Sunday, February 15, 2009

Homeschooling ABCs from Knowledge Quest

Homeschooling can be a lot of things...exciting, adventurous, and a whole lot of fun. It can also be frustrating, confusing, and downright intimidating. Without a plan, some wise advice, and a little bit of hand holding starting out in homeschooling can seem overwhelming. I am blessed to live in a location that has an extensive community of homeschooling families. I am able to ask questions and receive answers and help whenever I am in need. But even so, this very first year of homeschooling has had its moments of doubts and tears. Where can I get help at answering questions about getting started in homeschooling when sometimes I don't know enough to know what questions to ask? Terri Johnson at Knowledge Quest has put together a 26-week resource called Homeschooling ABCs to fill this very need.

Homeschooling ABCs is a weekly PDF lesson sent by email on various topics useful to both the just-getting-started and the already-done-this-for-a-few-years homeschooling families. Each of the 26 lessons, labeled A through Z, are about 10-12 pages in length. The first six lessons give a good explanation of how to get your homeschool started: basic supplies, setting up a space in your home for learning, understanding your children's learning styles, determining your education philosophy, and finding curriculum. From there Terri takes you through steps to make homeschooling a successful experience: getting in touch with other homeschoolers for support (either local or online), incorporating hands-on learning in each subject, developing research skills online and at the library, how to establish and guard homeschooling time, teaching Kindergartners and Preschoolers, and juggling house maintenance, daily living, and learning all in the same space. Terri goes on to get more specific in certain subjects: making math fun, how to plan science over the 12 years of schooling, teaching reading and spelling and phonics, planning field trips, why music is important for children to study, and helpful information on teaching special needs children.

My final verdict: I have only received lessons A-R, but they have all been wonderfully helpful and packed full of great extras. I am confident that lessons S-Z will prove just as useful. I like how the lessons begin at the beginning helping answer the very basic questions like: How do I start homeschooling? I had never seen a homeschool day in someone else's home, so starting was almost the hardest part. It's great to have some handholding right in the beginning! It was also very, very helpful to read about the different teaching and learning styles. Before starting in homeschooling, I would read brief mentions about Charlotte Mason, unschooling, classical education, kinesthetic learners, auditory learners, visual learners...what did it all mean? Terri lays out the basics to quickly end the confusion. The other lessons that I've appreciated the most: choosing curriculum and living and learning at home. I am excited to see what the final 8 Homeschooling ABCs lessons will hold!
Terri Johnson has done a fantastic job making brand new homeschoolers feel more at ease about the decision to homeschool and making it happen successfully. Homeschooling families with a few years under their belts will appreciate the ideas that may help to refine certain parts of their homeschool. And everyone will love all the freebies that are included in each lesson when you sign up for Homeschooling ABCs. The cost is $10 a month for 6 months...that figures out to only $2.30 per lesson! I would highly recommend you check out Homeschooling ABCs from Knowledge Quest!

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