You will miss out on the unique benefits of homeschooling if you try to re-create a school at your house. Homeschoolers don’t need the structure of a school day. You are not trying to keep kids in line and out of trouble while you work with other kids (unless you have a large family). Homeschooling one on one (or two) takes less time. Let them enjoy the shorter days. Kids learn best through play and exploration.
Do not make them sit down at a desk for long periods of time. They have the freedom to sometimes lay of the floor and read, sometime do math in a bean bag chair, and sometimes recite times table while jumping in and out of the pool. Take advantage of informal atmosphere to do what cannot be done in a classroom.
The best way to learn to homeschool with excellence is to find other parents who do it really well and figure out what they recommend and why. I suggest joining a homeschool support group and taking advantage of seminars, speakers, and ideas they offer. They organize field trips, park days, and special events so that new homeschoolers can get to know like minded parents and kids can make new friends. An internet search can usually help you find a homeschool support group.
Read reviews in the Rainbow Resource catalog, on Amazon, from Cathy Duffy, and from your experienced homeschool friends. Many curriculums, like Biblioplan, provide a free downloadable samples to try for a week.
Many curriculums have used copies floating around and homeschoolers whose kids have outgrown materials sometimes give them away (another benefit to getting to know experienced homeschool families). Also, don’t rely on only free material off the internet. They can fill in gaps and get you started, but you often get what you pay for.
Some people mistakenly think that the public schools will provide materials for you. They do not. If you are receiving materials and on-line services from a public school, you are actually doing virtual school. That is different from homeschooling. If you are virtual schooling, you still may want to follow the above tips. Some off line books and activities may break up the monotony for your child. Help make learning fun no matter where you “school”!
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