Homeschooling Research Tips for Parents from Homeschool Specialist Amy M. O’Quinn
Welcome to day three of Amy O’Quinn’s 6-day NWFCC February Specialist Showcase tour as she discusses her personal homeschooling experience and tips.
As opposed to twenty or thirty years ago, homeschooling options are almost limitless these days. There are countless companies, catalogs, and websites available to help new homeschooling parents navigate their way through uncharted waters. Curriculum choices abound, and there is a homeschooling ‘method’ or style for everyone. Although I utilize much of both the Charlotte Mason and Classical methods, I guess our homeschool style could be labeled eclectic, as I pull ideas from many different places. In fact, I would venture to say that most homeschooling families are eclectic to some degree!
We use a variety of curriculum and resources, but with a specific end in mind. I definitely see the value in acknowledging the different stages of the trivium, and I remember these as I’m planning goals for our school year. But I am also drawn to the gentle art of learning associated with Charlotte Mason, and I like to incorporate art, music, and nature study. I especially like to use narration and copy work. And we read a lot! I also believe in fostering self-education (autodidactic) and independent learning. For when I’ve finished my years of teaching, I still want my children to continue learning and growing in many different areas—not because they have to—but because they want to!
I truly believe that if parents feel called to homeschool their children, they have a responsibility to provide the best education possible. Homeschooling can be as expensive or as inexpensive as families want it to be or are limited to, but a good education is NOT dependent on lots of money or a costly curriculum. Time invested by the homeschooling parent and wisely and effectively using whatever resources are available makes all the difference in the world when teaching a child. Consistency and dedication are a must!
One of the best starting places to find information on how to begin homeschooling or review a list of frequently asked questions is at the Homeschool Legal Defense website at www.hslda.org. There are links to state laws, homeschool publications and periodicals, research information, organizations, etc.
Another good site is www.vegsource.com/homeschool. Here you will find discussion boards for all homeschooling methods and topics and even a place to buy/sell used curriculum.
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine website at www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com also has many links, product reviews, and articles for anyone interested in homeschooling.
In fact, just doing an internet search on homeschooling will yield more hits than you can possibly use. But one of the best ways to find out about home education and how it ‘really’ works is to find another homeschooling family or mom who is willing to answer questions and share opinions about the good, the bad, and the ugly! Finding support is vital, because there will always be days when new homeschoolers (and veterans) feel overwhelmed, when they just need encouragement, or when they want to share their success stories. We’ve all had our great days and our ‘not so stellar’ days of homeschooling, but it really helps to talk to those who’ve walked the path before us!
Follow Day 4 of Ms. O’Quinn’s tour tomorrow at www.mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com. Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.