by Ann Bowers
The first thing you must obtain is a copy of your state or country’s academic standards for each educational level. These give you a specific set of goals that define the content taught at each level, in each grade, and when the content may be considered to have been mastered. This document used to be called “Scope and Sequence.” While you aren’t required to follow the standards exactly, at some point, your child should have mastered them. The academic standards allow you to evaluate whether or not your children are keeping pace with students in traditional schools. This is important in case you ever want your children to return to the local school system, take a standardized achievement test, or attend university. Knowing the standards will also reassure you that you are teaching everything that children need to learn.
There are many approaches to home schooling. Here are some of them:
- Structured schooling means teaching the state standards in an organized, goal-oriented manner.
- Interest based, sometimes called “unschooling,” is learning through real life experiences. Children pursue their own interests and the parents provide encouragement, resources and activities that teach necessary skills and knowledge through the child’s interests.
- A learning style approach is used with children who have a dominant learning style, such as kinesthetic (tactile) or auditory.
- A philosophical style of education is structured according to the tenets of an educational philosophy espoused by educational experts, such as “Back To Basics.” The accelerated approach is used with children who are extremely intelligent, have a special talent, or want to reach a specific occupational goal.
- The accommodating approach is used when a child has a special need.
- In a unit based approach, the teaching and learning is focused on a particular topic for a period of time and each child learns about the topic at his/her own level of understanding.
- A community approach involves the family in community activities, including religious groups, youth organizations, and volunteer activities outside the home.
- The eclectic approach includes any combination of the above!
You probably will purchase some items, but before you do, search through what you already have. Determine where in the home you will teach the children. Prepare the area with desks or a large table, chairs, bookcases, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paper, a computer. Organize your books by fiction and non-fiction, including reference books, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses. Learning games and toys, such as Monopoly, puzzles, blocks, cards, Scrabble, Life, and so forth are very useful.
Ann Bowers has been an elementary school teacher, in kindergarten through 8th grade, for 20 years.
She was a Bilingual Education Grant Project Coordinator for seven years and a school principal for seven. She has a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Education, and holds
California Life Teaching Credentials and specialist credentials in Remedial Reading and Teaching English as a Second Language. She is retired and has started a second career as a freelance writer.
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