What Do I Need To Start Homeschooling – Hello! Welcome to homeschooling. Here you will find a 9 part podcast series on how to start homeschooling. This was written in the fall of 2020 when many people are finding themselves homeschooling for the first time, but the home school advice included here is timeless and will give you good points to start with. Do them in order or start with what you want most.
Philosophies, learning styles, curricula, overcoming fear, and other barriers have a lot to cover if you haven’t explored them already. We could literally talk about the subject for days. Regardless of how awesome it is, we wanted to cover some new homeschool FAQs in a series of short podcasts to give you a starting point for your new journey.
What Do I Need To Start Homeschooling
This podcast is hosted by Christina Hatch, owner and designer of Hatching Curiosity, and Cami Parks, owner and designer at Cambria Rose Design. Between the two of us, we homeschool 8 children and are excited to share what we know with those just starting out.
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I’ve created a little worksheet to get you started that you can use while listening to help organize your thoughts. (Click the button or image to download it).
In this episode we’ll explore your why, how to follow state standards to keep your child from falling behind, funding programs, and the school options available to you. Some of the websites mentioned are:
The Tech Trep (Idaho) or My Tech High (Utah) 2nd Teir program offers minimal funding, support, and reporting while keeping you abreast of your state’s standards and testing. There are many other great programs that vary from state to state. Try searching for terms like “online charter school” or “funding homeschoolers in _______.”
Once we started, the conversation moved into a bonus episode about homeschooling middle and high school students. Topics include diplomas, GEDs, getting into college, co-enrollment, and when is it better to go with your district versus an online private school or home school.
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Once you have a vision for your homeschool, know the rules, and have decided what you want to teach this year- you’re ready to get started! The first thing you should do is shop for curriculum. In this episode, we cover the most important terms to know when shopping for a homeschool curriculum. (such as secular vs. religious or spiral vs. mastery) Then we readers do digest versions of homeschool philosophy and common teaching methods. Listen to the full episode in the link to the right or snag some of the highlights below.
Secular: Non-religious. This is especially true for science curricula where the religious and secular worldviews differ. The secular curriculum follows that taught in public schools
Religious: As said. The religious curriculum teaches from the author’s religious worldview. Again this is very relevant to the science curriculum because many Christians believe in a different geological time scale than what is taught secularly.
Spiral: When a subject is taught in a circle. Touch on a concept, move on to the next, then come back to dive deeper into it. Once a topic is covered in more depth, it is returned for review throughout the school year.
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Mastery: Stay on one subject until mastered then move on to the next. These two terms are often used when shopping for math curricula but can be used in any curriculum search.
Chronological: In order of time it happened. Mainly used in history. Some curricula are taught chronologically while others are taught by units of study, topics or interests that touch on different historical periods throughout the year.
Literature-based: The curriculum is book-heavy — primarily using high-quality classics as a starting point for learning.
*Disclaimer* This is a shallow philosophical picture. I’m not even going to cover all the basic principles of schools of thought here. Just to give you an idea/feel about this philosophy, so you know what you’d like to see more of, and a little bit about what happens when you buy a curriculum that follows the philosophy.
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Classics: Follows children through the stages of learning called Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. At the grammar stage, children learn facts about the world around them, focusing primarily on history and literature. There is a lot of memorization through songs and repetition. At the reasoning stage, children learn how to reason and apply what they learn at the grammar stage. At the rhetorical stage students participate in “great conversations” by formulating their own opinions based on knowledge, reasoning and expressing their own ideas. They dive into the big ideas, current events, issues of our time, they become scholars who grapple with philosophy and move towards more specific fields of study and expertise.
Thomas Jefferson Education (TJED): Follows kids through the stages but focuses more on the inspiring magic/love of learning in the elementary years, helping kids discover their interests/talents in junior high school. Most of the year, and they direct their own education while they are undergraduates in high school. It is more about developing leaders who direct their time and education towards what they are passionate about. In some ways it echoes the classic model with stages of learning, scientific pursuit and the desire to create leaders. The echoes of school cancellations that we would otherwise go down.
Charlotte Mason: A classic model that follows Trivium but focuses more on “The Living Book” (which will be explained in the next issue). Charlotte Mason placed great emphasis on reading and following the “experts” of art and literature. He used copy and narrative works as tools to instill the beauty of literature in our children. He placed particular emphasis on children’s outdoor life and was known for advocating nature studies and keeping a nature journal. Crafts, family schooling, reading aloud, this is perhaps one of the most “home” philosophies but can be as rigorous as any other classical model. “Education is atmosphere, discipline, life” – Charlotte Mason
Montessori: Founded by Maria Montessori in Italy, this philosophy focuses on the child’s self-discovery. All hands-on material is designed to be self-directed and self-correcting, so that children discover the ideas presented when they are ready to learn them. Known for its exquisite woodwork and environmental finishes. They bring everyday objects to a child’s size and level so they grow in confidence and ability, and they learn practical, behavioral, and educational skills through play and storytelling.
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Waldorf: Similar to Montessori in many ways, this philosophy focuses heavily on the rhythms of days and seasons. Nature, fantasy and storytelling. It’s creative and exploratory.
Unschool: or passion-driven education is student-led learning. Learn from the world around us day by day and pursue passionate projects. This philosophy moves away from the traditional curriculum that caters to the child where they are. Teach them to read when they want to read and study sea shells until they lose interest. It takes being highly aware and intuitive with your children, being able to change gears quickly, and having a learning environment and culture ready at home.
Online: Games, webinars, pre-recorded lessons, YouTube channels, live classes, can technically look like a lot of things. Be aware of how much time your kids spend in front of screens and what they do with them. It’s a great tool for them to delegate certain things to others or for independent work but also follow up on their work for accountability and use online learning purposefully.
Independent: Child does work independently and then reports back to you. Another great delegation tool that works well with follow ups and reviews.
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Family School: Subjects you study together as a family (works best for history, science, art, etc. a little harder for math, grammar, reading, etc.)
Unit Lessons: Dive deeper into a topic you are passionate about and incorporate all learning into that theme. For example, an oceans unit includes a Jacques Cousteau biography for history, oceans and ocean layers for biology, art projects, seafood recipes for home EC, and math.
Go to school: Get out of class to study. Finding mentors, conducting field trips, field work etc.
Continuing with a basic of key terms, an overview of philosophy, and methods, this episode looks at some of the other considerations when choosing a homeschool curriculum.
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One of the main things we do early on is learn to see curriculum as a tool. It’s not your master. You owe me nothing. Here for you to use as a tool to educate your children. You choose it based on visiting the places where your children are