Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How to Build a Homeschool Program for Your Child

The Internet can dramatically improve education. Homeschoolers take full advantage of the educational use of the net. In the discussions about the growth of homeschooling, the impact of the Internet is often overlooked.

The general population of course, would be surprised that "those backward homeschoolers" are benefitting to a greater degree than their school-bound counterparts. But arguably, one of the root reasons that homeschooling is growing so fast is the role of the Internet in providing educational resources to homeschoolers, the simplified shopping, and the web-based homeschool communities and support groups.

“Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning's educational teaching games gives students independence as they progress at their own pace.” - Time4Learning

When starting to homeschool, many parents’ first instinct is to go shopping and to buy a year's worth of curriculum. This is one of the most common errors that new homeschooling parents make. When a parent begins homeschooling, they must first understand where their children are academically. We recommend that you start out with two weeks of working with and observing your child across all subjects while you consider your choices in terms of curriculum and programs. You could borrow textbooks from the library or purchase new or used books for this effort. Time4Learning is a simple low cost resource for this exploration period. After a few weeks, you are in a much better position to start making curriculum commitments.
Also, parents should get connected. Find some mentors and friends. Try to find some like-minded homeschooling families and ask them what they do and recommend. Try to find local families with whom you can share ideas and activities on an ongoing basis. Be aware that the homeschool world is a collection of many strong-minded people with a range of views. There will be plenty of people who have widely divergent views from yours. Expect to have to meet ten families to be sure to find two to three that you will consider "like-minded".

Use the net! The Internet provides an amazing ability to find people with similar situations. Are you looking for secular curriculum for children with reading difficulties but gifted in math? Are you looking for interactive curriculum appropriate for a Christian family or for attention deficit children with aspergers?

You can find collections of people with just a few hours searching on the net. On the Time4Learning homeschool forum, there are moms with decades of experience homeschooling, ready to answer questions on all sorts of topics. Discussions include questions like how to set up kid-safe email and how to blend Time4Learning with other curriculum.

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