Absolute Beginner's Guide to Home Schooling

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Home Schooling

by Brad Miser

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Overview

Who knew how simple Homeschooling could be?

Tens of millions of parents like you have decided that the best way to prepare their children for life is by educating them at home instead of at a traditional private or public school. No matter the reason you are considering homeschooling for your children's education, Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling outlines all of the legal, social, educational and logistical considerations that are part of the decision. With helpful and easy-to-read advice about everything from building curricula and setting up a home school classroom, to incorporating extracurricular activities like sports and field trips, this book will provide valuable help and ways to expand your children's homeschooling experience.

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling will help you decide if homeschooling is the best choice for your children's education and then guide you to the curriculum tools and community resources you need to make the most of at-home classes and activities. Here's a small sample of what you'll find inside:

  • Tthe benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling
  • The legal and educational requirements for the state you live in
  • Valuable lists of resources like homeschooling organizations, curriculum providers, and networking groups
  • Different ways you can test your child's true educational level, personality type and learning style
  • Sample plans to set up your homeschooling classroom including workstations, a library, audio-visual equipment, computer access and progress testing
  • Examples of field trips, sports, music, work or volunteer activities, online courses and tutor or mentor programs
  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780789732774
    Publisher: Que
    Publication date: 10/12/2004
    Series: Absolute Beginner's Guide Series
    Pages: 312
    Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

    About the Author

    Brad Miser has written many books, most of which teach people how to use computers and other technology. The books Brad has written include: Absolute Beginner's Guide to the iPod and iTunes; Special Edition Using Mac OS X, v10.3 Panther; Mac OS X and iLife: Using iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD; iDVD 3 Fast & Easy; Special Edition Using Mac OS X v10.2, Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle; Special Edition Using Mac OS X; The iMac Way; The Complete Idiot's Guide to iMovie 2; The Complete Idiot's Guide to the iMac; and Using Mac OS 8.5. He has also been an author, development editor, or technical editor on more than 50 other titles. He has been a featured speaker on various topics at Macworld Expo, at user group meetings, and in other venues.

    Brad has been involved in homeschooling for more than 10 years. He and his wife homeschool their three children, whose ages range from 9 to 15. Brad has been active in helping with curriculum decisions, testing and evaluating progress, teaching, and other activities. He has also attended homeschool conventions and regularly interacts with many other homeschool families.

    Brad is the senior technical communicator for an Indianapolis-based software development company. Brad is responsible for all product documentation, training materials, online help, and other communication materials. He also manages the customer support operations for the company and provides training and account management services to its customers. Previously, he was the lead engineering proposal specialist for an aircraft engine manufacturer, a development editor for a computer book publisher, and a civilian aviation test officer/engineer for the U.S. Army. Brad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo (1986) and has received advanced education in maintainability engineering, business, and other topics.

    Once a native of California, Brad now lives in Brownsburg, Indiana, with his wife Amy; their three daughters, Jill, Emily, and Grace; and their guinea pig, Buddy.

    Brad would love to hear about your experiences with this book (the good, the bad, and the ugly). You can write to him at bradmacosx@mac.com.

    Read an Excerpt

    Introduction: Absolute Beginner's Guide to HomeschoolingAbsolute Beginner's Guide to HomeschoolingIntroduction

    If you have heard of homeschooling, but aren't sure if it is something you want to pursue...

    If you have been thinking about the possibility of homeschooling your children, but haven't yet decided that it is right for your family...

    If you've decided that you want to homeschool your children, but you aren't sure where to start...

    If you've just started or have been homeschooling your children for a little while, and would like some help...

    ...You've come to the right place.About Homeschooling

    In some ways, the idea of parents being totally responsible for their children's education—which is the underlying theme of homeschooling—is a new and radical concept. For the past 100 years or so, the emphasis for most education has been through an institution in some form, mostly public schools with a relatively small percentage of families opting for a private school. So, it is only natural when thinking about educating children to focus on the specific schools to which you can or will send your kids. However, over the past couple of decades, many people have observed the continuing decline in both the results achieved by the traditional institutional education system and the moral and cultural climates that kids experience while they are part of that system.

    The decline in results being achieved by institutional schools is as undeniable as declining standardized test scores, increasing functional illiteracy rates, alarming comparisons of math and science knowledge in the United Statescompared to other countries (such as Japan), and in other quantitative results. As the educational system moves further from the fundamentals of good education toward more cultural and sociological experimentation and various non-educational agendas, the academic capabilities of the system continue to degrade.

    Along with their increasing academic ineffectiveness, the environments in many institutional schools impact the moral and social development of children negatively. And some schools are downright dangerous places to be.

    For these "negative" reasons and even more positive ones, homeschooling continues to increase in popularity as an alternative to institutional, traditional education. Homeschooling offers many benefits for children and their families (which you will learn about in detail in Chapter 1, "What Is Homeschooling All About?"). Over time, homeschooling has proven to be more effective than institutional schools in academic performance. For example, homeschoolers score significantly above national averages on standardized tests. And, many colleges not only recognize the education of homeschoolers as being academically valid, but are starting to actually consider homeschooling to be an advantage. Homeschooling families benefit from greater closeness in their relationships and more flexibility in their schedules. Contrary to the stereotype, homeschooled children are actually better equipped socially than their institutionally educated counterparts.

    Today, these benefits inspire many parents to again take responsibility for the education and development of their children—which really isn't such a new idea after all. Prior to the public education boom, most children's educations were directly controlled by their parents. Children were tutored, taught directly by their parents, or attended very small, independent schools. All these activities were directly or closely supervised by parents, which is what homeschooling is all about.

    If you've decided that you want to be part of the amazing homeschool experience, this book will be a big help in getting started. If you have just been thinking about homeschooling your kids, you can use the content in this book to help you understand what is required to homeschool effectively; hopefully, this will encourage you to give homeschooling a try. It is my hope that the information in this book will also be helpful to you even after you have been homeschooling for several years.About the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling

    The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling provides all the information you need to get started with your own homeschool. From making a decision to homeschool to understanding what you need to do and when you need to do it, this book equips you with the knowledge and understanding you need to educate your children at home effectively and to enjoy doing it.

    The book is organized into four major parts:

    • Part I: Making the Decision to Homeschool. This part sets the stage for the rest of the book and includes chapters that explain why homeschooling is a large and growing trend, help you understand what is required of you to homeschool your kids, show you how to figure out any legal requirements relating to homeschool in your state, and defend your decision to homeschool when you need to do so.

    • Part II: Preparing to Homeschool. In this part, you'll find practical chapters that help you get ready to teach. Topics include how to connect with other homeschool families, what to do to prepare to teach your children, planning the subjects you'll teach and getting the materials you'll use, and creating a homeschool classroom. You'll also learn about the importance of lesson plans and how you can create them. If you have a child who is already in a traditional school, Chapter 10, "Transitioning a Child from Public or Private School to Homeschool," will give you some pointers to help that child make the transition to homeschool.

    • Part III: Managing a Homeschool. Part III focuses on topics that will help you run your homeschool effectively. It starts off with chapters on conducting homeschool classes and documenting the results. You'll also find chapters on how you can include field trips, music, sports, other activities, and home projects in your homeschool. From there, you'll learn how, why, and when to use tutors and outside classes. The part ends with chapters on evaluating how your homeschool is working and when, if ever, to transition your children back to a traditional school.

    • Part IV: Homeschool Resources. Part IV consists of appendices that contain some resources you will find useful. Appendix A lists contact information for homeschool associations and conventions in every state. Appendix B provides information about a few publishers and retailers who can supply you with teaching materials.

    As you read through this book, you will see three special elements: Notes, Tips, and, only rarely, Cautions. Also, each chapter ends with a section titled "The Absolute Minimum." Explanations of each of these special elements are provided for you here.

    ***

    Caution - If there is something you need to be careful or need to be on the lookout for, I will warn you in a Caution. Fortunately, you won't find many of these throughout the book, but when you do see one, you might want to take a closer look at it.

    ***
    ***

    Note - Notes look like this. They are designed to provide you with information that is related to the topic at hand but not absolutely essential to it. I hope you will find the Notes interesting, even if you don't find them useful immediately.

    ***
    ***

    Tip - Tips help you get something done more quickly and easily, or they tell you how to do a task that is related to what is being described at the moment. You might also find an explanation of an alternate way to get something done.

    ***
    The Absolute Minimum

    Finally, each chapter ends with "The Absolute Minimum" section. The contents of this section vary a bit from chapter to chapter. Examples of this content include the following:

    • A summary of key points of the chapter

    • Additional tips related to the chapter's topic

    • References to sources of additional information

    So, now that you know all you need to about this book, it's time to go to school, homeschool that is....

    © Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction.

    About Homeschooling.

    About the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling.

    I. MAKING THE DECISION TO HOMESCHOOL.

    1. What Is Homeschooling All About?

    What Is Homeschool?

    Why Do People Homeschool?

    Great Things About Homeschooling.

    Not So Great Things About Public (or Private) School.

    Homeschooling Isn’t New: A Brief History of Education.

    How Many Homeschoolers Are There?

    2. Deciding to Homeschool—or Not.

    Making the Choice: Is Homeschool Right for Your Family?

    What Is Needed from You to Homeschool Successfully?

    What Is Needed from Your Spouse to Homeschool Successfully?

    What Is Needed from Your Kids to Homeschool Successfully?

    What Is Needed from Your Family to Homeschool Successfully?

    Making a Decision to Homeschool.

    You’ve Decided to Homeschool, Now What?

    3. Determining the Legal Requirements for Homeschool in Your Area.

    What Has Your State Government or Local School System Got to Do with Homeschool?

    Determining the Legal Requirements in Your State.

    Types of State Regulations Related to Homeschool.

    How to Determine Your State’s Regulations.

    Indiana: An Example of a State with Least Regulation.

    California: An Example of a State with Minimal Regulation.

    Iowa: An Example of a State with Moderate Regulation.

    New York: An Example of a State with Significant Regulation.

    Determining the Legal Requirements for Your School System or Local Government.

    Determining the Legal Requirements for Your

    School System or Local Government.

    Managing Your Relationship with Local School Officials (if Necessary).

    Notifying the State About Your Homeschool.

    Documenting Legal Requirements for Your Homeschool.

    Monitoring Legal Activity Regarding Homeschooling.

    4. Defending Your Decision to Homeschool.

    Responding to Other People’s Concerns About Your Decision to Homeschool.

    Socialization.

    Effectiveness of Education/Qualifications to Teach.

    College.

    Sports and Activities.

    Legal Concerns.

    Public Schools.

    Defending Against Formal Attacks to Your Homeschool.

    II. PREPARING TO HOMESCHOOL.

    5. Locating and Networking with Other Homeschoolers.

    Understanding Why a Homeschool Network Is So Important.

    Connecting with Other Homeschoolers (You Probably Know Some

    Already).

    Finding Homeschooling Mentors.

    Understanding and Finding Local Homeschool Groups.

    What Are Homeschool Groups?

    What Kind of Homeschool Groups Do I Want to Participate In?

    Finding a Homeschool Group.

    Getting Involved with Homeschool Associations.

    Finding a Homeschool Association.

    Participating in a Homeschool Association.

    Participating in Homeschool Conventions, Conferences, and Seminars.

    6. Preparing to Teach Your Children.

    Preparing for School.

    Assessing Your Students.

    Determining Each Child’s Current Education Level.

    Determining Each Child’s Learning Style.

    Understanding the Basic Types of Personality That Impact Learning Styles.

    Putting the Preferences Together.

    Assessing a Child’s Personality Preferences.

    Teaching Based on Personality Preferences.

    7. Planning Subjects and Obtaining Teaching Materials for a School Year.

    Choosing the Subjects You Will Teach in a School Year.

    Building the Curricula You Will Use.

    What Is a Curriculum and Why Is It Important?

    Identifying Academic Elements of a Curriculum.

    Identifying Experiential Elements of a Curriculum.

    Identifying Needs for a Tutor or Outside Classes for a Curriculum.

    Understanding the Relationship Between Learning Styles and Curricula Choices.

    Using Unit Studies.

    Developing a Curriculum.

    Understanding and Obtaining the Teaching Materials Available to Your Homeschool.

    Determining the Teaching Materials You Need.

    Researching Available Materials.

    Choosing and Obtaining Teaching Materials.

    Learning About Your Teaching Materials.

    Organizing and Preparing Teaching Materials for Your Homeschool.

    8. Preparing a Classroom in Your Home.

    Developing a Home Classroom.

    Choosing a Location.

    Creating a Layout.

    Creating Workstations.

    Creating Learning Stations.

    Creating a Teaching Station.

    Building a Homeschool Library.

    Adding a Computer and the Internet to Your Classroom.

    Choosing a Computer.

    Connecting Your Classroom to the Internet.

    Stocking Your Computer with Software.

    Adding Audio-Visual Equipment to Your Classroom.

    Creating Storage and Archive Areas.

    Creating and Maintaining “Active Storage”.

    Creating and Maintaining “Archival” Storage.

    9. Creating Lesson Plans and Schedules.

    What Are Lesson Plans and Why Are They Important?

    Defining Your School Year.

    Planning Your School Year.

    Creating and Maintaining a Homeschool Calendar and Schedule.

    Creating Lesson Plans.

    Creating a Lesson Plan: A Simple Example.

    Creating a Lesson Plan: A More Complex Example.

    Putting Together All the Lesson Plans for a Student.

    Updating Lesson Plans.

    10. Transitioning a Child from Public or Private School to Homeschool.

    Understanding the Reasons for Transitioning from “Regular” School to Homeschool.

    Withdrawing a Child from Public School.

    Withdrawing a Child from Private School.

    Helping a Student Make the Change from Public or Private School to Homeschool.

    Dealing with Social Anxiety.

    Dealing with Increased Flexibility or Lack of Structure (Depending on One’s Point of View).

    Dealing with the Need for Separation from You.

    Dealing with the Need for Separation from Siblings.

    Helping a Child Keep in Touch with School Friends.

    III. MANAGING A HOMESCHOOL155

    11. Conducting Homeschool Classes Effectively.

    Running a Homeschool.

    Developing Weekly and Daily Schedules.

    Teaching Your Students.

    Understanding the Basic Teaching Options.

    Adjusting Your Teaching Style to a Child’s Age and Learning Style.

    Teaching Multiple Students at the Same Time.

    Having Students Teach Other Students.

    Updating Future Schedules Based on Current Results.

    12. Documenting Your Homeschool.

    Understanding Why Documenting Your Homeschool Activities Is So Important.

    Keeping Homeschool Records.

    Keeping Daily Records.

    Keeping Weekly Records.

    Keeping Test Documentation.

    Keeping Other Documentation.

    Organizing and Archiving Your Homeschool Documentation.

    Keeping Your Active Documentation Current and Organized.

    Archiving Your Homeschool Documentation.

    Documenting Homeschool Accomplishments with Portfolios.

    13. Planning and Taking Field Trips.

    Adding Field Trips to Your Homeschool.

    Identifying Potential Field Trips.

    Participating in Field Trips Other People Plan.

    Planning for a Field Trip 194

    Identifying a Field Trip.

    Planning a Field Trip.

    Coordinating a Field Trip with Other Homeschoolers.

    Conducting a Field Trip.

    Documenting a Field Trip.

    Including Vacations in Your Homeschool.

    14. Incorporating Music Lessons, Sports, Service Work, and Other Experiences into Your Homeschool.

    Music and Your Homeschool.

    Appreciating Music.

    Attending Concerts and Other

    Music Performances.

    Learning to Read Music and Play a Musical Instrument.

    Exercise, Sports, and Your Homeschool.

    Making Exercise Part of Your School Days.

    Finding Sports Activities for Your Students.

    Incorporating Sports into Your Homeschool.

    Service/Volunteer Work and Your Homeschool.

    Finding Service/Volunteer Opportunities.

    Incorporating Service/Volunteer Work into Your Homeschool.

    Other Activities to Include in Your Homeschool.

    Using Jobs or Home Businesses in Your Homeschool.

    Adding Hobbies and Other Interests to Your Homeschool.

    15. Incorporating Home Projects into Your Homeschool.

    Identifying a Home Project.

    Integrating a Home Project into Lesson Plans (or Lesson Plans into a Home Project).

    Working on a Home Project During School (or Doing School While Working on a Home Project).

    Documenting a Home Project for Homeschool Purposes.

    16. Homeschooling with Tutors, Outside Classes, and Online Courses.

    Understanding Why Tutors, Outside Classes, and Online Classes Are Beneficial.

    Using Tutors in Your Homeschool.

    Finding Tutors.

    Working with Tutors.

    Adding Outside Classes to Your Homeschool.

    Finding Outside Classes.

    Working with Outside Classes.

    Adding Online Classes to Your Homeschool.

    Finding Online Courses.

    Working with Online Courses.

    Integrating Tutors, Outside, and Online Classes into Your Homeschool.

    Documenting the Results of Tutoring and Outside Classes.

    17. Evaluating the Progress of Your Students.

    Understanding the Evaluation Methods You Can Use.

    Testing Your Students Using Curriculum-Based Tests.

    Testing Your Students Using Reports and Other Projects.

    Testing Your Students Using Standardized Tests.

    Choosing and Obtaining Standardized Tests.

    Administering Standardized Tests.

    Obtaining and Using the Results of Standardized Tests.

    Giving Your Students Grades.

    Promoting Your Students to the Next Grade Level.

    Making Changes Based on Your Evaluations.

    18. Deciding If and When to Transition Students to Public or Private School.

    Knowing If and When to Move a Student Back to “Regular” School.

    Preparing a Homeschooled Student to Move to Public or Private School.

    Managing the Education of a Child Who Has Been Homeschooled in Public or Private School.

    Preparing a Homeschooled Student for College.

    IV. HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES.

    A: Homeschool Associations and Conventions by State.

    B: Homeschool Curriculum and Teaching Material Publishers and Retailers.

    Sources of Materials for Your Homeschool.

    The Elijah Company.

    Apologia Educational Ministries.

    Christian Book Distributors.

    Alpha Omega Publications.

    Dover Publications.

    God’s World Book Club.

    Amazon.com.

    Barnes & Noble.com.

    Heart of Wisdom Publishing.

    Homeschool Supercenter.

    Oak Meadow.

    Preface

    Introduction: Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling

    Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling

    Introduction

    If you have heard of homeschooling, but aren't sure if it is something you want to pursue...

    If you have been thinking about the possibility of homeschooling your children, but haven't yet decided that it is right for your family...

    If you've decided that you want to homeschool your children, but you aren't sure where to start...

    If you've just started or have been homeschooling your children for a little while, and would like some help...

    ...You've come to the right place.

    About Homeschooling

    In some ways, the idea of parents being totally responsible for their children's education—which is the underlying theme of homeschooling—is a new and radical concept. For the past 100 years or so, the emphasis for most education has been through an institution in some form, mostly public schools with a relatively small percentage of families opting for a private school. So, it is only natural when thinking about educating children to focus on the specific schools to which you can or will send your kids. However, over the past couple of decades, many people have observed the continuing decline in both the results achieved by the traditional institutional education system and the moral and cultural climates that kids experience while they are part of that system.

    The decline in results being achieved by institutional schools is as undeniable as declining standardized test scores, increasing functional illiteracy rates, alarming comparisons of math and science knowledge in the United States compared to other countries (such as Japan), and in other quantitative results. As the educational system moves further from the fundamentals of good education toward more cultural and sociological experimentation and various non-educational agendas, the academic capabilities of the system continue to degrade.

    Along with their increasing academic ineffectiveness, the environments in many institutional schools impact the moral and social development of children negatively. And some schools are downright dangerous places to be.

    For these "negative" reasons and even more positive ones, homeschooling continues to increase in popularity as an alternative to institutional, traditional education. Homeschooling offers many benefits for children and their families (which you will learn about in detail in Chapter 1, "What Is Homeschooling All About?"). Over time, homeschooling has proven to be more effective than institutional schools in academic performance. For example, homeschoolers score significantly above national averages on standardized tests. And, many colleges not only recognize the education of homeschoolers as being academically valid, but are starting to actually consider homeschooling to be an advantage. Homeschooling families benefit from greater closeness in their relationships and more flexibility in their schedules. Contrary to the stereotype, homeschooled children are actually better equipped socially than their institutionally educated counterparts.

    Today, these benefits inspire many parents to again take responsibility for the education and development of their children—which really isn't such a new idea after all. Prior to the public education boom, most children's educations were directly controlled by their parents. Children were tutored, taught directly by their parents, or attended very small, independent schools. All these activities were directly or closely supervised by parents, which is what homeschooling is all about.

    If you've decided that you want to be part of the amazing homeschool experience, this book will be a big help in getting started. If you have just been thinking about homeschooling your kids, you can use the content in this book to help you understand what is required to homeschool effectively; hopefully, this will encourage you to give homeschooling a try. It is my hope that the information in this book will also be helpful to you even after you have been homeschooling for several years.

    About the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling

    The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling provides all the information you need to get started with your own homeschool. From making a decision to homeschool to understanding what you need to do and when you need to do it, this book equips you with the knowledge and understanding you need to educate your children at home effectively and to enjoy doing it.

    The book is organized into four major parts:

    • Part I: Making the Decision to Homeschool. This part sets the stage for the rest of the book and includes chapters that explain why homeschooling is a large and growing trend, help you understand what is required of you to homeschool your kids, show you how to figure out any legal requirements relating to homeschool in your state, and defend your decision to homeschool when you need to do so.

    • Part II: Preparing to Homeschool. In this part, you'll find practical chapters that help you get ready to teach. Topics include how to connect with other homeschool families, what to do to prepare to teach your children, planning the subjects you'll teach and getting the materials you'll use, and creating a homeschool classroom. You'll also learn about the importance of lesson plans and how you can create them. If you have a child who is already in a traditional school, Chapter 10, "Transitioning a Child from Public or Private School to Homeschool," will give you some pointers to help that child make the transition to homeschool.

    • Part III: Managing a Homeschool. Part III focuses on topics that will help you run your homeschool effectively. It starts off with chapters on conducting homeschool classes and documenting the results. You'll also find chapters on how you can include field trips, music, sports, other activities, and home projects in your homeschool. From there, you'll learn how, why, and when to use tutors and outside classes. The part ends with chapters on evaluating how your homeschool is working and when, if ever, to transition your children back to a traditional school.

    • Part IV: Homeschool Resources. Part IV consists of appendices that contain some resources you will find useful. Appendix A lists contact information for homeschool associations and conventions in every state. Appendix B provides information about a few publishers and retailers who can supply you with teaching materials.

    As you read through this book, you will see three special elements: Notes, Tips, and, only rarely, Cautions. Also, each chapter ends with a section titled "The Absolute Minimum." Explanations of each of these special elements are provided for you here.


    Caution - If there is something you need to be careful or need to be on the lookout for, I will warn you in a Caution. Fortunately, you won't find many of these throughout the book, but when you do see one, you might want to take a closer look at it.



    Note - Notes look like this. They are designed to provide you with information that is related to the topic at hand but not absolutely essential to it. I hope you will find the Notes interesting, even if you don't find them useful immediately.



    Tip - Tips help you get something done more quickly and easily, or they tell you how to do a task that is related to what is being described at the moment. You might also find an explanation of an alternate way to get something done.


    The Absolute Minimum

    Finally, each chapter ends with "The Absolute Minimum" section. The contents of this section vary a bit from chapter to chapter. Examples of this content include the following:

    • A summary of key points of the chapter

    • Additional tips related to the chapter's topic

    • References to sources of additional information

    So, now that you know all you need to about this book, it's time to go to school, homeschool that is....

    © Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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