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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Should I Jump In?

Why not? I'm not going to jump in to homeschooling the kids next week, but I am jumping into my planning for next year. Yay!

I considered waiting until we get settled in Washington, but for a few reasons I've decided not to. First of all, I'm going to have plenty of unpacking and setting up our home to do. I don't really want to tackle that and figuring out what, when, where, how, and why I'm going to teach the kids for the year. Secondly, we aren't likely to get into a place there until July. I know that school doesn't start in the Pacific Northwest until September, but I'm eager to get started a little earlier than that. We're putting a lot of miles on the ol' minivan this summer and the kids are going to be ripe with fresh knowledge and excitement after traveling up the East coast and across the Northern US. I want to capture that momentum. Besides (and thirdly) I've got plenty of momentum of my own right now.

A year ago when the thought of homeschooling crossed my mind I felt extremely overwhelmed with the thought of staying with my kids 24/7 and being solely responsible for their academic upbringing along with every other aspect of it. But now I don't worry about that so much. Now I don't worry about that so much. In fact, since considering the option of homeschooling seriously I haven't felt overwhelmed at all. I've felt excited, but not in over my head.

Until now...but just a little bit.

I just found myself with papers scattered around me on the couch and six different pages open, all to try to figure out where to start and what to write on all these papers!

I've looked at so many websites and read a few books, flipped through others. I've learned a few things. One thing that I was happy to read early on is that I can't teach the kids everything. I think that's great news! They'll learn a lot in the Gebel Family Homeschool but they'll also learn in any number of other ways and they'll still never know everything. No one can. Good to know.

I also learned that when looking at the abundance of information out there about homeschooling take what appeals to you and leave the rest. That's the reason I've only flipped through a few of the books I've gotten from the library. Not everything seems like a good fit for me, as teacher, or for my kids, as learners.

So, with these two things in mind,here I sit with six fantastic sites and blank planning pages to fill out...

1. Our Busy Homeschool has become one of my daily reads. I'm inspired by most everything I read there. Tristan uses a year round school year and unit studies to educate her five kids.
2. Donna Young has a ton of planning tools (forms, lists, articles) to help you get organized and stay that way. She has a great step by step approach to planning for beginners. And that's me!
3. The Homeschool Classroom also has lots of information about getting ready for a new school year. The specific article I linked you to assumes that you're preparing for the new school year as your finishing the current homeschooling year. Since I'm not in that situation, I've tweaked some of the suggestions to fit our lives. For example, with our upcoming move, I'll be missing homeschool conventions here in Georgia and there in Washington. Attending convention is a common suggestion and one that I think would be a great way to really immerse myself in the homeschooling world. Lucky for me The Old Schoolhouse is having an Online Expo. I'm registered and excited!
4. Curriculum Choice has a "New to homeschooling" button that provides you with a wealth on info, including how not to feel overwhelmed and how to write a family mission statement. I don't know if we'll get a mission statement in print before Scott leaves for his school in two days, but it's surely something I'll be working on over the next few weeks. I'll be working continually on not feeling overwhelmed.
5. and 6. There are two homeschooling methods that intrigue me. I'll probably lean toward using unit studies but with a dash of Charlotte Mason Education thrown in (if it's possible to toss in such a wonderful and in depth learning program).

So, here I am...jumping in feet first. Now that I've outlined my online resources for you I feel ready to start writing something. But, that will have to wait until tomorrow...it's past my bed time.

Good night for now. I'll keep you posted on the planning of our family school soon enough...sweet dreams!

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