Thursday, January 30, 2014

Finding your spot

So you just pulled your child out of traditional school?

After you have decided that homeschooling is right for your family and met all your state's legal requirements, I suggest a different first step than most. Many will suggest starting by choosing a curriculum, and I say... that can wait a minute.


Am I out of my mind?

Maybe, but try to stick with me...

If your children have already been in a traditional school setting, you'll need some time for them to decompress and for you to figure out your child's learning style. Wait to spend the money and countless hours researching curriculum. 

First step: find your spot.

Create a weekly routine around a museum your child enjoys (get a family membership!). There's probably a zoo, science center, or art museum in your area. There's the library. A park. A cozy coffee shop where you can read. There are lots of possibilities and spots to try on!

Maybe this will be your permanent spot, but it could change with the season or your interests, and that is okay.


There is so much learning to be soaked up at any of these places, without any lesson planning or prompting on your part.

Finding a place you enjoy and consistently seeing the same librarian, curator or regular patrons helps with the "s" word. No, not that one. Socialization. (But busting that myth about homeschooling, well, that's another post!)

Field trips are so important to any education, and in most school settings it's just not possible to do many. My sons once compared this with a cousin who went on a single springtime field trip with her class, and they got tired of counting their year's field trips around 30 or so. 

You and your child will make so many discoveries! For example, maybe...

  • An astronomy exhibit might be your child's favorite section of the science center each week. Eureka! You've discovered that for science, Astronomy and Earth Science might be the place to start! 
  • You'll see that your child is drawn to the fiction side of the library, and you'll decide that reading historical fiction (like War Horse and Little Womenwill become a bigger part of your history studies than encyclopedias. 
  • Your child who couldn't sit still in class might be more focused and calm after a few hours on the playground, and you'll discover that math and grammar are easiest to tackle after they get their wiggles out. 

So, please enjoy a moment of "unschooling" before you try on different curriculum and school styles, before you build your dream school room at home and before you commit to any co-ops. This is a new experience for your family, so take a few weeks to decompress, explore and find your spot. 

Veteran homeschoolers: how did you find your spot? Where was it? 

New homeschoolers: what spots are you curious about? What discoveries are you making about you and your child?

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