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    Making the decision to switch gears and begin homeschooling partway through the school year takes courage and faith. Whatever you were doing before wasn’t working, and whatever you are beginning hasn’t had time to feel routine yet. Here are ten suggestions to ease the way, whether you’re homeschooling independently or enrolling in Oak Meadow’s distance-learning program:

    1. Different philosophy; different approach. Students who have been in school have likely become accustomed to an institutional approach where work is prescribed to the class as a whole and the teacher’s attention is divided among many students. Shifting to a creative thinking approach can be challenging for a student who just spent last semester trying very hard to figure out how to succeed in an institutional setting. In contrast, Oak Meadow’s approach is flexible and creative, and homeschooling can often allow for one-on-one support between parent and child. Switching gears to this degree is quite an adjustment and might bring stress or frustration. Be understanding and acknowledge those differences as needed.

    2. Commit to riding out the transition. There is a progression in learning as your child adjusts, but it may take a few weeks or more to be able to look back and clearly see the progression. Don’t expect to see results right away. Trust the process and really commit fully to seeing it through for six weeks or so before you assess whether it is working for your child. Learning really does take place, even if it might not feel that way in the moment, and a few weeks’ perspective can make all the difference in understanding.

    3. Go easy on yourself and your child.You’ve just left behind an educational environment that wasn’t working for some reason, and now you’ve switched to an entirely different approach. During this adjustment phase, don’t get too caught up in whether every single item was done properly in each lesson. What’s the main concept or what are the key skills being addressed? What is most important for your child to grasp before moving on to the next lesson? Make that your focus, and give everyone points for effort as you navigate this new way of learning. Students beginning mid-year may need to go back to previous lessons if they aren’t understanding something in the current lesson.

    4. Consider downshifting or deschooling. Your child might need to ease into the new model slowly, and some children, particularly those who experienced trauma in their previous school experience, will benefit from a period of “deschooling.” This can be like an extended vacation from school, with plenty of nourishing rest, time to daydream, healthy activities of the child’s choosing, and supported emotional processing. It can be very helpful for some students to have a buffer like this between
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    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling,
    3. Info for New Homeschoolers
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    This article originally appeared as part of the SecularHomeschool.com monthly newsletter. Not subscribed yet? Click here.


    So, you want to homeschool? FANTASTIC! Welcome to the club! Do you think that this means you need to spend a house payment on school supplies?

    Nope!

    Not only are there fantastic sales this time of year to stock up on the basics for mere pennies, but there is also Craigslist for larger items, or even looking around your house, garage or storage for items to repurpose for your new adventure. And, whether or not you have a dedicated area in your house for your homeschooling, or are sort of spread out all over the place, you're still going to need some stuff for the fun learning escapades you are about to set in motion. Since not all stuff is created equal, here are my thoughts on supplies that every homeschooler should have quick access to!



    1. Library Card. Your local library can be your homeschooling friend. Free resources, endless books, research, movies. You can find out much more about what's available to you in our article: Homeschooling for (almost) FREE thanks to the Library. Oh, and make friends with the librarian. They are a WEALTH of knowledge.
    2. Good pencils and sharpener. Do NOT go cheap and get those bargain bin pencils. They don’t sharpen, they break constantly and in general, are a cause of frustration. Get a good brand like Ticonderoga and a good manual or electric pencil sharpener. Or go with mechanical pencils if that works best for you. I prefer wooden ones, and we have a old fashioned, attach-to-the-wall manual pencil sharpener just for me. My boys prefer mechanical ones. Whatever floats their boat. It saves me the bickering hassle of getting them to actually DO their work.
    3. Laminator. Granted, maybe you don’t NEED one of these babies, but you are going to WANT one. Your homeschool mom friends will have one, and this is a definite “keeping up with the Joneses” thing! Amazon has some GREAT deals on them. You can laminate labels, signs, worksheets (think multiple kid use here), their homeschool ID card, you name it… you can laminate it. In the end, you will wonder how you ever did without it.
    4. Netflix. There are SO many, MANY educational shows on Netflix. You can tie into almost any unit study. For those sick days when nobody feels like doing school, turn on an educational show and BAM! Unplanned learning! Jump onto any homeschooling parent forum and ask
    ...
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    1. Categories:
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    3. Secular Homeschooling,
    4. Info for New Homeschoolers
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    When you begin homeschooling for the first time, especially if the decision is sudden, choosing curriculum can be one of the most anxiety-producing parts of the process. Maybe the idea of teaching math, science, and more to your kiddo seems way out of your comfort zone. Or, even if you are excited about the idea of sharing what you know, you would feel a lot better if you knew you had a solid curriculum support system to help.

    The following suggestions will help those brand new to homeschooling by outlining some approaches and programs that are super-parent friendly for those new to the world of homeschooling. Each one is vetted to be from a completely secular worldview across all subjects.

    Virtual Charter Schools

    While it’s technically not considered “homeschooling,” many parents new to the idea of homeschooling feel most comfortable easing into home ed with a program that is done from home, but completely supported and administered by the public education system. Virtual charter schools (also known as virtual schools, or cyber schools) are accredited public charter schools available in specific states of the U.S. and in countries like New Zealand, the U.K., and Australia. Courses are all online, are taught by certified teachers, and are usually free to students. Students registered with a virtual charter school are considered public school students, but will simply be participating remotely from their home.

    Even if your state does not offer public virtual schooling, you can still sign up as a homeschooler by using the program as a “private school” or “homeschool” option. This opportunity is available through many state sponsored virtual schools and with sites like K12 International Academy and International Connections Academy. Be aware, though, that tuition costs for online virtual schooling are comparable to brick and mortar private school costs.

    The main advantages of virtual schooling for new homeschoolers are cost and the fact that the teaching, grading, and record-keeping are all taken care of by the schools themselves. The main disadvantage is that if you are choosing to homeschool because of the instructional style, focus on standardized testing, or rigid scheduling of public schools, all of these will still be present in a virtual school environment.

    Online Homeschool Curriculum

    For new homeschoolers who want the support of a standards-based online curriculum but desire the flexibility to customize their schooling to their individual student(s), another alternative is to sign up with an online homeschool program. Online curricula usually involves either animated or video style lessons with practice activities, review, and assessments all completed online by the student. Grading is usually automated as well.

    Time4Learning is one of the most popular programs for new homeschoolers. It covers preschool through high school and is ...
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