I don’t know why you’re thinking about homeschooling, or if you’ve already made the choice, but there are several important things you need to know. There are actually two sides to it – the “how to” (learning style/choosing curriculum and scope/sequence), and the “what to” (as in what you legally can and need to do). I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned in the eight years we’ve been homeschooling.
We didn’t start homeschooling until our 3rd son started middle school. I knew a little but not much. My sister had homeschooled for a number of years, and, at the time, we lived in the same town as HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association), so there were a lot of homeschoolers in our area.
Homeschooling How To’s:
Learning styles & choosing curriculum
Knowing your student’s learning style definitely helps in choosing curriculum. In Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum she explains learning style categories – Wiggly Willy, Perfect Paula, Competent Carl, and Sociable Sue. Each category has certain characteristics and their corresponding preferred methods of learning. My son was a Competent Carl (likes to be in control, logical/analytical, prefers to work alone) with a bit of Perfect Paula thrown in (likes structure and organization, wants to be “correct”). You know your child best, and you will recognize his unique traits as you read through the different categories. Your student will likely have several category traits, but usually one is more dominant.
Copyright 2009 Cathy Duffy
Scope and Sequence
Scope and sequence are what your student will learn and when. For example, 7th grade math typically covers prime/composite numbers, square root, order of operations, absolute value, inequalities, numeration, rational numbers, etc. There are boxed curriculums that tell you exactly what to teach at each grade and specifics of what each course covers. Some examples include Bob Jones (bjupresshomeschool.com), Abeka (abeka.com), and Sonlight (sonlight.com). I use a variety of materials for different subjects, so I use their website or catalog for guidance.
Suggested sequences for middle school are:
||Math 7 or Pre-Algebra
||Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1
||6th grade science
English courses should include vocabulary, grammar, composition, and literature. Other possible courses are foreign language, art, computer application/keyboarding, health, PE, and other electives. As the parent/teacher, you can increase, or decrease, the difficulty level of the courses your student takes. Following a typical sequence, especially in math and science, will help keep your child on track for high school.
For more information on scope and sequence check out HSLDA’s webpage “Where do you start?” They have lots of information and links to books and other websites. I’m only familiar with the middle and high school track and wouldn’t want to give you incorrect information! A terrific guide to homeschool planning for late middle school through high school can be found on the HSLDA website: https://www.hslda.org/highschool/HSBrochure.pdf
Homeschooling What To’s:
According to HSLDA, you need to follow the state’s homeschooling laws of the state you live in (even if you’re a legal resident of another state). Homeschooling IS legal in all 50 states, but you must check with your state guidelines to find out what you need to do. Many states have different options. For example, in Tennessee, we use an “umbrella” school, but you can also register through the school board or use a Category III distance-learning school. See the HSLDA webpage about State Laws and click on your state for more information.
Knowing what is required by your state, and also what you need for your child, will give you the power to do what’s best for your family. Do you have any tips or suggestions about homeschooling? I’d love to hear them!
For more homeschooling information, click on my posts Why We Switched to a 4-Day Homeschool Week and 6 Best Places to Get Your Homeschool Curriculum.
And check out my Pinterest board Homeschooling Info & Ideas for more tips and information!
This post was linked-up at The Homeschool Nook, Hip Homeschool Hop, This is How We Roll Thursday, and Sitting Among Friends!