Do you have a homeschool mentor? Is there someone who helped you to get started with homeschooling? I was curious about other people’s experiences with beginning homeschooling, so I asked this question on an informal survey on my blog. (Link to post) . The results of the limited sampling of homeschoolers who responded were:
The responses that I labeled as "sort-of" are from those who either had someone who helped them with homeschool law, but not practical homeschool advice, or had mutual support from a friend who was also beginning to homeschool.
As the survey shows, there are many people who begin to homeschool without help from a homeschool veteran. I think this lack of mentoring is one of the reasons that homeschool message boards and blogs have become so popular. We are blessed that there is a tremendous amount of information about homeschooling available to us now. So much however, that it can be very difficult to wade through all the information.
I personally love to research homeschooling methods and curriculum. It has occupied a major portion of my "free" time for the last 8 years. However, I didn’t remove my children from school, but homeschooled them beginning in preschool. What would I have done if I had needed to begin homeschooling immediately without time to do all the preliminary research?
There is a new on-line course for beginning homeschoolers that I have had the opportunity to review. It offers help sorting through the overwhelming amount of information about homeschooling. This course, Homeschooling ABCs, is written by Terri Johnson of Knowledge Quest Maps. Terri is a homeschooling veteran who has been homeschooling her own children for 11 years. She is well-qualified to serve as an on-line mentor for new homeschoolers.
The class consists of 26 lessons on a variety of homeschooling topics. The lessons are downloaded one per week and are about 5-10 pages long. They include ideas for you to try in your home during the following week. The first lesson is titled "A-quick start". It includes 10 steps to begin homeschooling. Following these steps, a new homeschooler can learn how to start homeschooling in 48 hours. It provides a good solid start. The lessons continue with B-for Basics, Copy the Classroom – NOT, Dare to Differentiate, and Establish Your Philosophy. The next lessons continue in the alphabetical theme and cover a wide variety of topics including math, phonics, nature study, hands-on projects, and finding the right curriculum.
One of the best things about this course is that it is simple. Terri writes in a friendly, conversational tone. It’s the kind of advice you might receive from a friend in her living room. The lessons are short enough to be read in 10-15 minutes and they are sent weekly, so it is easy to keep up. This pace also helps to keep from overwhelming a new homeschooler. Terri has divided the many areas and issues of homeschooling into understandable segments. Reading the lessons leaves the parent encouraged and equipped, not overwhelmed and confused.
Another benefit of this course is the accompanying free products. There are 10 bonus gifts just for signing up for the class. In addition, there are free curriculum gifts that accompany many of the lessons. The only thing that I didn’t like about this class is that sometimes, especially in the early lessons, the lessons begin to seem like more of an advertisement for the accompanying free product than a lesson. The class is available for $10 each month and is billed monthly. They also offer a 60 day 100% money back guarantee.
By Kristen H.