Let’s face it—you’ve already been teaching your child since he or she was born. But what if you want to extend that training to homeschooling? First, know that you don’t need teaching certificate to educate your children at home. In fact, studies have shown that homeschooled kids’ academic performance has nothing to do with whether their parents were certified to teach. Also, you need to consider that you will need to be home for at least a few hours a day with free time when your children are awake and alert to teach them. And you must know that you will enjoy spending that time teaching them instead of resenting it.
Five Key Things to Know
- Homeschooling will change your life—in a good way. It creates personal growth for both you and your child. It allows you to help your child explore special talents in an environment that is safe and loving.
- Children inherently love to learn. They learn by following their interests, with one interest leading to another. Homeschooling families learn together and know that learning is a life-long process.
- Homeschooling is legal everywhere in the United States, but laws vary from state to state. Contact a support group in your area to find out what your state laws are. It does not take six to eight hours a day to teach your child. An amazing amount of time children spend at school is waiting, such as in a “study” period, homeroom class or at lunch.
- Your child will not become a social misfit. There are plenty of opportunities for your children to socialize. You can have them join a class, go to camp or meet other children (and even adults) in the neighborhood.
- You don’t have to be a whiz at all subjects. If, for example, you don’t remember your high school algebra, you still have several options for teaching your child. Some children can even “teach themselves” through textbooks with some coaching from you. Community colleges often offer high-school level classes and you most certainly can find a tutor for difficult subjects.
Resources for Homeschooling Parents
First, know that as a homeschooling parent, you are not alone. Each state has several groups devoted to homeschooling and many areas also have local support groups. If you can’t find others to talk to face-to-face, or if you have middle-of-the-night questions, search for online forums and groups—you’ll find a wealth to choose from.
If you are an avid reader, purchase or check out “how-to” books written by experienced homeschoolers. Also, subscribe to a homeschooling magazine such as Practical Homeschooling.
To plan your child’s education, it helps to attend homeschool conventions and curriculum affairs. Visit your local store for teachers to pick up workbooks and other school supplies. Once you have a curriculum in mind for your child and are ready to get started, join the Home School Legal Defense Association, an organization devoted to protecting parents’ rights to homeschool. Then buckle up and get ready for an enjoyable and rewarding ride!
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