Homeschool – Field trips

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Homeschool – Field trips

If you are going over a particular subject with the family and
feel that a field trip would be beneficial, then that’s what you
should do – go for a trip. If you are attached to a support group,
you can plan to include other children too.

Here are some guidelines that will help you plan:
1) Collect the rates
2) Allowed ages
3) Special highlights
4) Size of the group
5) Timings
6) Eating facilities

Inform your support group of all these details well in advance so
that the necessary circulars may be sent out. On the appointed
day, arrange to meet with other parents and children in a
particular place. Plan the mode of travel and reach the place at
least 10 minutes in advance.

The field trip is not just fun. So, let your kids bring their
writing material. Allow them time to stare and admire. Do not
hurry them along. Collect data beforehand so that you can clear
doubts. Get help from a guide, if necessary. And most importantly,
have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your children.


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Why Do People Home School Their Children?

Of course in India there are many options to educating our children. There are public schools, private schools, charter schools, Montessori schools and, of course, the option of home schooling. There are advocates of both home schooling and public schooling. Those of us who don’t home school, which is still the majority of Indians, need to fully understand the reasons why people choose to home school their children.

Religious or Philosophical Convictions:

Religion is not permitted in the public schools. Many families feel that religion needs to be a larger part of their child’s education than that which the public schools allow.

People who have deep religious beliefs show great passion. These are the individuals who are passionate about their children’s education and feel that only they are able to teach them to the best of their ability and the content that they feel they should be learning. The home schooling parent is in charge, they call the shots and they like it that way.

Socialization:

Some people that don’t understand home schooling believe that it is confining rather than socializing. But those individuals that believe that are stuck in thinking about the stereotypical socialization of an age-based classroom. Children that are home schooled are exposed to social situations in a mixed age range. They have “age-mates” instead of “class-mates”.

Many home schoolers feel that their children need to be exposed to the appropriate ways to behave not inappropriate. They feel that their child should be exposed to the model behavior of people who have learned to make decisions and handle themselves in various social settings. By being exposed to appropriate modeling of social behavior, home-schooled children will learn how to act appropriately.

Parents of home schooled children can also see when their child “gets-it” when they model for a younger child appropriate behavior.

Home-schooled children get a reality based social lesson. On a daily basis they see adults they know, love and trust manage and balance life day to day. Modeled for them is academics balanced with real life chores; caring for a sick friend or neighbor, shoveling the driveway and walkway, doing the grocery shopping and dropping of the dry cleaning, cooking dinner while folding laundry, putting laundry away and talking on the phone with Aunt Sara. These are real life situations that home schoolers are exposed to and public school children are often sheltered from or are privy to a controlled school environment.

Academics:

Home schoolers have several advantages over publicly schooled children. The curriculum is designed specifically for them – not for children their age and what children at a particular age are expected to know and learn. Public schools differentiate instruction the best they can. However, a home-schooled child has a curriculum tailored to their needs. They may read at a 4 th grade level, spell at a 3 rd grade level and complete math at a 6 th grade level.

A home-schooled child is neither rushed nor not given enough time. There are no other children to “keep busy” so they are free to work at their pace and move as quickly or as slowly as need be.

Much research has been done on how children learn best. A home-schooled child is not only taught by the person who knows them best in the entire world but also since they are the only student, the learning style never has to be varied. If a student learns best through music, then the curriculum of a home-schooled child can be tailored to meet their needs so they will be more successful.

Home-schooled children get to spend more quality time as a family. They are not trapped in a traditional school setting for 6 hours a day but are free to spend quality time as a family every day.

It is said that parents are a child’s first teacher. Families that home school want to continue to be their child’s teacher because they feel that their children need the guidance of their family and God and not the guidance of someone hired to do a job that is naturally theirs from the day their child was born.


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Homeschooling and the family

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost
1.1 million children underwent homeschooling in 2021 alone. That’s
a lot of children. Once upon a time, homeschooling used to be a
radical statement – something like a declaration of independence.
It was the conservative Christians who advocated homeschooling in
the ’80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical
homeschooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of
the public school systems
where much of the learning is
superficial and compulsory. They are also concerned about negative
school environment ranging from drugs and abuse to negative peer
pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of people who form
the homeschooling world of today. They cut across all religious
and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and
productive learning
through a method that strengthens the bond
between the various members of the family.

All these families have one thing in common – a long enduring
commitment to the sanctity of childhood. The children in these
families are accorded a primary position. Many believe, and
rightly so, that homeschooling allows parents to bring up children
in a more natural and nurturing environment. Public schools can
make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who get
schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative
influences till they reach an age where they can handle it
.

Homeschooling draws the whole family into the almost religious
task of schooling. Everyone is put to work. The parents together
form a bond with the children. Any experience can be turned into
an educational experience. Both the parents are aware of exactly
what is going into their child’s head. Parents also have greater
control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child
imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning
experience. Trips to the libraries and other places become
educational as well as recreational.

A homeschooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one
earning member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed
and proper planning of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring
the family members together and everybody gets involved in the
process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the
children brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your
husband chips in and there just is no room for boredom. Yes,
problems do crop up, and there are a lot of misgivings in your
mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on you,
and your kids know it too, then homeschooling becomes a richly
rewarding experience.


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How to Homeschool Your Child?

Now that you have decided that homeschooling is the way to educate
your child, get ready for the ecstasy and the anxiety – the road
ahead is a bit bumpy, but the rewards more than make up for it.
Producing a well-adjusted and well-rounded personality is no mean
achievement.

First of all, it is important to check out your state laws on home
schooling
. Some states need an affidavit filed with the State’s
education department. There are basically 3 categories for
homeschooling
laws. These are: private school laws, home education
laws and equivalency laws
. Find your state laws. You may also need
to maintain a portfolio that records the child’s educational
progress
. It is important to look into the legal requirements
BEFORE you start homeschooling. Some States also stipulate a
minimum educational qualification for the parent or teacher.

Next, look for a support group. If you live in a friendly or
curious neighborhood, well-meaning friends will try to dissuade
you. At the very least, they may put a lot of uneasy questions in
your mind. A support group that consists of like-minded people
will insulate you from the criticism, pressures and questions of
regular school-goers. Many groups organize fun events like visits
to the zoo, museum, tours to the ice cream shops
etc. And if your
children hit it off with other homeschoolers, they will be able to
build lasting relationships that do not fade when their friends
change schools. These groups provide an important avenue for
socialization.

The next important thing to do is to select a curriculum.
Depending upon the method of homeschooling, you may choose various
tools that aid you in this process. The internet is also a rich
resource for homeschooling. Do some research and look into the
material that is available.

Set certain ground rules. Homeschooling requires a lot of
self-discipline and hard work. Here is a comprehensive list of the
things you will need:
1) Eagerness to learn
2) Hard work and effort
3) Discipline
4) Time and patience
5) Flexibility
6) Enthusiasm

Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and
your reasons are important pillars on which the whole edifice of
your child’s lessons depends. Also, consult with your children.
Ask them what they feel about homeschooling.

Select a curriculum or custom-make a curriculum that best suits
your child
. Record keeping is an important part of homeschooling.
Look into the various methods of record keeping. Set up a
schedule
. Your child does not have to learn 6-7 hours a day. Allow
him or her to dictate the time. Flexibility and fun are the
cornerstones of homeschooling. Do not stuff too many skills into a
single term or year. Prepare a skill list. Make the child learn
the skills that he is ready for.

Gentle parenting is the secret to successful homeschooling.
Children make great advances in learning and show more enthusiasm.
They also turn out to be surprisingly well balanced and well
informed when they are taught at home.


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Home Schooling Teenagers: Preparing For College

Most of the high school years are spent preparing for college and discovering passions for future careers.  This is a time when most home schoolers do not follow a textbook driven curriculum.  Most home schoolers learn by interest driven curriculum and some students even become experts in their field. 

There are diploma programs for home schoolers, which are equivalent to an institutionalized curriculum.  But that is not the only option to provide learning.  Many home schooled teens use selected correspondence courses in specific areas of interest, or take classes at community colleges, or use community education programs, home school cooperatives, or online classes on the Internet.  Students have the opportunity to pursue what they enjoy, which usually involves extra training with a mentor or tutor, or special courses.  There are advance placement courses online or by mail, county immediate school district programs, or private classes, the learning options are endless.

Teenagers should really focus their energies on schoolwork, excellent grades (and grade point average) and the direction they wish to take for a career.  If a student is interested in pursuing a college degree, he/she should practice and prepare to take PSAT, SAT, and ACT.  Some home schooled students get college credits for taking CLEP (College Level Examination Program) courses.  Colleges are seeking students who are well rounded, who have a desire to learn and be a part of the community, and who excel in textbook studies. 

Parents who home school their teenagers cannot teach them everything they are interested in learning.  For instance, a student who is passionate about flying and aviation probably doesn’t have parents who are experts in this field.  Mentorships, apprenticeships, and on the job training are necessary to better learn a skill or trade that is not found only in a textbook.  Experience is more valuable than textbook memorization of subjects.


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Home schooling Teenagers: Curriculum

When designing a curriculum for home schooled teenagers, parents cooperate with their teens and plan the school year together.  Some parents prefer the traditional, text book driven curriculum, especially during the high school years because it opens up options for diplomas and college preparatory courses.  A structured curriculum is not the only way to earn a diploma when home schooling.  Other parents and teenagers prefer the interest driven curriculum, where teenagers are motivated to learn interesting subjects and apply it to the curriculum. 

For college admissions, there are core courses that should be taken.  English, math, science, and social studies should be worked on each year.  Health, language, and fine arts are another batch of classes that should be included each academic year.  This ensures a well rounded individual who has learned the essentials for the age level. 

Parents should not be discouraged to pursue the interest driven approach while still completing the same college preparatory high school curriculum.  Reading and writing is an essential part to communication, which is vital in society.  Most homeschoolers read plenty of books and visit the library often; on average, home school students read many more books than the institutionalized student.  After each book, the student writes an essay, and spelling lists are derived from misspelled words.

When it comes to math, home schoolers use real life math problems, such as consumer math, statistics, gaming and probability, recreational math, mental math, math history, and especially bookkeeping.  Some students use math programs on the computer or Internet.  With math, the repetitive practicing of problems is the only way to learn.

Science can be found anywhere, without a formal lab.  Home schoolers visit hospitals, rivers, volcanoes (if they are lucky!), and any work place.  Many attend camps and field trips and learn biology, botany and astronomy.  When home schooling, students are open to so many more fields of interest such as:  meteorology, paleontology, nutrition, health, equine science, herpetology, nature studies, engineering, physiology, and even psychology.  This is why most home schooled students do not stick to a boring, limited textbook curriculum.


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Home Schooling Teenagers

Home schooling a teenager is much different than home schooling a younger child.  Teenagers usually know what they enjoy learning about and have a goal in mind about what they would like to do as a career.  Home school is a great way to enhance and explore specific areas of expertise.  Teenagers usually plan out their own curriculum and document their own record keeping, which teaches accountability.  Most teens are capable of self study and self monitoring; they usually know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

Teenagers should be making decisions on what they plan to do after school.  They may plan on going to college, military, community college, or maybe something else.  College is just one option.  Interest, passions, hobbies, past times can all be turned into a career.  A parent should research career options with your teenager by their gut feelings and instincts and nothing else.  Do not let anything else get in the way of an intense passion that your child holds.  Even if it is something you think will not make enough income, it is a passion.  When someone does what they love, money comes.

This is a time during home school years that a parent may wonder if they can keep their children at home.  Parents need to find out about diploma options.  Some home schooled teenagers receive a GED, which stands for general education development, and is equivalent to a high school diploma.  Parents may also research about college preparatory curriculums and classes that may supplement their home studies

During these teenage years, it is crucial to include the student in as many extracurricular activities as possible.  Some activities may include:  sports, working in a family business, self-employment, tutoring, community memberships, local arts productions, etc.  Keep good documentation of awards, essays, interviews, and recommendations for future college requirements. 


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Home Schooling Six to Eight Year Olds

Whether a child has been to an institutionalized school or has been home schooled forever, many six to eight year olds enjoy learning.  As a parent, understanding how your child learns, which temperament is their strongest, and what type of intelligence they excel in will greatly assist in the teaching/learning process.  Six to eight year olds learn best when they are having fun.  Reading to the child is essential to their learning experience.  Read about a variety of subjects, such as animals, mystery, history, fantasy, classics, and adventures.  Visit the library often and see what they offer.  Some offer reading and art classes or other activities.  Purchasing a phonics book will dramatically help your child to understand how words are phonetically read out loud. 

Another lesson for this age group is writing skills.  Although the child may have difficulty writing, they certainly can talk up a storm.  Scribing for your child as they tell a story is a great way for them to see it written down.  Have them draw pictures by the words that you have written for them.  Narration is also a great tool to learning language skills.  Read to your child and have them repeat in their own words what the story was about.  Remember to keep all these lessons fun and stress free.  Children learn at their own pace as long as there is daily practice there is nothing to worry about.

When working with arithmetic, try to incorporate a lot of real life situations, such as cooking, or trips to the grocery store, etc.  Science is another subject that is learned best in its natural setting.  Read about snakes and then go to a zoo to see some.  Name all the animals at the zoo and then write about it later.  See how many different birds are outside your home and try to name them.  The hands on approach is often the easiest way to learn.  Walk on the beach and name all the animals, hike in the mountains and notice the different landscapes, collect specimens, notice changing seasons, the world is a learning experience.

In addition, parents want to teach their children responsibility and accountability with household chores.  This is an excellent way for child to learn that they are capable and that they are needed in the family.

Overall, children in this age group enjoy combining research with creative projects, such as crafts, costumes, foods, reports, place setting, home decorations, music, and imagination play.  With every activity, each subject can be incorporated easily.  A purchased curriculum is not necessary, learning is inevitable.


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Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds

When home schooling a child between nine and twelve years old, there is a lot of pressure for peer pressure.  Keep in mind that not all children undergo this pressure to be with and like their peers, while distancing themselves from their parents.  These preteens still need plenty of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents.  Believe it or not, children at this age do still enjoy being read to.  Keep having positive attitudes toward learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging.  Make sure you use positive constructive criticism with the least amount of academic pressure possible.  Focus on providing a safe, secure learning environment that encourages love, acceptance and reassurance.  This will, in time, raise their feelings of self worth and help them understand where their values lie. 

At this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning in curriculum is suggested.  Preteens prefer learning skills that have a reason or purpose in real life.  For instance, instead of offering busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company in regards to a defective household product for you.  Not only would this make the child feel important but the learning task would be a skill much needed in real life.  When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgeting, perhaps even balancing a checkbook.  Use graphs and charts to set goals with earned money and savings.  Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but performing experiments or identifying specimens in nature is much more engaging.  Daily and weekly chores are necessary to learn responsibility and accountability as an integral part of the family. 

Remember to always model what you want to teach.  Learn new topics together.  Dissect a grasshopper for science, work on the family budget together, etc.  Home schooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children.  Find out where your preteen has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.


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Record keeping in Homeschooling

A topic that frequently comes up in meetings and forums that deal
with homeschooling is record keeping. The importance of record
keeping cannot be ignored. It is not only legally required in
various States, but also provides important milestones in your
child’s learning experience. An interest-initiated homeschooling
approach means that the topic of studies is far ranging and
multifarious. Thus, it can be something of a challenge to write
quarterly reports for the school district, when it is difficult
to classify learning into neatly pigeonholed areas.

Record keeping is important not only for the sake of regulations.
It is also an exciting way to record and document the learning
process of the child. When most of the learning is done through
play and there is no clear cut index of topics that have to be
covered, it is necessary for the parent to keep some sort of a log
which records the child’s progress.

The records you keep can be as simple as a daily journal, or as
elaborate as a software program. If you participate in a support
group, you probably have set forms and requirements. But even so,
keeping track of daily work makes reporting easy and efficient.

There are various record keeping methods used by various
homeschools. Some of the more popular ones are:

Journal:
This can be maintained by the teacher or the student. This
basically aims to keep a log of what was learned and what was
done. Recording memorable events that happened in the course of
the year is a great way to reminisce later on.

Daily planner:
Lay out the plans and the assignments for the week in a teacher’s
planning notebook. Check each item as it is covered. Maintain a
separate area where any additional things can be recorded. This
includes educational trips, visits and videos etc. Any extra
topics that were covered are also recorded in this area. Make a
summary every quarter.

Portfolios:
This consists of a collection of varied materials that show what
the child has achieved and done during the course of study.
Portfolio assessment is a very effective way to chart the child’s
progress. It gives structure to the otherwise loose and flexible
form of schooling called homeschooling. A drawing portfolio will
consist of some paintings or sketches that are considered the best
in that quarter. A language portfolio may consist of essays,
stories, reading-logs, spelling samples or letters. Progress in
mathematics, fine arts, history, science and social studies can
all be recorded this way. The biggest advantage is that portfolio
assessment places control in the hands of the children. Having a
tangible record of what they have established eggs them on to
greater heights.

Other than the above-mentioned systems, there are also purchased
record-keeping systems that lay out a good checklist. Some of
these allow one to personalize the organizer. Irrespective of the
methods used, record keeping in one form or the other is
essential. Your child’s future may well depend on the
well-maintained record that you have meticulously kept over the
years.