.about.com/

* Home School World
http://www.home-school.com/

* Besthomeschooling.org
http://besthomeschooling.org/

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3 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2008 in Homeschool Management

 

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3 responses to “Homeschooling: Where do I start? and Can I really do this?

  1. Umm Sundiata

    March 27, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    As Salaam Alaikum,
    I just wanted to tell you that your websites and blogs have really helped me in educating my children. I am so inspired by your ability to maintain so many things online and take care of your family at the same time. The information you provide has really empowered me to stay focused. Thank you sooo much for all that you do.

    As Salaam Alaikum,
    Umm Sundiata

     
  2. ummu seif

    March 31, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Assalamualaikum sister,

    Thanks to you. I really like your approach and how you think. Your experience and research really help me alots.

    Jazakaallah huhairan.

     
  3. Sister Seeking

    April 8, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Salaam Alaikum Sister,

    I just wanted to compliment you on how organized, thorough, and detailed oriented you are.

    A friend of mine sent me one of your Ramadan publications, and I found it to be very useful.

    May Allah bless you, and I wish you all the best.

    Sister Seeking

     
 
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