I was interested in knowing about homeschooling and how to go about getting started with it. How much does it cost, etc? My child is not old enough for school yet but I’d like to look into it, just to keep my options open.
Also, are there any good websites that I can look at too?
We use Seton. You can go to their website setonhome.org/ They offer a complete curriculum and support. We do not find it expensive. We really like the help and I just LOVE the fact when I am in a crunch and planning out the next week, I can go to the website and print out their lesson plans.
I like that they have the option of ordering a free information packet. That’s just the kind of thing I’m looking for right now. Thanks for sharing!
I would start here:
It gives you all the legal information about home schooling.
We are currently homeschooling our 3 y.o. using the Little Saints Catholic Preschool curriculum(www.catholicpreschool.com). It has been so much fun. Catholic Heritage Curricula (www.chcweb.com) is also a very helpful website for homeschoolers. Although, BEWARE, once you get their catalog you will want to buy everything in it!! After preschool we are looking at homeschooling through Kolbe Academy (www.kolbe.org) or Mother of Divine Grace (www.motherofdivinegrace.org). Both websites will have the info. you are looking for.
When you have time, read *Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum *by Laura Berquist and Catholic Homeschooling: Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn and Mary Hasson.
Both are good books for an overview, helpful hints etc.
Two “general audience” websites come to mind:
a) “The Well-Trained Mind: A guide to classical education at home” (to accompany the book of the same name by Jessie Wise & Susan Wise Bauer) - the discussion forums are useful & we love the book.
b) The “Vegboard” - this site, originally “just vegetarian stuff”, has grown to contain a LARGE homeschool resource section including boards specifically for “secular”, “religious”, “classical”, “Charlotte Mason”, “unschooling”, “military”, “single parent” & many other categories. There’s also a really active curriculum swap section - we’ve found GREAT deals there.
Hope that helps!
When you first look into Homeschooling it seems like alot of choices but that is also what’s great about it, You can do it however fits your family best.
First find out what the laws are in your state. they are different everywhere. Laws range from having lots of regulations to no regulations at all.
Than consider your childs learning style and how your house runs. There is School-at-home, boxed curriculums, Charlotte Mason, ecclectic, unbrella schools, charter schools and unschooling. geocities.com/Heartland/6565/hstypes.html has a good explaination of what those are.
Once you see what looks good from that the Curriculum choices will be narrowed down quite a bit, making it not seem like so much to wade through. If something dosn’t work out, you can always change later or add extra materials to tailor it to what you need.
As for how much it costs… well it depends. I once read an article that said that it averages out the same as public schools when you figure in all the “extra” stuff public school kids end up taking money for (Field trips and school supplies etc.). I’ve found it really depends one your preferences and your budget. I have $150 a year to spend Which makes it impossible to by boxed sets new. But I have a used bookstore near me where I can get books that are normally $45 for 45 cents and I use an ecclectic approach so I can get one thing I need from here and another from there. I see boxed sets that are priced anywhere from $200-$650. Really, it’s easier if you have a big budget, but it’s definately possible on a very small one.
If you have a libray card, you can HS your child.
We are curently using The Well Trained Mind, but when my 1st grader hits about 5th grade we will move into Mother Of Divine Grace or Kolbe since both are accredited. At about that point you need to start thinking about transcripts from what I have heard and read from local HS groups.
I must admit though, I did have a panic attack that I was failing because I was not doing everything in WTM book. The I posted at WTM message boards and talked to another local HS mom using WTM. Now I am back to loving it!
Now, if you have not come across it yet, www.enchantedlearning.com.
This site is great! It gives me those little extras for the holidays or things to fill in when I need something else to help my child understand a concept. My Pk/K child likes the age appropriate activities for her to do for “her schooling”. This site costs $20 but well worth it!
Again I must stress to check your area laws! Since we are a military family, we move a lot. I have checked the top three places we would move to next before starting to school here. I qiuckly found out how different state laws are! And where the loop holes are. Like Maryland requires a bachelor’s degree, but has a loop hole if you must HS your child for religious reasons! I am currently in a very relaxed HS law state and the city only asks for an intent letter as opposed to the neighboring town requires a portfolio reveiw at the end of the school year.
Good Luck! You are smart to think about it now! I have a friend who just pulled her son from PS after hearing for two years that “her son is a discipline case because he asks too many questions in class”. That just blows my mind. I understand the teacher has 20 something other childrent to attend to, but this child is the kind of child who likes to see something from all angles. He is still on topic, it is just taking longer than the teacher wants to spend on it. My friend’s teacher told her her son would be the perfect student if he was the only one in the class. I told her she is just following the teacher’s advice.
I recommend reading some books by Linda Dobson. (Homeschooling the Early Years, The Homeschooling Book of Answers)
Catholic Homeschooling by Mary Kay Clark is another one that is ok. The first couple chapters are pretty good, in putting words to your ideas about why homeschooling might be a good idea.
See what your local library has.
I find books a little more helpful than websites at this poing, to give you some answers and some of the basics.
Homeschooling is VERY flexible. You can have very little structure to a complete correspondence school. You can spend no money to thousands of dollars and anywhere in between.
We are using Seton too this year. They will pray for you when you request their info packet. I’m sure that is what drew us in!
That is if you have a decent library. The library here is not so good. They have LOADS of fiction though… so we can cover literature with the library card.
I have heard from talking to other moms online though, MOST libraries have a great selection and you can even check out HS textbooks from libraries and see if you like them before you buy… and sometimews use them entirely when they are checked out and never buy them.
Another library idea - if there’s a university near you (especially one with a decent education department), sometimes they’ll let non-students purchase an annual membership.
There are some big advantages to this:
Generally the lending periods are more lengthy; helpful if you can only get out there once a month!
They may have online services like a searchable catalog, online renewal, online Interlibrary Loan services, etc…and of course they have a big staff and very long hours!
With an education degree/department present, the library will often have full curriculum sets by many publishers, the AV aids, kits for science/social studies/history/languages, children’s fiction/nonfiction, and more. No need to purchase a lot of stuff if the budget is tight - the membership more than pays for itself.
We love using university libraries!
I would encourage two things. Join a Catholic Homeschool support group even before your kids are school age.
And, go to a Catholic homeschool conference (generally in the Late spring/early summer).
It’s a great life! The biggest mistake I think most homeschoolers do is push formal academics too early. I know I did.
I also want to recommend Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons. You can get it from Amazon. I am in the middle of it with my third child. He breezes through 3 lessons a day.
For those who belong to Sam’s Club, they have some fairly large workbooks for each grade. They are a pretty good supplement.
You’d also be surprised what they can learn from “Magic School Bus” episodes.
Thank you all for responding. I wrote down the websites for later use, hopefully.
As of now, homeschooling is NOT an option, since I work full-time and it doesn’t look like I’m gonna be able to quit and be a stay-at-home-mom and homeschooler, like I’d love to be.
I’m hanging on to those resources, however, in case in a few years it does become a reality!
Our little boys are using Five in a Row. This is a literature based program that covers social studies (history, geography, human relations, etc.), language arts, fine arts, math concepts, and science. It is a very gentle approach to learning, and really does not take a lot of time. There is even a preschool version that has lots of great ideas for learning activities with children’s books. You may even find that you do have time to work and homeschool. I know of several families that do.
Our library has the manuals and many of the books available. They also have “Hooked on Phonics” and several other reading curricula for checkout. Some libraries are very willing to buy resources if they know that patrons will use them. It never hurts to ask.
Respectfully, I would not join the HSLDA for any reason. It is sponsored by fundamentalists, and wants to legislate home education- the very thing that primarily makes home education attractive. The organization has had problems in the past, and is simply not a good idea. For these same reasons, I would avoid anything by Mary Pride. Having worked as a home ed. sysop in “the olden days” of home education, both these organizations were not helpful to anybody who did not do it their way. Home ed. is by its nature flexible. The HSLDA just wants your money to fund a PAC, and Mary Pride, while she has a large family, is not Catholic by any stretch of the imagination.
Instead, I would highly recommend about.com, along with HEM Magazine’s site. I would also check a web site left open but currently not being edited, learningwarereviews.com. Ann Zeise also keeps a good bit of information in her site on gomilpitas.com. I would also check for a Kansas-based home ed. support group, preferably but not necessarily Catholic. Finally, Dr. Ray is a big home ed. supporter. Seton has lovely materials, as does Kolbe Academy. But if Kansas law permits it, why don’t you look at making your curriculum your own?