Homeschool Start Up

Are you new to homeschooling? Have you been homeschooling for some time? Either way, these easy short “How to’s” will assist you in getting through some of the difficulties of homeschooling.

Homeschool Scheduling

Traditional Scheduling – With traditional scheduling, homeschoolers typically set up a schedule covering all their Basicscourses each day. This is similar to the type of scheduling that we would find in school. Ie. Math 9:00-10:00am, Language Arts 10:-11:00am., etc.

Block Scheduling – This is the type of scheduling that blocks off periods of time for one subject. You could block off the morning for math and the afternoon for Language Arts. OR – a homeschooling family could do a different subject each day.

Combination of Block and Traditional – If you have a particular subject that is important to you, and you feel that it needs to be addressed each day, you could traditionally schedule it, then block schedule after you complete the daily course. Ex. Bible M-F 9:00am, Latin T – Th 10:00-10:30am, Science Mon. 10:00-11:30 am, Math Tues. 10:30-12:00 am, etc.

Relaxed Homeschooling – Relaxed homeschooling may not have a formal schedule at all. These homeschoolers will often use literature based studies and allow their daily schedule to branch off from the literature selections that they read that day. Science and history are also often included within the literature based study.

Immersion Studies – This is a technique that the unschoolers use frequently. A homeschool student will begin a study of a subject and thoroughly immerse themselves in that study. They can go as broad and as deep as their desire to learn allows them.

Record Keeping

There are many different ways to keep records for the homeschool. However, the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS document what you are doing in your homeschool.

Homeschool Umbrella School – Some parents maintain their students records through an umbrella school. These schools typically allow the student to enroll, and for a fee they will keep that child’s permanent records. Some umbrella schools conduct a review of your child’s achievement, yet others are simply record keepers.

Homeschool Record Keeping Software – There are plenty of great options out there for homeschool record keeping computer software. These tools simply let you record your childs grades and print out report card and transcript documents.

Portfolios – Another great option for a chronological record of your child’s achievement is the portfolio. This is an organized collection of the student’s schoolwork over time. Typically, portfolios are kept in three ring binders, and all other entrees to the portfolio are hole punched and added. You can allow the student to select the “special” pieces of work that are to be included. To help facilitate record keeping, you can keep all tests and quizzes in this binder as well.

Totes – Some parents just can’t bring themselves to part with any of their child’s work. If this is the case, consider using a large plastic tote. Then organize your child’s work by subject into folders. This type of record keeping is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of space to store extensive records such as this, but this would allow for the most memories.

Picture portfolio – Picture portfolios are a way to keep alot of the memories from great school projects alive. Instead of storing each and every piece of school work the child does. Parents take a picture of it. The digital picture can then be stored in an electronic portfolio. This allows for alot of work examples, with alot less storage!

Methods of Homeschooling

There are about as many methods of homeschooling as there are homeschoolers. Truly, each family has their own particular method that works for them. However, there are some broad classifications that most families fall into.

Traditional Method – This method would be the most like typical school. The parents usually direct the learning, and the student receives. The setup would be most like a classroom, and the schedule would follow about the same. Text books and workbooks are used. This method becomes quite time consuming for families with many children.

The Unit Study or Relaxed Homeschooling – This method is (as mentioned before) typically based on literature unit studies. The relaxed homeschooler will study through a piece of classic “living” literature and absorb from it, spelling, writing, science, math, and history applications. As the study brings to light one of these applications – further study can be made in that area. Some parents will bring various pieces of subject based literature into play within a unit study on a particular topic. In this way a study on the planets  could actually include books on history, math, and science.

Unschooling – Is a homeschooling method that typically allows children to learn through their natural life experiences. The child is in control of their learning – also known as student directed education.

Charlotte Mason Method – This method uses a three faceted approach: that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. Most of the learning from this method takes place out of “living books” and not dry textbooks. Children are encouraged to learn from nature and spend much time outside. Based on the research of a British educator named Charlotte Mason.

Classic Education – This method of homeschooling is derived from how students were taught centuries ago. With a Latin base, logic, and rhetoric, students are taught in three levels called the Trivium.