How to homeschool? That is probably the first question a person asks when considering the adventure of homeschooling. Initially the whole prospect of deciding to home school, can not only be exciting, but downright scary! I have a few friends that I know have been considering it for years, but due to their child's special needs, or what they think is their own lack of education, (from being out of school for years) they just do not think they would be capable of doing it. These are all normal ways to react to such a change but in order to make that jump, getting over that proverbial hurdle, learning about the hows is essential.
The first thing I would tell someone that is thinking about homeschooling their child is to check out the home school laws and regulations for the state in which they reside. Also it's a good idea to check out the regulations through the Home School Legal Defense Association. (HSLDA) In the state I live in, it is a requirement that you must send a Notice of Intent to Operate a School to the Department of Non-Public Education once your oldest child turns 7. The state also requires you keep attendance and administer a yearly nationally standardized achievement test once your child turns 7 years old. The testing can be done in different ways, as you can do group testing through a home school group, there are some tests you can administer yourself, or you can have one on one testing done with a trained professional. This is the way we have chosen, and do the Woodcock-Johnson III test, as it works really well with my son's various special needs.
Next, I would decide on what type of approach you want to use in your home school. There is Classical homeschooling, The Charlotte Mason Method, unschooling, Montessori, Internet Homeschooling, Waldorf, Unit Studies, and honestly the list could go on and on. Your child's individual learning style is a major deciding factor in which approach (if any) you decide to implement. For us, it's a mix of several, taken and shook up...which is also a style called eclectic homeschooling. I love the concept of Charlotte Mason and its focus on literature and nature and like to think we lean that direction. We mix that up with our internet curriculum, add some unit studies, with a dash of unschooling. Some families choose to follow the public school's calendar for when they home school, but for us we learn year around. We take extra time off around the holidays, plan family trips off season, and switch over to unschooling in the summer. (well, for A~man we do keep it a bit more scheduled as he works best knowing what is expected) It truly is wonderful that you can pick and choose what works best for each of your children.
Over the last 6 years I have discovered that homeschooling has become a lifestyle for our family. Currently both hubby and I are working from home, which allows one of us to work with the kids while the other accomplishes other tasks. It is also nice to have my husband involved in the teaching and in the many field trips and outings we take with friends. Our home school Lego and Robotics Academy is a great example of that, and I pretty much let the hubby be in charge of that. I have also found that homeschooling has really made me aware of the saying "Home is where the heart is". Truly, homeschooling I feel, has created such a deep sense of family that I cannot imagine doing anything else.