Monday, July 25, 2011

Ten Ideas to Get Going with Homeschooing

If your children / students are not thriving in a school setting you might want to consider home education. To follow is a compilation of resources and recommendations for getting started.  

1)     Connect with others online
There many home education groups to join.  I've compiled a list of them here under the heading “Discussion Boards.”
Here is where you can get started.:
  • The Unplugged Mom's group on Facebook
  • Backyard schooling on Facebook
  • Connect with a local home education group where you can find support, community and camaraderie.
    • You can find unschooling groups in the world and in the United States at this link.
    • You can find homeschooing groups by location at this link.  
2)    Know your stats
You should know the stats of the success of those who are home educated in comparison to those who are not.  You can get started by checking out “What happens to home educated adults?”
3)     Know the law in your state
Know the home education laws and requirements in your state.  The Home School Legal Defense Association has state by state laws with which you should be familiar. You can check out the laws in your state here.  
You may also need to show how your home education meets state standards.  Sandra Dodd has ideas on how you can show curriculum requirements are being met here. She also has a suggestion for how to handle standardized tests in states that require them here.

4)     Know what becomes of home educated adults
People are often concerned about what might happen to children who are not a part of the system of compulsory education.  Many grown home schoolers are telling their stories.  Here are 20 characteristics of those who were home educated. The following post has stories, biographies, and blogs from home educated adults:  Profiles of Adults Who Were Passion Driven Students - Their Secret? They Didn’t Go To School and A diverse sampling of home schoolers.  Check out this book from the Colfax family called Homeschooling for Excellence which tell’s how this family’s home educated kids all went to Harvard despite having never gone to school. The family is comprised of their biological child and two children they adopted, (one black, one Asian).
5)     Know the pioneers and history of home education
There are many important voices in the home education movement.  You can start with these.
  • John Taylor Gatto - Click this link for a collection of his works.
  • Ivan Illich - Click this link for a collection of his works.
  • John Holt - Click this link for a collection of his works.
Home education is nothing new.  Check out these Fascinating Facts About the History of Home Education. There you’ll learn things like:
#11 Many exceptionally successful people were homeschooledDespite homeschooling’s mainstream acceptance, some stereotypes persist regarding their social and professional abilities. Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and John Quincy Adams were all homeschooled before going on to lead the United States, as was Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. More creative kids will be happy to find out that Frank Lloyd Wright, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Virginia Woolf, Ansel Adams and plenty more all grew up in such an educational environment as well.
6)    Read Books, Guides, Magazines, and Blogs
A great way to learn about home educating is to read about it.  Here are some books, guides, and blogs to get you started.  
  • Guides
    Guides provide a great way to find out more about a particular area of focus.  Here are two such guides that might be of interest for home educated teens.  
  • Magazines
    Read magazines on home education.  You can start with
    Home Education Magazine.
  • BlogsBlogs are a great way to connect with other home educators.  Find a couple that you like best and read, comment, and connect.  Visit this link for my collection of blogs from home educators.  If that’s not enough, “Enjoy Life Unschooling” has an extensive list of blogs by unschooling moms, dads, and children.  If that’s too much, start with some of my favorites.  

    My three favorites home education blogs are:   
    • Skipping School featuring insights from Kate Fridkis, a grown home schooler.
    • The Unplugged Mom is a place where respected voices in the field of home education come together to share ideas, articles, podcasts, and posts all in one spot.
    • Demand Euphoria smart insights from a mom who is a home education advocate, math tutor, and disenchanted former student.  
7)     Listen to Podcasts and Webinars
  • PodcastsPodcasts are a great, and hands-free, way to learn about a topic while you’re doing something else.  For instance, I listen to podcasts during my commutes, when I jog, when I clean up around the house, or when I go shopping. Something that is very cool about podcasts is you can double the speed and listen to an hour podcast in half the time.  You can also easily rewind or fast forward.  

    Here are two of my favorite podcasts about home education.  
    • The Unplugged Mom  - the podcast for the home educating parent, out of the box thinker, natural/holistic living family and those who choose to cut their own path by defying the status quo to find what works in matters of learning and living.  It is for anyone who wishes to unplug from the manufactured mainstream current and reconnect with reality!
      • Host Laurette Lynn, covers current topics of relevance and concern to the home educating and free-thinking parent.  Listen in for provocative and sometimes controversial discussions on matters such as home education and life-learning, education reform, legislation, childhood behavioral disorders and alternative treatments, natural health and wellness, important parenting issues and more!
    • School Sucks - The public school system sucks off the productive capacity of hard-working people. The system is coercively funded through taxation. In other words, whether public education succeeds or fails (spoiler alert: it fails) at providing real education to the public, the cost goes up every year. There are no refunds. Above all, this is a show about what one might do about the problems of school...
  • Webinars
    You may be interested in listening to webinars about homeschooling.  My recommendation is the one that I participated in :-)
    Unschooling PanelYou can listen to me, The Innovative Educator, Kate Fridkis, contributor to The Innovative Educator blog and author of the blog Skipping School, Monika Hardy, and Clark Aldrich author of Unschooling Rules book and blog  in a panel moderated by Steve Hargadon to discuss unschooling.  Details are at this link.   During the webinar we discussed:
    • Why schools are resistant to change and are stuck in the outdated, industrial mode of education.
    • Essential learning that most high schools forget to teach i.e. authentic evidence of learning captured in real world formats i.e. career or academic portfolios and resumes.
    • Why standardized testing doesn’t work
    • How the principles of unschooling can be applied in school environments.  

8)     Attend Home Education Conferences
Home education conferences provide a great way for home educators and their families to connect with others who share their interests.  The internet provides a great way to keep those conversations going.  Here is a listing of Conferences & Gatherings from the Unschooling Life site.
The conference I am most familiar with is The Alternative Education Resource Organization Conference (AERO).  The AERO conference provides a platform for dialog, movement building, and learning. Here is what you can expect:
  • Voices that address what “Transforming Education & Our World” means to them.
  • Developing learning environments that respect and meaningfully involve parents, administrators, students, teachers, and community members.
  • Increasing accessibility of learning environments to historically underrepresented communities.
  • Sharing practical skills to support of healthy, community-powered learning environments
  • Examining and understanding educational alternatives from multiple perspectives
  • Supporting authentic youth voice in our schools and other learning environments
  • Engaging with and highlighting established successful models and programs
  • Highlighting the connection between education and social justice
  • Discussing the need to work in partnership outside of traditional education circles to create a more balanced, just, and conscious world.
9)    Be Prepared to Respond to Common Criticisms
  • What about socialization?
    • Vickie Bergman, author of the Demand Euphoria blog has this advice:
10)    Take A Class or Join a Teleconference
Laurette Lynn, The Unplugged Mom has put together perhaps the best and most convenient way to learn how to get started with home education.  She has put together a teleconference and she also places all this information into a digestible class that meets each week.  Laurette has gathered all the resources and material for you and will take you on a great journey that will enable you to get going with home education in no time.  
  • Class - Embracing Life without School
    The class is only $40 which gets The Innovative Educator’s stamp of approval as not only a quality course, but an amazing price for what you will get in return.  Classes run on Wednesdays from July 27th to September 28th at 7:30 p.m. EST.  When you take a look at what she has in store, I think you’ll agree that you will leave this class confident and prepared to get going with home education.   You can find out more
    here
Class 1 – Unplug From a False Perspective: Misunderstandings and Myths
Class 2 – Pulling the Plug: Unplugged Education 101, Getting Started!
Class 3 – Legal Issues: Are we allowed to home educate?
Class 4 – Teaching our own Part I: Are we able to teach our  kids?
Class 5 – Teaching our own Part II: How do we teach our kids?
Class 6 – Socialization: Home educators are NOT socialized!
Class 7 – The Skeptics: Handling Objections from peers
Class 8 – College and Career: Validation and Certification
Class 9 – Being Unplugged: Everything changes! Adjusting to life without school
Class 10 – Summary and Salutations: reminders and remarks, comments and congrats!
*Mention this blog, the Innovative Educator, when you contact the Unplugged Mom and register for this class FREE!*
  • Teleconference
    If you’re not ready to commit to a whole class, join a free
    Home Ed 101 Teleconference which takes place on Wednesday, July 27th 7:30/6:30/4:30 PM (Central/Eastern/Pacific) The class will cover the top five things home educators need to know:
  1. Home Education is not school-at-home (it’s something better!)
  2. It’s “Legal” in every state
  3. We don’t socialize!
  4. You CAN teach your own child (and how!)
  5. Home Education is for YOU (not the very religious or only very rich or only very poor etc..)
Register here.
These live seminars are offered periodically throughout the year and offer a wide range of topics on home education, practical learning, philosophy, socialization, academics and more!   All seminars are recorded and then available for download after the live presentation.   The top names in home education guidance offer their expertise in this interactive seminar put out by Home Education Council of America.  
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