There are many important things to consider when homeschooling. Perhaps the most important is the decision of which curriculum to use. What are some features to look for in your homeschool program?
1. What's Your Teaching Style?
It's important to consider your teaching style before deciding on a homeschool program to use. Do you prefer a traditional approach, using workbooks and direct instruction? Or do you prefer a more hands-on, discovery-type method? Do you prefer to teach most subjects yourself, or would you like some courses taught online or via DVD? There are homeschooling options now that deliver almost all instruction through the Internet.
2. What's Your Child's Learning Style?
Similarly, it's vital to keep in mind the way your child learns best. A child with problems paying attention would likely not do well with a curriculum involving lots of independent seatwork, for instance. Does your child do better with hands-on instruction? Independent learning? Does he learn better by hearing or by seeing? These are all factors to consider in your curriculum choice.
Also consider your child's academic level. Although your child may be second grade age, she may be working at a first grade or third grade level - and perhaps she even needs different levels for different subjects. If you are unsure which level your child is working at, check out some grade-level materials from the library to gauge ability level.
3. What Do You Want in a Curriculum?
Make a list of things that you want in your homeschool curriculum. Do you want a Christian curriculum or a secular one? An online course? Do you want one program that covers all subjects, or do you want to use separate courses for various subjects? One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility it gives you, so take advantage of that with your curriculum. There are many choices out there, so you can be quite specific in what you want.
4. What about the Details?
Now that you have narrowed down what you are looking for, get specific about your options. What does each cost? You may want to consider buying some materials used; check out RockSolidInc.com, VegSource.com/homeschool or Ebay.com for options. Amazon.com also sells most items used as well as new. You can save a lot by purchasing used items, and don't forget that you can sell your materials once you have finished using them as well.
How much time does the program involve, both for your child and for you in preparation time?
5. Is the Program Reputable?
Is the curriculum you're considering accredited? It's important to use a program that is reputable, and accreditation by your state's educational association is a good way to gauge that it is meeting commonly agreed-upon requirements. This is also important should you decide to have your child's homeschooling grades and courses transferred to another school or college.
Deciding on a homeschool program is a big decision, but one that is worth taking the time to do right. By considering all the options that meet your needs, you will ensure a good fit for you and your child.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.