So, it’s finally here. Homeschool is starting in less than 2 months!!!! My son will be “promoted” from elementary school on June 11th. After that ceremony, he will be homeschooled for his 6th grade year. I wrote a post on my initial pros and cons of homeschool. You can read it here.
This post explains the exact classes we are taking and what our schedule looks like for next year. I will also describe how I chose classes and which resources have been the most useful as we start this journey.
What am I Doing?
Deciding to homeschool was a complex decision. And I didn’t realize the hardest part would be piecing his schedule together. The number one resource for me has been my county’s listserve. I found it on the MD homeschool page. If you’re homeschooling in Montgomery county, it’s amazing:
DIY Private School
I started out reading each and every email that was sent. I learned about course offerings, poetry meet-ups, free art classes, music and instrument design workshops, political activism conferences with chances to meet your representatives and a biologist who conducts full on laboratory experiments and research from his home for students. The options were unbelievable. I felt like I was in a new world. It’s exciting, but overwhelming.
What is Unschooling?
The notion of unschooling is very close to my heart. A fellow blogger and homeschooling mom uses this method with her three girls. It’s awesome. Read about her journey here. She has many resources on her site if you want to learn more.
I plan to “unschool” for science and music. B is self-motivated in those areas. I’m going a more tradition route with his other courses. I learned the most about the process of traditional homeschooling from: Kathy Kuhl on an ADDitude magazine expert podcast.
How I incorporated neuropsychological testing results:
B completed educational testing in 4th grade. The 40 pages of results gave me a complete snap shot of his strengths and weaknesses. Most parents who home school know their children well and do not need to test them. I paid for testing to ensure B received accommodations at the public school. It ended up serving my needs for homeschool, as well. You can read the post about it here.
The neuropsychological testing showed my son was weaker in writing, geography and lagged in some math skills. Logic, science and story-telling were strengths. He is also a great orator. Did you know his father hosts private events and is a voice-over actor? Apple doesn’t fall far. . .
How to choose classes:
The testing helped me make make some decisions on courses. The administrator of the listserve also teachers Geography courses out of her home. How cool is that? Course one chosen for B. Another homeschool teacher and pediatric nutritionist sent out offerings for health and writing for story-tellers through the listserve. Course two and three: check. The math was difficult to chose because there are lots of options. I finally reached out on the listserve and received specific suggestions. In fact, the mother of a former student responded, “Were you N’s teacher for Spanish?” Of course I said yes and now she’s sending me all sorts of tidbits. She’s been teaching her daughter for three years. Wow. For any supplemental classes we’ll be using outschool and compass. Click the links to learn more.
The homeschool community-Breaking stereotypes:
Homeschoolers are doing this for their kids. The vision of hand-me-down-wearing kids with no discipline stings, but I’m willing to bear the rolled eyes and whispers. I’ll admit, I was scared of the homeschool stereotype. I’m not very religious, though intensely spiritual. I’m a suburbanite who shops for food more than grows her own. The truth is, most of the stereotypes which turned me off, were simply generalizations.
Maybe I don’t fit the “norm” and that’s okay. We don’t all have to fit society’s expectations. If you told me in graduate school I would homeschool my child, I would’ve laughed. But here’s what I’ve found of homeschoolers: they are willing to do what it takes for their child to receive an optimal education and they know how to leverage their community and network to do it. That is a generality I can embrace.
Do you have any suggestions or feelings about homeschool? Please share them; let’s start a conversation.