Tuesday, May 4, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #5

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#5 DO can the canned curriculum. You'll be wasting hundreds of your hard earned dollars on those prepackaged school programs when you can just as easily create your own homeschooling program using items you can find at your local department store, art store or business supply store. You can also find good used and inexpensive books, CD's, videos, educational toys and materials at thrift shops, tag sales, online and at flea markets. Many times these cheaper materials are in mint or near mint condition. Most canned curricula are geared toward the masses. By building your own curriculum you can create a custom fit for the individual child. We simply set a few goals for our two children. Those goals were reading (either to the child or by the child); each child was required to learn about our constitution and constitutional law; each child was required to own and operate their own business by the age of 16. That was pretty much it for goals. Everything else fell into place as each child grew.

#5 DON'T be concerned whether or not you're homeschooling properly. Regardless of my opinion, experience and advice or the opinions, experience and advice of others, there really is no right or wrong way to homeschool. Homeschooling is all about freedom...the freedom to experiment and make adjustments as you go. The freedom to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and then correct those mistakes. Homeschooling is also a discovery process. We discovered our children were the best teachers. By following their lead we were able to plan better and adjust faster for a more harmonious homeschool experience. We provided lots of opportunities for our children to learn from and kept a ready supply of resources on hand. We took our children everywhere we went and let them participate in life as it unfolded. Like most homeschooling newbies we made the mistake of trying to school at home. We eventually evolved into unschoolers after years of experimenting, trying new ideas and discarding what didn't work. We discovered homeschooling was the easy part. Most of our difficulties were the result of school officials harassing us, family members doubting us and a schooled public that couldn't comprehend what we were doing.

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