Some of you may have home schooled for a while or have always wanted to home school. Some of you may be kind of thrown into it due to this virus and shutdown. Whatever the case may be, one of the things I have found to be incredibly helpful is learning how to organize.
Each state has its own rules or laws about home schooling requirements. Most have some sort of hour requirement that must be reached in a school year. Most consider a school year from July 1st – June 30th. In my state the starting age for school is when they turn 7 by the start of the school year. Now, this doesn’t mean that I wait until my kid is 7 to start kindergarten. That would not be fair to the child. I would still start them at age 4-5 and can learn and grow with the child. I would have to begin recording my child’s schooling at age 7.
You may say, “How would I even begin recording my child’s learning?” Great question and it took me years to figure out something that worked for me. Actually, a combination of things are what works for me. The first thing I needed was a digital avenue for recording my kid’s subjects and where I could enter what they did each day in detail. I wanted something that I could set up for each kid and they could view on their own what they needed to do each day so they could get it done independently. I found a website called Homeschool Skedtrack. This works for me because it has the function for each child to have their own login to the account and their own separate viewable daily school subjects. This also has the ability to keep track of grades and tracks how many hours each child had completed for the year in both core and non-core subjects.
I am not one that can just do digital and be done. I need a hard paper copy also that I can take notes and jot down times and then transfer to the digital avenue. I also have a great fear that something will go wrong with the digital information and I will lose everything and not have any tangible information recorded. Having the hours and information logged in more than one place is always the best plan. I tried cheap teacher’s planners from Target and I was never satisfied with how they were laid out. They were more structured for large classrooms and there wasn’t room for very much information. After several years of dissatisfaction and trying different cheap books, I decided maybe I needed to spend a little more money for better organization that fit a home schooling parent’s needs. I found Well Planned Day by The Well Planned Gal.
Last year I bought only the planner and wished I had a calendar/organizer that matched it that I could take with me. The planner is a little larger to be able to fit more information but I needed something smaller that I could organize our calendar, field trips, events, etc. For 2020-2021 I ordered a planner bundle pack which came with the large planner, on the go planner, and a digital magazine. Win, win, win! It was around $60 for all this and I felt that was well worth it for my sanity.
Now that you know about good planners to get you started, please know the laws for your state. This is very critical in doing everything right and not facing criminal action against you. That being said, it is always a good idea to have a legal backing just in case a disgruntled neighbor or family member called Child Protective Services and turns you in for not sending your child to school. It has happened more often than you know. If you have a legal defense team in place, you have nothing to worry about. HSLDA is great and they will help you with anything home school related as far as information and protection. You can pay monthly for their service or they have the option for a lifetime membership. We knew we would be homeschooling for longer than 10 years so it made more sense for us to get the lifetime membership. We took our tax return one year and laid it down for peace of mind and security that we would be protected in home educating. Thankfully we haven’t needed defense yet in the 8 years we have been schooling.
Another thing that I have found very helpful is having a support system in place. A group of people that I can ask questions to, get tips and tricks, chat about struggles, borrow books and needed supplies from and even have my kids attend parent led classes with. There are groups like this in most cities and states all over the world. The one that I am involved with is called HELPS (Homeschoolers Encouraging, Learning and Providing Support). I have met so many amazing home school parents and their kids. It has definitely made the experience that much greater.
What are your thoughts on home schooling? Do you home school? Have you ever thought about it? Are you thinking about it now that you have been home educating anyways? What are you most afraid of with the thought of it?
I want to hear from you. Please share your thought and comments with me.