Embarking on any new journey can cause apprehension and sometimes that “fear of the unknown” rears its ugly head. The decision to homeschool is the beginning of a new journey; it is a big decision and one that can also create feelings of anxiety. When leaving the comfort of the known, and familiar, public school system to begin homeschooling, it might feel absolutely daunting. The uncertainty of choosing curriculum, along with the million-dollar question, “Where do I even start?” is not yours alone! Rest assured, most, if not all, veteran homeschoolers uttered the same when starting out.
However, educating your child may be easier than you could have ever imagined. It does take patience, and dedication, and most importantly the willingness to bend and sway as you are now the dedicated facilitator of your homeschool. There will be challenges, for sure, but you always have the freedom, and the choice, to reinvent the wheel, alter the course, and make adjustments at any time along the way.
As a matter-of-course, the first and foremost question from new homeschooling families is “How can I ever teach all the subjects taught in public school?”
The simple answer is you don't have to! Depending on what your family's educational goals are, you are free to pick and choose what works. There are all sorts of wonderful educational options available to homeschoolers. Some families choose to replicate public schooling, and they do. Others want to follow the Unschooling method, and they do. Many families utilize a combination of methods; “á la carte”, so to speak. For more information about the different homeschooling methods, visit the GSHE website page, Homeschool Methods.
A curriculum mandate does not exist in New Hampshire, nor is there a standards requirement. As the parent, you get to determine what and how to go about your learning adventure. Support is available for all types of homeschooling and can be found on the Granite State Home Educators website which includes a comprehensive list of resources and support groups.
You, as the parent, are free to choose the absolute best method for your child. This may take some experimenting with different books, materials, online learning, or a tailored combination. That's the beauty of it! If it doesn't work, toss it, donate it, sell it, and move forward.
If your child struggles with ADHD you may find Tips for Teaching ADHD Kids at Home ,from Bookshark, a helpful resource. Additionally, the GHSH website has curriculum suggestions for SPED students as well as information for Children with Special Needs.
It is important, and to your advantage, to understand the New Hampshire Homeschooling laws and requirements. Knowing this information can also help set your mind at ease.
To begin your materials search, many homeschoolers recommend the well-known, and well-liked, online resource Cathy Duffy's Homeschool Reviews . Word of mouth, asking questions, looking at what fellow homeschoolers find exceptional, or not, is also highly encouraged. The Granite State Home Educators Facebook group is a wonderful place to get feedback, as well.
Below are some musings I borrowed from veteran homeschoolers. Hopefully, these words will help to offer some reassurance as you venture into your own homeschool journey.
- You can use a mix of styles, materials and grade levels. Homeschooling is a tailored education, so use the style and materials that fit your child's needs.
- Most people begin with a method that seems a good fit to their personal needs and interests, and then customize things over time as they discover more about themselves, their learner, and all the different resources available.
- Breathe, relax, take breaks, go outside, join a co-op and most importantly, enjoy! Raising a well-adjusted child, in a loving homeschool environment, is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity.
- Homeschooling is fluid. Make time for reflection and adjustments. There is no rush, there is no concrete time frame. Allow your child to set the pace. You've got this!
For additional support and information, Granite State Home Educators is hosting two in-person discussions coming up soon: one in Dover on July 21 and another in Northwood on August 10. Tickets are free. We are open to hosting more, depending on location and availability. Typically, we hold these discussions at libraries, but many are not hosting events yet.
With the date to be determined soon, GSHE will be offering two online events in August: an “Ask Me Anything” about Homeschooling and a virtual info session. Watch for announcements in the GSHE Facebook group.
GSHE has Intro to Homeschooling videos, too. Be sure to check them out!
As always, feel free to contact any GSHE admin with any homeschool questions.
By Lauren Lawless