Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HomeSchooling

Education can be a tricky subject for parents, specially expat families.

Homeschooling can be and option, and in some cases is the only option around.

I wonder if there is a homeschool community here in Kuwait!

So here is what I could find online about homeschooling;

Steps

  1. Prepare Yourself. Realize that this means being able to devote yourself to your children every day, morning to night. As their parent or legal guardian, you (and your spouse) will now be legally and solely responsible for the direction, depth, and breadth of their education. This is an enormous responsibility and should not be stepped into lightly.
  2. Determine Your Homeschool Teaching Style. Examine your own intentions and motivations. Why do you want to homeschool? What do you consider a ‘good’ education? What do you believe about children, teaching, and learning? How do your children seem to learn best? These questions can help you determine what approach to take, and help you create a learning environment that will be best for you and your children. Learn about the different homeschool methods, such as
    • unschooling,
    • classical homeschooling,
    • unit studies,
    • Charlotte Mason’s methodology,
    • Montessori or Waldorf methods, and
    • eclectic blends of different styles.
    • Complete Online curriculum package like Global Student Network
    • Private Online school like International Virtual Learning Academy
  3. Plan Your Curriculum. The enormous volume of material and methods that are available can be very overwhelming for a new homeschoooling parent. Identifying your approach will help narrow things down. (For example, unschoolers usually have a wide variety of resources for their children to experience, but no formal curriculum. Classical homeschool studies often revolve around certain core subjects and more traditional western teaching methods.) There are many resources to help you navigate through the maze of ideas. Libraries and bookstores have books on homeschooling methods, experiences, and proven curricula. The internet offers a never-ending source of information as well: basic information on various subjects, online curriculum and supply ordering, articles about methodologies, support groups, and public school curricula. The internet even has free lessons on most subjects from teachers, other homeschoolers, and even television stations. Research, read, and plan what you want to teach and how.
  4. Look for local support. You can find local groups that meet regularly, organizations that put on periodic seminars or conventions, or even online groups that swap ideas and resources. Many groups set up co-op classes - taught by other parents - in a variety of subjects. If you start to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or all alone in your family's educational pursuits, a support group can offer advice or just a reassuring acknowledgment from other parents that you are not alone. They are also an invaluable resource for tips on how to comply with the homeschooling laws in your area.
  5. Establish Your Homeschool Legally. Learn what is required to homeschool legally where you live, then do what is necessary to work within that structure. Make sure you get a copy of the actual laws involved as well as discovering the current legal interpretation of those laws. Since homeschoolers have a personal investment in ensuring they understand the homeschooling laws correctly, local support groups are often the best resource to steer you to the most accurate legal information in your area. Be advised that the legal requirements for homeschoolers vary by country, state, and even sometimes by school district, so a bit of research will be required. HSLDA and AtoZ Home’s Cool provide useful guides to what it means to have a legal homeschool (see external links.)
  6. Prepare Your Children. Explain to them what is going to happen in the months to come - including how daily life will be changing - for them and the family. To older children, make clear that though they may be leaving their school, it doesn't mean they are leaving their education or their friends. Ask them what they would be interested in studying (for example, if one loves star gazing, get a telescope and study astronomy). Be sure to get them excited. Homeschooling is fun!
  7. Inform Extended Family. Others in your family who care about you and your children can be helpful and give great support to your homeschooling efforts - or they can be heartbreaking critics. Plan how you will tell them what you are planning to do, listen to their responses, and answer questions and concerns they may have. Help them understand that you are both prepared and determined, and don't let any negative attitudes get you down. They care, and over time as your children show success in homeschool, they very well may come around and be your greatest supporters.
  8. Allow time to adjust to change with older children. Often children who leave the standard educational system for homeschool need some time to adjust. Instead of immediately jumping into "school at home" you may want to do unstructured activities and then slowly work into your routine. Determine how much "recovery time" is needed for your particular child, then work with them to create a different and more enjoyable learning environment.
  9. Studying with flashcards
    Studying with flashcards
    Gather Supplies. Homeschooling supplies, like everything else in homeschooling, vary greatly by teaching method. You can order textbooks, boxed curriculum, and learning tools online or at homeschooling curriculum and supply sales. For cheaper alternatives, many homeschoolers use libraries, used book stores, curriculum swaps, thrift stores, and garage sales. Also, a back-to-school-sale at a local discount store or office supply store is the perfect place to get some of the basic school supplies like pens, notebooks and glue.
  10. Plan Your Day. If you choose to have a more formal homeschool environment, you can prepare by gathering your lesson plans, materials, and textbooks together - or even by setting-up a room in your house for studies and activites. A different approach might mean your teaching preparation involves setting up field trips for the rest of the year in every subject, placing learning objects around your home, or simply getting yourself into a mindset of using every day as a learning opportunity with no set plans or textbooks. However you choose to homeschool, it can only be helped by planning and preparing as much as you can before you start.
  11. Radishes from a study garden
    Radishes from a study garden
    Look for hands-on activities. Everyone benefits from seeing things firsthand. Some activities that can be educational as well as easy to do are: gardening, cooking, sewing, composting, science projects, hiking, fixing the house, caring for pets, and taking apart broken appliances (just make sure there are no lasers or dangerous electronic components still active). Your children will learn different things depending on their ages, but everyone will come away better-educated.
  12. Keep a portfolio of each child's work. Thick, three-ringed binders with tab separators for each student are an excellent way to keep track of school work, along with whatever may be required from a legal standpoint. Label each tab with whatever subjects you are studying (for example: Math, Spelling, Language Arts, History, Biology, Spanish). After your child has completed a page under that subject, punch holes (using a three-ring hole punch) and snap the page into the proper section of their book. Remember to date each page or it will be a big jigsaw puzzle to figure out later. This is most useful when your child may be thinking of university study, as they often require portfolios of work from homeschoolers.
  13. Periodically evaluate your progress. Progress evaluation happens naturally through the one-on-one process of homeschooling, although in some areas the law requires periodic formal testing or evaluation of homeschoolers. Personal evaluation, however, should not only consider how your child is doing academically, but also how the process is working for everyone in the family. If the teaching methods are a poor match with your child’s learning styles, if the curriculum is too structured or not structured enough, or if the process of homeschooling seems to be making things worse rather than better, then it’s time for a change. Fortunately, change is something you can do fairly quickly with just a little research. If you feel uncomfortable with your level of knowledge on the subject, there are standardized progress tests (such as Fcat) that your child can take and then have the scores mailed to you, and you can find many other tests to order or take online.
  14. Go With Your Gut. Trust your knowledge and instincts regarding your own children. You are not only the one ultimately responsible for guiding your children's education, but you are often the one person best able to recognize what they do or do not need. Turn to evaluations and insights from others to help guide you, but trust your own instincts about what your children need to learn and do in their educational progress.
  15. Remember, homeschooling works best when your children can learn to teach themselves. Thus, it's probably better for children to start homeschooling at a later age.
  16. Make sure your homeschooled children are not socially disadvantaged. Arrange play sessions with other homeschooled children. Also sign your child/ren for extra classes like violin, piano or ballet. This gives them a chance to interact with other children and make friends.


[edit]Tips

  • Be aware of your time-use habits. Homeschool isn't an invitation to laziness, but a door to creating a learning style that better serves your family. Early birds can use the morning hours while night owls prefer late afternoons and evenings. Take a look at what you and your children's most productive times are.
  • Horseback riding lesson
    Horseback riding lesson
     Address the "socialization" concern. Involve your children in sports, 4-H, drama/music classes, youth groups, scout groups, DeMolay, and so on. These are much better opportunities for social interaction than a school classroom, anyway. With homeschool you can even improve their social skills by giving them opportunities to interact with many different people in different situations, not just same-age students in a classroom or on a playground.
  • Be a cheerful teacher. Homeschool will become miserable for both you and your children if you become angry and frustrated from the daily stresses. Take care of yourself, allowing daily time to rejuvenate and be prepared for the many responsibilities of homeschool and parenting combined.
  • Be flexible. If you and your family start feeling burned out from being in your house and working through seemingly never-ending lessons, take a field trip! Go do something fun as a family, such as visiting a museum (which will be educational at the same time), going on a picnic, or going fishing. Every day will not go exactly as you have planned, and illness or emergencies can interrupt homeschool as well. Be open to changes and enjoy the ride!
  • Seek outside help when necessary. If there is a subject you do not have enough knowledge about to teach to your children, you can consider hiring a certified tutor, or have a friend with in-depth knowledge of a subject come over and explain about it.
  • Get each of your children their own library card. Weekly trips to the library are a great way to spark an interest in reading and learning. There are a lot of great books for kids out there, and the library is an excellent source of additional materials to supplement your courses of study. In addition, many libraries provide weekly story times and other programs for homeschooled students.
  • Take pictures! Don't forget to record homeschool activities - even those that may seem to be daily drudgery. By logging your homeschool life you show that you are active and pressing forward with learning experiences. Make a scrapbook at the end of the year, or start a family website - both for memories and for a creative way to tell other people about your homeschool. You can also share photos and record memories by creating a homeschool blog.
  • Your local board of education might lend you a curriculum, or you can find plenty online.
  • Join an online homeschool forum or yahoo group. Online message boards are great ways to receive support and encouragement without leaving your home. In addition, you can often share struggles with online friends that you can't share with those in real life. These groups can be specific to a religion, teaching method or curriculum, or can be open to all homeschoolers. They are wonderful sources of ideas and information for both new and experienced homeschoolers.
  • Because your children will have more time to learn than public/ private school children, arrange activities outside the syllabus, like reading up on the history of European royalty, learning a new language or skill. This will give them a more whole rounded education.
  • Be sure to plan fun excursions. Like visits to the museum or botanical gardens. Because your child gets the full attention of his/ her teacher, he/she is likely to learn more from this trips than usual school excursions.
  • Regular trips to the library will cultivate a spirit of self- learning- something which public school educated children rarely develop. This also cultivates the love of reading in your child. Your child is sure to thank you for this.

Homeschool.com's Top 100 Educational Web Sites of 2008

Selected By: Homeschool.com

Reference

Gateway Educational Materials 
http://thegateway.org

Ed Helper
http://www.edhelper.com

Learning Page
http://www.learningpage.com

Britannica
http://www.britannica.com

Discovery School
http://school.discovery.com

Educator's Reference Desk
http://www.eduref.org

Internet Public Library 
http://www.ipl.org

Merit Badge Research Center
http://www.meritbadge.com

New York Times Learning Network 
http://www.nytimes.com/learning

ThinkQuest 
http://www.thinkquest.org

Miscellaneous

Autism Today
http://www.autismtoday.com

BBC Online Learning
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/basic_skills.shtml

Ideal Lives
http://www.ideallives.com

Tutor.com
http://www.tutor.com

Math

Ask Dr. Math 
http://mathforum.org/dr.math

The Math Worksheet Site
http://www.TheMathWorksheetSite.com

Math Goodies.com 
http://www.mathgoodies.com

Math Playground
http://www.mathplayground.com

Mega-Mathematics 
http://www.c3.lanl.gov/mega-math

Purple Math 
http://www.purplemath.com

Web Math 
http://www.webmath.com

Science

BrainPOP 
http://www.brainpop.com

Chem4Kids 
http://www.chem4kids.com

Exploratorium 
http://www.exploratorium.edu

HowStuffWorks 
http://www.howstuffworks.com

Imagine the Universe! 
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov

InnerBody 
http://www.InnerBody.com

Kids Dig Reed 
http://www.kidsdigreed.com

Life Beyond Earth 
http://www.pbs.org/lifebeyondearth

Science Friday
http://www.sciencefriday.com/kids

NASA Kids 
http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov

Neuroscience for Kids 
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neurok.html

Nine Planets 
http://www.nineplanets.org

Ocean Planet Home Page 
http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/ocean_planet.html

Sci4Kids 
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids

StarChild 
http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

The Electronic Zoo 
http://netvet.wustl.edu/e-zoo.htm

The Franklin Institute: Learning Resources 
http://sln.fi.edu

The MAD Scientist Network 
http://www.madsci.org

The Yuckiest Site on the Internet 
http://yucky.kids.discovery.com

Try Science 
http://www.tryscience.org

Arts & Crafts

Arts Workshop 
http://www.childrensmuseum.org/artsworkshop/index.html

ArtsEDGE
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org

Art Lessons for All Grades
http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/lessons.html

Inside Art
http://www.eduweb.com/insideart

Kinder Art
http://www.kinderart.com

Crayola
http://www.crayola.com

Kids Space 
http://www.kids-space.org

Reading

Starfall
http://www.starfall.com

How To Learn 
http://www.howtolearn.com

Bartleby.com 
http://www.bartleby.com

Children's Literature Web Guide 
http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown

Pink Monkey 
http://www.pinkmonkey.com

Project Gutenberg 
http://www.gutenberg.net

Wowio.com
http://www.wowio.com

Writing

ABC Teach
http://www.abcteach.com

CRAYON - Create Your Own Newspaper 
http://crayon.net

Free Rice
http://www.freerice.com/index.php

Maggies Earth Adventures
http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/adventure/grammar1.htm

Online Writing Guide
http://oswego.org/staff/tcaswell/wg/para.htm

Take Our Word.com 
http://www.takeourword.com

The Write Site 
http://www.writesite.org

What Makes a Good Story? 
http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature

Word Central 
http://www.wordcentral.com

Geography and Virtual Travel

Amazon Interactive 
http://www.eduweb.com/amazon.html

Colonial Williamsburg: Electronic Field Trips
http://www.history.org/trips

CyberBee
http://www.cyberbee.com

Global Online Adventure Learning Site
http://www.goals.com/Index.htm

The Jason Project
http://www.jasonproject.org

Virtual Field Trips
http://www.uen.org/utahlink/tours

Xpeditions @ National Geographic
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions

HyperHistory Online 
http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html

K-12 Africa Guide 
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Home_Page/AFR_GIDE.html

Lewis and Clark 
http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark

Life in the Middle Ages 
http://www.kyrene.k12.az.us/schools/brisas/sunda/ma/mahome.htm

New Perspectives on the West 
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest

States and Capitals 
http://www.50states.com

The American Civil War Homepage 
http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war

The Canada War Museum 
http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/kidsection/cwmindexeng.html

The Civil War Homepage 
http://www.civil-war.net

The Oregon Trail 
http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/Oregontrail.html

Geography Worksheets
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/freeprintables/qt/geogprintables.htm

White House for Kids 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids

Homeschooling

About Homeschooling 
http://www.homeschooling.about.com

Homeschool Learning Network
http://www.homeschoollearning.com/approaches/

A to Z Home's Cool
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/

Homeschool Blogger
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/home.php

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/

Homeschooling Forms
http://www.donnayoung.org

Homeschool Oasis
http://www.homeschooloasis.com/

The Well Trained Mind
http://www.welltrainedmind.com/

Educational Games

I know that
http://www.iknowthat.com

Study Stack
http://www.studystack.com

Family Fun
http://www.familyfun.com

Teach With Movies
http://www.teachwithmovies.org

The Smart Guide to Financial Aid
http://www.finaid.com

Fun Brain
http://www.funbrain.com

Study Spanish
http://www.studyspanish.com

By Kids For Kids
http://www.bkfk.com/

Family Travel
http://www.familytravel.com

SOURCE


Top 50 Homeschooling Blogs


  • Spunky Homeschool: Written by a homeschooling mother of 6, this blog is no longer regularly updated but still contains some great educational news and commentary for those teaching kids at home or anywhere else.
  • Here in the Bonny Glen: Melissa Wiley, author of a number of books about Laura Ingalls Wilder's great grandmother, blogs here about her experience homeschooling, planning resources and more.
  • True Blue Semi-Crunchy Mama: This vegan stay at home mom, homeschooler and freelancer writer shares her experiences on this site.
  • Large Family Logistics: Written by the mother of a growing family, this blog gives insight into managing the day-to-day affairs of homeschooling a big family: from planning lunches to helping your children learn.
  • Guilt-Free Homeschooling: This blog is great reading material for those looking for advice and encouragement when starting out homeschooling. Written by 11 year veteran of homeschooling Carolyn Morrison, readers can take advantage of her experience by asking their own questions.
  • Why Homeschool?: This blog explores some of the benefits of schooling your children at home. Find posts on socializing your children, learning to communicate, educational resources and more.
  • Atypical Life: Mother of four Andrea has ten years of homeschooling experience and this blog chronicles her experiences raising and teaching her children.
  • Homeschool2College: Homeschooling high school kids and not sure how to send them to college? This blog can provide information and resources to help make sure your kids are prepared and that you'll be able to afford all those college expenses.
  • Notes from a Homeschooling Mom: Here you'll find a plethora of resources to help you learn and understand what homeschooling is like. Be sure to check out the multi-part series on "A Typical Homeschooling Day".
  • Our Homeschool Journey: This blog is about Misty's experience raising her five children, her daily trials, and adventures in homeschooling.
  • Relaxed Homeskool: This blog focuses on "unschooling" and can be a great resource for those who want to homeschool their children using non-traditional methods.
  • HomeSchoolBuzz: This blog is a great feed for news related to homeschooling. Find educational games to play with your kids as well as information about homeschooling success stories here.
  • The Home School Mom: Those looking for a great collection of homeschooling resources need look no further than the Home School Mom. Here, homeschooling parents can find information on getting organized, finding freebies, and find local help and resources.
  • Home Where They Belong: Gena Suarez blogs all about news in the homeschooling world at large and how politics can affect your homeschool decisions.
  • 01 Charger: This blog looks at homeschooling from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who is being homeschooled by her mother and can be a good way for your homeschooled kids to network and read about the experiences of other homeschoolers.
  • By Sun and Candlelight: This Catholic home-educating wife and mother of three boys blogs about her day-t-day experiences educating her children and managing a busy life.
  • Dewey's Treehouse: This Canadian family blogs about their daily life and the adventures and discoveries they make homeschooling their children.
  • Eclectic Education: Mom Lynn blogs about her experience homeschooling and caring for her two young sons, dealing with everything from sick kids to setting goals for yourself and your kids. You'll also find a number of links to educational resources to help your kids learn more.
  • Heart of Wisdom Blog: Those wanting to integrate their religious beliefs into their homeschooling activities will find numerous resources on this site to help you as well as loads of plans, articles, and more.
  • One Child Policy Homeschool: Not sure how to homeschool your only child? Get some insight from this mom who is homeschooling her lone daughter.
  • Preschoolers and Peace: This blog is written by a mom of seven who has homeschooled all of her children. Learn from her experiences and read about other homeschooling mothers who have provided a source of inspiration for her.
  • Principled Discovery: This blog discusses issues related to faith, homeschooling, and family to give you information and insight on the homeschooling experience from a Christian perspective.
  • The Common Room: This blog is collectively written by a family of nine and chronicles their experiences learning and living together as a family, plus loads of links to homeschooling resources and blogs.
  • The Mango Times: Unlike many homeschool blogs, this one is written by a father of homeschooled children. Read about his adventures with his eight children and his experiences in the field of dentistry.
  • A Family Runs Through It: This stay-at-home dad blogs about his experiences homeschooling his children, keeping up with chores and life in north Idaho.
  • Blessed Among Men: This Catholic mom blogs about homeschooling her five active boys. You'll find tons of entertaining quotes from the kids on the blog, cooking ideas and thoughts on religion.
  • Cottage Blessings: Written by newspaper columnist Alice O'Brien Gunther, this blog discusses home education for her seven children, faith, homemaking, and even a bit of literature.
  • Fast Times at Homeschool High: If you're looking for a different perspective on homeschooling, look no further than this blog. This mother of 6 children homeschools one, juggles numerous pets, and still makes time for her partner.
  • Karen Edminsten: This mom shares her thoughts on educating her children, religion, and day-to-day things that make her smile.
  • S/V Mari Hal-o-Jen: Think it's hard homeschooling your kids from your kitchen table? Imagine if that table were on a boat! That's just what this family does and you can read about it in this blog.
  • Mental Multivitamin: This is the homeschooling blog for those who love to read. This homeschooling mom writes about the lessons her kids are learning as well as some of the education she's receiving as a consequence.
  • Cindy Rushton's Desktop: Blogger Cindy Rushton talks about her family, ministry and homeschooling in this blog. You'll also find links to homeschooling help and two ezines.
  • Fearlessly Feminine: This young blogger writes about her experience growing up in homeschooling and shares insights to to her faith as well.
  • My Smoky Mountain Homeschool: This mother of three blogs about her homeschooling experience in the smoky mountains and gives recommendations of fun projects and subjects to study with your children.
  • Spritibee: This Christian homeschooling mom posts about topics like starting out homeschooling, why she homeschools and provides some basic unit plans for other homeschoolers to use.
  • The Heart of the Matter: Find support in other homeschooling parents as well as tips, printouts, projects, ideas for saving money and more on this great and informative blog.
  • Effervescence: This mom and blogger writes about her lively experience homeschooling her two sons. Read about her daily life and even get some recommendations on podcasts here.
  • Alexander's Maitresse: This New York based mother writes about homeschooling her son using classical education methods.
  • Life at the Academy: This blog follows the goings on of a private in-home academy in Louisiana and the challenges of homeschooling as well as a few humorous quotes from her children.
  • Life in Washington: This family of four's adventures in homeschooling and otherwise are journaled in this blog. You can read about this mother's struggles and triumphs in schooling her children.
  • Kitchen Table Learners: In this blog you'll find links to tons of helpful homeschooling and educational resources to improve your homeschooling experience.
  • SCHOLA: This blog, for the secular homeschooling parent, follows the daily life of a homeschooling mother and gives recommendations of reading materials and ideas for topics of study for your homeschooled kids.
  • School at Home: This blog is written by a homeschooling family in Minnesota that loosely follows a Classical and Charlotte Mason format. You'll find education news, lesson plans, reading lists, homeschooling resources, and more.
  • Teach Your Children Well: Here you can read about one parent's challenges in homeschooling her son, and as a bonus, find links to printables and lesson plans.
  • Home School Home: This Kentucky based work-at-home and homeschooling mother shares her thoughts and ideas on homeschooling in this informative blog.
  • Homeschool Math Blog: Math isn't often a child's favorite subject, but you can find new ways to teach it and get some helpful resources from this blog.
  • Bubba's House O' Fine Learnin': This blog is written by a fun loving mother of four and discusses her adventures raising and educating her children.
  • Crazy Everyday Blessings: This mother of three blogs about her experiences with one child in college, one being homeschooled and one that's still a toddler.
  • Holy Experience: Here, you'll find posts from a Canadian mother homeschooling her children and trying to find religion in everyday life.
  • Learning and Fun Online for Kids: This blog is full of links, resources, games and more to make learning more fun and exciting for your homeschooled children.
  • 2 comments:

    Christophe Popper said...

    Hi,

    i think you might also like:

    www.kbteachers.com
    and www.kbears.com

    Enjoy Kuwait!!

    Chris

    Homeschool Mother said...

    These are great steps for homeschooling!