How to Begin Homeschooling Online

Did you know that statistics relate that 5% of all school aged children in America homeschool? With the numbers of homeschoolers growing rapidly, many of them are choosing the online option. While there are many incredibly different yet viable methods of homeschooling, the online option is definitely one that is attracting more and more attention. What makes homeschooling online such a viable option? For each family, that would be different but here are just a few reasons…

  • Ease of Use
  • Burden of Teaching isn’t on one person
  • Reaches varying learning styles
  • Keeps students engaged
  • 24/7 access to courses
  • Immediate feedback/grading
  • Records are usually kept
  • Organization/Lesson plans are pre-made

Before you begin homeschooling or before you choose a specific curriculum, check with your state’s requirements for homeschooling. Make sure that you have fulfilled or can fulfill those requirements with the curriculum that you choose. As online homeschooling has grown so have the resources that help you accomplish it. In just the past few years, this area of homeschooling has grown exponentially. There are a myriad of varying resources that you find in one google search. Yet, in your decision making process just take a minute to write down the characteristics of the curriculum that you think would fit your family. There are so many different “kinds” of online homeschool options, I really could write a book! But to make this post short and sweet (and hopefully helpful) I’ll limit it to a few bullet points.

  • Video streaming
  • Animated teaching, songs, games
  • Complete curriculum
  • A la carte curriculum (choose what you want or need)
  • Text and Online curriculum combination
  • Online testing (provides immediate feedback)
  • Virtual school (connected with the public school – accountability to them)
  • Interactive games

It’s pretty easy to implement an online homeschool curriculum. You typically will have to sign up or register and pay a fee. Once you’ve got “log in ” information, it’s simply a matter of learning. Some parents will still want to set up some type of schedule and accountability measures to make sure that a progression of learning is made. However, some of the online programs will have a complete set of lesson plans that are premade. This allows the parent to simply schedule the particular lesson on a certain day. While every homeschool family has different tastes, homeschooling online is very flexible. Many curricula have created apps that allow the student to continue working while traveling. This makes doctor’s appointments a breeze! Since we have highschool as well as fourth grade online curriculum we’ve got alot to keep track of. At our house we do maintain a semblence of a schedule which keeps us moving forward. ¬†Here’s what I typically do when I begin a new year:

  • Check with my state – to make sure that we are still in compliance
  • Review what my children have already learned and then research and discover what they need to learn next and set goals
  • Research curriculum that will help me accomplish their goals
  • Purchase curriculum
  • Review scope and sequence
  • Align our calendar schedule to cover the scope and sequence for the year
  • Set assignments for the kids and set up any type of record keeping or grading that I plan on using (some online curriculum will do this for you)

Teaching a Kindergartner without Losing Your Mind!

kindergarten curriculumI am finally on my last kindergartner… I almost can’t believe it! It seems like yesterday my oldest daughter was struggling her way through kindergarten. One thing I have learned with my six children is that every angle one of them is TOTALLY different. If you think that you can just teach each of your children the same way, you’ll be disappointed. It would definitely be easier… But it just doesn’t work out that way.

I had to learn that lesson the hard way, but I did eventually learn that each of my children would require a slightly different learning regiment and thus I became an eclectic homeschooler. So, as I’ve gone though the last several years we have come across a few great pieces of curriculum that do work for most kids. These are typically our staple pieces, and we add additional resources as each individual child’s needs demand. Resources that allow your child to learn flexibly are perfect.

1.Remember that the kindergartner is still only 5. Their bodies still need lots of movement, and they still learn almost solely from “doing.” If we try to fit them into the same mold as older children – we as well as they – will be frustrated.
2. As your plan your kindergarten homeschool curriculum… Or change it if it isn’t working… Make allowances for lots of activity. Your little one should not be spending several hours sitting in a chair writing or sitting still at a computer. (Though using the computer is a great resource!) Break things up… Fill your day with variety! Go outside for science… Write your letters in the sand… Add with mom while she cooks…
3. Use learning resources that your child ENJOYS! If they constantly say they hate doing something…lay off of it for a while and come back to it after they have a bit of a break!
4. Get to know your child…find their strengths and weaknesses. Plan your learning around what these are.

Art can Bring You Together…

I love doing art, crafting, and sewing. There is something about getting those creative juices flowing that really helps me relax and de-stress. Over this past school year, I have made it a point to have a weekly art class with my children. I wanted to go to art school… but, I chose teacher ed instead… hmm….¬† anyway… I love teaching it and doing art. So, we gather all the kids together and break out the art supplies.

I cannot tell you how much fun it has been. Even the most reluctant drawers in our family have gotten in the habit of spending an hour together just creating. It is so relaxing and all 7 of us enjoy this time every Friday afternoon. Yet, besides the relaxation and destressing… we start to just chat. Getting to know each of my children in this new way has been awesome.

I know not everyone can teach their children art. Yet, there are so many SUPER self teaching art books out there designed for every age, that makes this endeavor possible for everyone. You may not be able to draw anything but stick figures, but sitting down and going through an art book or using an online art curriculum with your child… just giving it your best shot… will allow you to enjoy each other’s company and find an amazing new way to channel your inner creativity!