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Homeschooling Your Child

Each child, if given the opportunity, will learn at their own pace and in their own way. The beauty with homeschooling your child is that you can allow them to learn at this pace instead of being forced into a mold in order to keep up with fellow students in a public or private school. However, the question that holds most parents back is: Where do I start? With a little research this question can be easily answered.

The first thing to do is find out what your States' regulations are regarding homeschooling. Some states have stricter guidelines about the subjects you teach, they require attendance records, etc. These things are important to find out first. Do a google search with the search terms of "homeschool state requirements" and you will have a good number of articles to start with.

Once you know your State's requirements, you can start to build your curriculum. There are some very fine packages available out there that have a year's worth of school work. Some parents appreciate this type of routine. It makes them feel confident that they are staying on track with other children of the same age.

However, if a regimented schedule doesn't appeal to you, you will have to build a curriculum yourself. One of the most valuable things you can do is hook up with a homeschool group either online or in your local community. There are so many veteran parents out there that have experience with homeschooling. You will want to meet them and bounce ideas off them. They are a valuable resource indeed.

When your child is young, the most obvious subjects to start with are colors and shapes. Any number of homeschool sites can suggest crafts to do in the teaching of these things. For instance, my daughter loved making color collages. We would go around the house and find things that were a particular color and then glue them to construction paper. When it came to letters and numbers we made lots of fun crafts.

As your child gets older you can take field trips to the zoo or your nearest aquarium []. Zoos are the perfect place to teach your child all about animals. Have them pick their favorite animal and research all about it. Have them tell you what they learned when you are at the zoo looking at and observing their favorite animal. Do the same thing at the aquarium []. Use the opportunity to teach them all about fish and aquatic animals. Your child will love it!

One of the main things to remember is that you need to be organized. The ideas are endless - sometimes to the point of being overwhelming. Set aside a folder specifically for your homeschool ideas. When you find something that you think would be fun, write it down. That way you'll have it handy when you're ready for that subject.

Above all, to successfully homeschool your child you will need two traits: patience and flexibility. Some activities your child will love, others they will hate. Don't take it personally. If an idea flops, don't force it on your child. Just find another way to teach them. After all, it's THEIR education. For example, I thought it would be fun to pop popcorn and count them, letting my daughter eat all the popcorn she could count. That was a royal failure. My daughter loves popcorn, but for some reason counting it was not her idea of fun. It no doubt would have worked if I used M&M's, but that was a sugar high I was not willing to tolerate. So I put aside the numbers for the day and we worked on a color collage instead.

Some days you will have your child's attention for half and hour, other days only 10 minutes. Don't worry about this. The point is that you do something with them everyday. I have given my daughter a week or two break and she came back refreshed and ready when we started up again.

So now my daughter is 5 and she knows her colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and can read small words. I would say we are succeeding at a great rate! And the thing that I love the most is that I can step back and say, "I taught her all of that!" It is a huge reward for the effort, and an opportunity and privilege I wouldn't trade for anything!

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