For many people, homeschooling is a desirable alternative to the education offered by the public and private school systems. When you homeschool your children you have the flexibility to create an educational curriculum more suited to their needs. Homeschooling also makes economic sense, especially when you consider the costs involved with sending multiple children to a private school. If you’ve made the decision to homeschool your children, the first step in establishing a viable curriculum is to read widely.
To begin with, you have to ensure that you educate yourself on a wide variety of topics. While it may be tempting to focus exclusively on books teaching you how to homeschool your children, you shouldn’t rely on these too heavily. Keep in mind that pedagogical method is only as important as your knowledge of a subject, and focusing your reading entirely on how to homeschool your children will leave you lacking in the practical knowledge necessary to execute it.
At first, the reading required in order to homeschool your children may seem daunting – after all, a teacher is only required to be knowledgeable on the subjects they teach, but you’re going to be teaching all of the subjects. Keep in mind, however, that you needn’t be an expert in every subject – one of the great things about homeschooling is that you can learn together with your child. Instead, it’s more important that you have a good general knowledge of the history of the subjects being taught.
In most cases, a good “history of” on the subjects you plan to teach should be sufficient. Because it is impractical to read an entire bibliography for multiple subjects, you want to instead read a couple books on each subject that provide you with a good homeschooling starting point. In other words, you’re not going to be an expert, but you’re going to know the general concepts and be able to answer basic questions. Most importantly, you’ll know which writing to explore further if you and your child’s interest takes you in that direction.
The amount that you have to read will depend of course on your child’s age and the level and depth of the subjects you’ll be teaching, but a good starting point is to read a standard book that a high school student would have to read for a given subject. Remember that specific areas of a subject can be explored as you go, so you needn’t be able to answer every question your child might have in depth before you start. Instead, you need a good knowledge of the history of the subject, so you can arrange a curriculum that makes sense in a liner way: you want to know how the subject works, and how it is taught. You want to know the “building blocks” – what concepts to teach first, and how to build on those first concepts.
By reading widely in this way you’ll arm yourself with the necessary tools for homeschooling your child effectively, and provide yourself with the basic knowledge from which you and your child can explore particular areas of subjects further.
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