Monday, February 16, 2009

Homeschooling ABC's Email Course


I remember way back, thirteen years ago, when I first began looking into homeschooling. I didn’t know anyone at the time who homeschooled their children and had no idea how to begin myself. I was finishing my last semester of college and asked my Elementary Education professors if they knew how to get started in homeschooling, but they had no clue. It was the early days of the Internet chat rooms and email loops and I finally found support and information that way, which was wonderful. Even then, I have to laugh looking back at my early expectations. It would have been nice if I’d had a veteran homeschooler who could come alongside me and hold my hand a little through the first year. The Homeschooling ABC’s Email Course is much like having that friend share what they’ve learned to help you get started in homeschooling your child.

Terri Johnson, of Knowledge Quest, sends you an email each week for 26 weeks. Each of these will cover a different topic to help you find success in your homeschooling venture. These start with A Quick Start- 10 Steps to a Great Start in Homeschooling, which is a very gentle reminder to relax and enjoy your decision and your children. The next several lessons include Begin With the Basics, Copy the Classroom-Not! (organizing your learning space & schedule), Dare to Differentiate (teaching to specific learning styles), Establish your Philosophy of Education, and Finding the Best Curriculum For Your Family. Many of the lessons include bonus e-books to help you implement the ideas shared.

These lessons are definitely skewed towards the author’s personal perspective and philosophy of homeschooling, much as it would be if you had a friend sharing advice. She seems to prefer a more relaxed, non-textbook format (as do I, although she seems more heavily influenced by Charlotte Mason’s philosophy). There are many variations in homeschooling and you will want to do what is best for your family. Even if her philosophy does not line up with yours, it is still very helpful to the beginning homeschooler to know what they should be looking at and considering. For example, most beginning homeschoolers do not even think about defining their personal educational philosophy. This is bound to evolve the longer you educate your children at home, but simply taking the time to think about your goals for your family is very beneficial.

The e-books included are very impressive as well. I was expecting fluff articles but instead found lapbooks, sample schedules and planners, an Internet Scavenger Hunt, 50Famous Stories Retold, and other gems. These are bonuses that will actually be useful to you in your first year of homeschooling and that tie in well to the lesson of the week. There also links included to helpful sites most homeschoolers know about but new homeschoolers may not yet have stumbled upon.

A Christian perspective is not just implied but is an imperative. The first basic listed is Bible and it is stressed as the most important tool for learning. A large sample of the curriculum Foundations 1: Preparation for Christ is included as a bonus. Several other books are also suggested to help in the Spiritual training of your children.

This lesson series seems to be geared toward the Elementary age bracket and so would be most helpful to those beginning homeschooling with younger children. Although you could start with this week one of your new educational adventure, I would recommend beginning a couple of weeks before if possible, as there is a lot to consider.

I wish something like this had been available thirteen years ago. I would definitely recommend this to my personal friends as a good resource for the first year of homeschooling, so I feel confident in recommending it to you as well! You can subscribe to Homeschooling ABC’s at Homeschoolingabcs.com for $10 a month for six months. This is a total of twenty-six lessons, spread over twenty-six weeks.

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