where do i start? how do i find the right books, ciriculum (if the mama, aka his TEACHER can't spell this word, is that a bad sign?). should i go to one of those homeschool fair kindy things? i think that would really overwhelm me.
1. To paraphrase my sweet friend Stacey, "go and head and plan to freak out so you know to expect it."
It will seem huge and overwhelming at times. Lots of things seem overwhelming and huge that are still worth doing. Just picking our son's preschool seemed gigantic and scarry. (Yes, my boys did go to preschool.)
2. Talk with other homeschoolers to find out what is available, what they do, what you want to avoid. I found out about programs for science, chess, etc. that my kids now attend by talking with others.
There are other books that are also comprehensive, but I didn't read those. These break it down into different ways to keep records, how to find out the law in your state and give you an overall sence of "this thing is do-able."
4. Figure out what you want your child to learn for the next 6 months to a year. If you try to make it longer than that then you'll make a list and add to it until it is so huge and scarry long that it would take not only year round education but a team of 5 people to teach it. It happens. Math, reading & writing turns into music, sports, manners, Bible study, Latin and butter churning pretty fast. Start off with basics, add some of your child's interests and let it grow through the year from there.
5. You will want to know what is grade appropriate. I looked through the books like What Your Second Grader Needs to Know. You don't have to buy these. Flip through them in the bookstore. But don't freak out. There is a lot in there. These are guidelines. My David didn't talk very much until he was four. I didn't try to teach him to read until he was in 1st grade even though it is a kindergarten skill. If you select a curriculum based on grade level, it is already figured out for you.
6. Look at curriculums on line or look through other people's if you can. I needed to hold it and look through it. Ex: That magazine Wonder Time. Great magazine. Great ideas. When I held it in my hands I hated it. The cover is scratchy. I don't like that. Great magazine...but not for me. Ridiculously small example of the importance of holding it in your own hands. (ok, so maybe I have some sensory issues too)
7. Which brings me to the question about going to the Homschool Expo's and such. Great for getting to look at stuff. Scarry because you can get a) overwhelmed by what all there is out there and buy too much b)overhwlemed by all the subjects you didn't even think about teaching your kids. I got a sitter for our kids and took John David with me. I needed someone to help me sort through it all AND I wanted him to see prices on things.
8. Think about your kids. How do they learn? I enjoyed reading books about learning styles, birth order and teaching LATER ON. But think about your kids and what you know about them now. I bought a kindergarten curriculum called Sing, Read, Spell for my son who doens't like singing. But it was all shiney and fun and in a red box...but not right for us. It wasn't a success. Do your kids like to draw? Use that to teach them. Do they really remember stories? Go for story based. You are already an expert on your kids.
9. Know you. I know me. I am lazy. I get bored easily. I am visual. I had to figure out how I could best teach my kids. I just read the story of the War of the Roses to my boys in history. I had to draw a chart of it for myself so I could keep the soap opera of events straight in my head. Alex heard the story and then drew a small picture in his journal. He dictated a summery of it back to me. I wrote it for him (he has Dyslexia). David drew out 4 pages of cartoons explaining what happened. See how we all learned what happened but expressed it different ways?
10. I majored in English and I am a terrible speller, not super at math or the higher sciences.....or sports...or grammar.....in fact, I'm not well rounded at all. But I know how to look up things and so I am ok. I am excited to get to relearn lots of these things with my kids. Don't worry about what you can't do. I repeat: you are THE expert on your child. You are very qualified to do this.
This is what worked for me.
Hope this is a little bit helpful.