January 1, 2013

What Do I Teach Them?

This is a good question especially if you are just getting started. The process can be overwhelming. From everything Ive read there seems to be no definitive answer. Since every child learns at a different rate this is beneficial. However, it is also frustrating when your are trying to make sure they get everything they need. A really good book is Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. Rupp gives you general guidelines of what is taught and more importantly the skills they should have. For example by the end of kindergarten they should be able to recognize and repeat simple patterns and they should be able to throw, catch and kick a ball; by the end of 1st grade they should be able to listen to, repeat and follow two step directions and they should be able to throw and catch a beanbag.

The basic subjects covered are math, language arts, science, social studies/geography/history, art, music and physical education. All areas are important to achieve a well-rounded child. How you go about teaching this is all up to you. Even this can be intimidating since there are several routes you can take. Classical textbook style (just like in the schools), whole curricula programs (lessons plans created for an entire year or years) and thematic or integrated studies (all subjects are geared to one topic). Another consideration is your budget. The classical textbook version usually includes a teachers addition, student book and one to three workbooks plus additional supplies as needed. Books are needed for each subject which is pricey. Curriculum programs run anywhere from $150 to $300 not including additional supplies. Integrated studies will range depending on what you study and if you make the lesson plan or purchase one ($7-$10) plus books and supplies. No matter which route you choose the library will be your greatest asset.

The time you spend may vary from state to state and each state has different avenues to establish yourself as a homeschooler.

To divided your time amongst your subjects will change year to year. The primary grades spend a good chunk of time on language arts (reading, writing, phonics, grammar, spelling). Another good slice to mathematics. Science and Social Studies/History comes next in the line up. Music and Art follow although art is often integrated into daily work. As for P.E. as any parent knows we need to get them out everyday and let them "run out all that energy"! Most health organizations suggest a child have a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise a day. Technology is a newer subject but should not be ignored, that means learning how to use a computer. In all of these subjects there are specific goals or skills you want to achieve. Plan out your learning goals for your child not only for each year but for their entire youth education.

There is a lot more to check out like co-ops and home school support groups. Look for support group in you area at the Homeschool Social Registrar. Yahoo Groups is another great resource.

Here are a few great books to get you started.