Parents decide to homeschool a child for any number of reasons and can start the homeschooling journey anywhere in the child's developmental progress. Homeschooling can seem daunting at first, especially when trying to build a curriculum. Whether it is from scratch or a package, this can be the most overwhelming phase. However, tackling the project in steps or bite-sized pieces, will make the project much easier.
Establish a Learning Style
Apply what you know about your child to discover his best learning style. You have been observing your child learning from birth. Now is the time to take this knowledge and interpret it into an educational philosophy that will work for both of you. Learning styles are classified into three sensory areas, auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Auditory learners thrive with conversational lectures and verbal guidance, while visual learners prefer graphical demonstrations. Kinesthetic learners need an emphasis in hands-on activities.
Start setting goals and be specific. Decide what you want your student to learn over the course of a year with several basic goals in each subject. Take what you have learned and break these larger goals into smaller sets until you are able to make weekly and monthly schedules that are reasonable and will allow for the student to work at a comfortable pace. Most homeschoolers find their children learn subject matter at a much faster rate than their public school peers, but it is still important to track, quantify and compare their progress to that of students as a whole.
Personalize a Teaching Plan
Build a homeschool curriculum by personalizing education to account for parent teaching style and student learning style and to foster the child's natural curiosities. When building a curriculum most experts recommend a topic based plan. By focusing on two or three subjects of interest to the child, you can delve into each topic in a way that automatically allows for learning across academic subjects like math and reading. Combine the topic-based approach with your teaching abilities, skills and methods. This ensures that you will not be overwhelmed with a program that is too strenuous or one that is not challenging enough for either of you.
Find Materials and Resources
Search out sources for experienced advice and materials. With homeschooling growing in popularity, most communities have homeschool groups. Start by attending meetings and book fairs. Experienced teaching parents can provide a wealth of information and advice to beginners. Also, visit local schools, libraries and curriculum book fairs to get a solid picture of what is available. Don't be shy. Ask questions, explore resources and flip through sample books before buying anything. In addition, exploring online will open up a whole new world of materials. Try seeking out online homeschools, online public schools and online educational supply and book stores. E-books can often be purchased cheaply, usually for as little as a dollar, and some sites, such as the Gutenberg Project, offer e-book classics for free. College textbooks are even published as e-books for a few hundred dollars. Once topics are chosen, source material can be found just about anywhere.
Check State Guidelines
Review the guidelines in your state and keep track as your child achieves goals. Keep records and portfolios that include documentation of the student's progress and examples of his work. This can be as simple as a daily journal and file folder. Part of this record keeping should include ideas for new subject matter as the child's curiosity is piqued while reviewing current subjects. This information can also be used in the next planning phase to help the student take ownership of his learning.
- Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media