Hi, my name is Stacey and I have 6 kids ages 8, 7, 5, 3, 1 and 2 mo. We live in Rio Rancho, but are possibly moving back to Albq. very soon. My older 3 will be in 3rd grade, 2nd grade and Kindergarten this coming school year.
I really want to homeschool, but don't really know where to begin. Is it too late to notify the superintendant? I need all the help I can get really. LOL.
Stacey, it isn't too late to start homeschooling at any time you want. You're required to fill out the intent to homeschool form (online) within 30 days of establishing your home school. So, if you started tomorrow, May 7 you'd have until June 7 to submit the form.
I wouldn't start with a specific curriculum yet. Take the rest of the summer to research both various curricula and your children's own learning styles. I could recommend a curriculum that's worked great for me and my family and it might not be nearly as good a match for your style or your kids' learning styles.
There's a great homeschool fair coming up the end of May--I don't know the specifics because we're going to be out of town then. You should be able to see samples of a bunch of stuff then. Also, you can do a search for "homeschool curriculum."
Not here to give any particular advice but just wanting to encourage and support you What everyone has said is great . . .
The first year of homeschooling is like learning to walk; so, be as easy on yourself as possible. You'll find yourself questioning your decision 1000 times; but, know that is totally normal and everyone of us went through it until we "found our groove." And even after you "find your groove", you might change-up-the-mix multiple times after that as your kids send you signals and you develop your intuition further . . .
When I finally got my footing in homeschooling, I was astonished when I looked back and realized that I finally had claimed ownership of my motherhood completely at that point because I was no longer disqualifying myself as a non-expert on child-rearing. It took some time to really trust myself (PARTIALLY because of all the invalidating of parents that goes on in our society these days . . . mass media, etc.) and once I did, things just took off
You have a beautiful journey ahead of you that is going to bond you all so tightly. Simultaneously, each kiddo's individuality and innate gifts will be supported and your kids are just gonna launch! It may take some time to see this (as the kids adjust, deschool, and you find creative ways to nurture yourself).
I have some questions for you when you get a chance:
1. Do you already see an excited anticipation in your older children? aka. Are they in the process of "deschooling"?
2. Are your younger kids happy to have their older siblings around yet?
3. Are the kids interacting as a team yet? Or, the precursor to that, are they "battling out their differences" in order to "find their place" in the pecking order?
4. How are you feeling? Are you being easy on yourself? Does this feel relaxed, intense, or somewhere in-between? Deep down, does it just feel "really right" and does it feel like you're "trusting the process"?
Often, there is much chaos before things "come together . . . " Sending you lots of TLC and hugs!
And, oh geez, I forgot to help add to the conglomerate answering of your ultimate question, "How Do I Get Started?"
How about this: One bite at a time. We all got started differently, depending on what was eating at us . . . Start with the most satisfying thing on your checklist . . . and work your way down that booger!
And once you feel clarity and a sense of adventure kick-in . . . explore, explore, explore! Because YOU get to be a kid all over again! yay!
I say start by just being with your kids! And do what you normally do in your life. Kids learn about life from life, not books and work sheets and tests.
I recommend hooking up with other homeschoolers. Talk to parents that are going or have gone through this same process. Everything Diane & Carissa said is right on. Don't invest in a large curriculum right away. You may very likely be disappointed. Don't rush yourself either. It takes time, like months, to find your groove.
Enjoy your kids!!
Adam (12 y.o.) Allison, aka DD (10 y.o.) Ian (7 y.o.) Jason (5 y.o.)
While I totally agree about not buying curriculum right away (because when you're new and insecure, you're a perfect target for the high-priced-but-not-necessarily-worth-it curricula out there, that promise you the world but don't deliver), I have found a few resources useful:
What your X grader needs to know, a series of books by Hirsch - find them at the library or used book stores Books to Build On by the same author Free online resources, such as Starfall for learning to reading Relatively inexpensive online resources, such as Alex for math The wonderful, amazing, absolutely fantastic http://www.rainbowresource.com for all things homeschooling at a discount-- request their their phone book sized catalog
Oh, and I checked the online intent to homeschool form. You're right, the link is broken now. I wouldn't sweat it. If the link is broken, no one can register, not just you. So there's no way you can be late that way.
I would encourage you to get "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum" by Cathy Duffy. I was so over whelmed by all the different curricula out there and what kind of learners my sons were, etc. This book was a huge help for me.
The first few chapters she helps you establish your learning style, your children's learning styles, establish you philosophy of education, who should learn what when, etc. Then she puts it all together for you and then suggests curricula that may work best for you and your children.
As for getting started, I would agree with the other ladies, take this summer to prepare and shop around. Another good resource is the Education Resource Center. They have many of the curricula available for you to look at, plus a trained person there to help with questions, etc. However, for you getting there could be a problem as it is way up in the heights. The you can reach them through firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't have their phone # handy, but I would definately contact them before you make any plans to go there, because they keep very limited hours. (every one there is volunteer). Last but not least, ERC will keep you posted on what is going on for homeschoolers, once you join up.
Lastly, I would recommend CAPE (Christian Asso. of Parent Educators) if you go to church. It is cape-nm. They do all kinds of things in ABQ and around the state. They also sponsor ERC and because of that I just found ERC's phone # in the CAPE news letter I have 292-3156. I also see that CAPE has a resource manual with for beginner and veterans. Some of the topics include: Curriculum options, suggestions for getting started, home school check list, NM laws and applications, testing and accountablility, etc, etc, etc.