How do I start?
Tips for RC users
Format Text Files
Print Books at Home
Bind Books at Home
Free Books Online
(RC, Henty & more)
Rosegate's Free Files
Lists (many RC)
Homeschool Name/ ID
Latter-day Saints & RC
Links for Homeschool
- What methods are available?
- Can I combine methods?
- How do I know which one is right for me?
- Can I make my own curriculum?
- What about taking my child out of school? And, should I wait?
- How do I meet legal requirements?
WHAT METHODS ARE AVAILABLE?
Here are some links to pages that list many different methods to choose from.
Types of Homeschooling - at the Chase SC site.
Methods and Styles Directory - at A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling.
The Problem with Home-based Charter Schools - an HSLDA article about why you may not want public school at home (more regulations, less religious freedom, etc.). Read more about Virtual Charter Schools at the same site.
If you are thinking of signing up for any online school program, be sure you know if it's under the jurisdiction of the public school system.
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CAN I COMBINE METHODS?
Of course! I think most people do. There are probably as many "methods" as there are homeschool parents! And even within the same family, one way may not fit every child.
Read about what methods and philosophies are out there. Pick and choose the parts that feel right for you. You can adapt any curriculum to fit your family, and each individual child. (Of course, you will have to consider your state's regulations, but there are homeschoolers all over the country making it work for their families.)
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HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Here are a few little tips that may help you decide.
CAN I MAKE MY OWN CURRICULUM?
You bet! It can feel overwhelming at first, but take a look at other curricula to get ideas of what you may like to include in your own. Here's World Book's Typical Course of Study for some ideas of what subjects are often covered from Pre-K through 12th grade. Also look at booklists for ideas, then custom-tailor your own. With so many free resources online, making your own curriculum doesn't have to be expensive. You could probably get the bulk of your books free online, then print and bind them for very little money. (Or you can skip printing, and get eBook readers for your children.) There are more free resources online besides just literature and out-of-copyright books. Many HTML resources are very up-to-date and quite useful. (See the links page for materials covering many subjects.)
With what money you save using online resources and making your own books (or buying them at low prices--used, for instance), you can buy whatever else you need or want that isn't available online.
• There's a free math program online (MEP), but perhaps you prefer to buy a math curriculum.
• You may want to buy science textbooks, rather than using free online courseware.
• Also find some post-1922 history materials.
Most online books at places like Project Gutenberg, Gateway to the Classics, Internet Archive, and Google Books are in the public domain. Meaning they were printed before 1923. (Google Books also displays many newer books, but they aren't available to download or print, because they're copyrighted. When searching, click "Public Domain" to only see downloadable books.) Many of the books we read in school were pre-1923 classics. And most of the history of the world happened before 1923. So there's really not much left to fill in after that. You can either buy these history materials, or find them online (just not at Gutenberg).
• Finish up by rounding out your library with any newer literature (still copyrighted) that you want, like the Little House books, Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.
It's also fun to have some books with nice, colored illustrations, especially for younger children. Those are books they'll treasure and remember even when they've outgrown what's written in them. (You probably already have a bunch of these!)
You can build a curriculum similar to one you've seen, or combine ideas from multiple curricula, or get creative and think it all up on your own. (Most of us are a bit nervous about such an undertaking and are glad to get ideas from somewhere, at least when we're starting out.) My hope is that it shouldn't be too difficult to create your own curriculum, using the resources I've linked to all over this site. Of course, I've only linked to a small fraction of what's available out there. I chose items that I particularly liked, or that were similar to the RC program (because some aspects of the method appealed to us). Most of the materials are things to print and use independently of the computer, but you can use them any way you like, or find completely different resources, if you prefer.
The bottom line is, you really can do it!
I started out strictly adhering to a curriculum. But as we had been doing it a bit longer, I gained more confidence in my ability to make good choices, and I've really branched out. And it's been fun! There's so much great material out there that we could never use it all. And we don't have to, to have a great educational experience. I've realized that no one curriculum is the only right way. So many methods are working for many different people. Many methods or curricula were created by people just like you and me. And when they started out they may not have known any more than we do! It's nice to look at those curricula and see what has worked for other people. It can help give us ideas, and we can pick and choose those that suit us. We don't all have to have the exact same food in our fridge or pantry to have a healthy diet. And we don't all have to have the same books or subjects in our homeschool to have an enriching education.
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WHAT ABOUT TAKING MY CHILD OUT OF SCHOOL?
Each state is different. Some states require letters notifying them of your intention to homeschool. Some aren't very strict at all. Find out about your state's requirements at HSLDA.
Should I wait to take my child out of school?
Wait for what? If you have decided that homeschool will be better for your child than public school, then what reason is there to leave them there? Give your child enough notice that they can say goodbye to friends, and get addresses and phone numbers from those with whom they'll be keeping up an acquaintance. You don't need to wait until the end of the term or year to take them out. It would just delay getting them on the path on which you want them.
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HOW DO I MEET LEGAL REQUIREMENTS?
Visit HSLDA to find your state's homeschool laws. (Hours, subjects, curriculum, possibly testing, etc.) Most states don't need to approve your curriculum, but if yours does you may want to join a homeschool support group, either in your area or an online group (like a Yahoo group or Facebook) that is for people using your curriculum, or for people in your state. Either way, you're likely to find ideas about how to adapt your curriculum to your state's laws. (Or maybe you're lucky enough to live in a state where there's more freedom and you won't have to worry about it.)
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