homeschool parents receiving training?

Having problems figuring out where to start? Let other homeschoolers offer you some advice!

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truly blessed
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homeschool parents receiving training?

Postby truly blessed » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:10 pm

I was wandering if anyone knew of any online courses out there to train homeschool parents how to effectively teach with structured lesson plans, assessments, grading, testing, etc. I feel if I could receive such training I would be even more effective in homeschooling my kids. Please advise. :o

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Postby Anne » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:20 am

Re online courses to develop homeschooling skills: unless you have a special reason for wanting someone else's acknowledgement that you've gained those skills, my personal opinion is that you can teach yourself just as much without a formal course, using books that you choose yourself along with other resources such as tapes, Internet articles, and knowledge gleaned at conferences and homeschool meetings. You might consider keeping a personal binder (or some kind of computer equivalent) of the best stuff you find. You can find most of the information you've listed in one book or another, or by doing a Google search.

I think this way is better than taking a course because, other than some of the standard stuff such as how your state wants you to report (what's supposed to be on a standardized test, what's supposed to be in a portfolio), much of what you need to know is going to be very specific to you and your family. If you have ten children, you'd do well to study a book by someone with a big family (such as Mike and Vicki Farris, or the Boyers who wrote Yes, They're All Ours). If you have just one, you could learn a lot from Donna Conner's book about homeschooling one child. You could spend a long time learning from Charlotte Mason's six packed-full books on her philosophy, or you could get a general overview of the same thing by reading For the Children's Sake or one of Catherine Levison's books. You might end up creating a whole subsection for yourself on teaching spiritual values, or on classical education, or on apprenticeships and high school. Nobody out there knows everything about every kind of homeschooling for every situation, so that's why I'm saying that you yourself are probably the best qualified to pick and choose what you want in your own "course of study" as a homeschooling parent.

That said...there is a Christian college that offers distance education courses in homeschooling...probably the only "official" thing like that out there. And I can't remember the name of it because I've misplaced their catalogue...but if I can find it again, I will post it here.

truly blessed
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new homeschooler

Postby truly blessed » Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:37 pm

Thank you for your response. So it would be good to find someone who knows the particular state I am living in (Florida) and know the homeschool laws well. I actually knew of an acquaintance who went throught training where the person was a certified teacher in her state and basically trained her on to use and implement the state standards and align them with lesson planning, assessments, and instructions. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

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Theodore
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Florida homeschool law links:

Postby Theodore » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:47 pm

Here are some links that will help with the Florida homeschool law aspects:

http://www.fpea.com/Guide/index/css/Guide_3.html
http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp?State=FL

-Ted

Anne
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Postby Anne » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:39 pm

Well, looking at the HSLDA link Theodore gave you, the requirements for Florida seem to be that, if you're doing it on your own, you register, keep a portfolio of work, and arrange for some kind of annual testing. That in itself is more than some states require, so I can't see why you'd want to put yourself to more work than that, at least in terms of trying to implement state standards, because there aren't any specific subjects or topics that you're legally required to cover (at least according to this website). You might use your state scope and sequence as a reference if you're looking for ideas, but remember that those things are written by committees, designed for big groups of children (from all different backgrounds and with all kinds of needs), and they're usually written in such educationalese that even simple topics get made into complicated ones. You know your own child best, and just because the state standard in math is such and such, there's no legal reason why you have to be "on the same page" as a public school classroom. You don't have to teach like a classroom teacher, and there are good reasons why you shouldn't. Mary Pride's book Schoolproof is a good antidote for that (and that's not a commercial, I'm not paid to say that, I just like the book).

Another book that might help is Rebecca Rupp's book about K-12 curriculum. It's not written from a Christian point of view, if that matters to you, although it doesn't necessarily exclude Christian materials. What it's really good for is taking typical scope-and-sequence requirements and translating them into activities and names of books that you could use at home. If the requirement is that third graders learn about the three types of simple machines, she then recommends a library book, a readily-available science kit, or some other simple approach that doesn't require you to have complicated lesson plans or reproducibles or mind-boggling activities prepared.

Ruth Beechick's book You CAN Teach Your Child has been around for awhile but it does have a good section about dealing with (interpreting and making use of) standardized tests.

I think you'd be on the right track by trying to get in touch with a local or state support group, and talking to other Florida people about how things actually work in your state--whether they do the group homeschool thing or register individually, and how they handle the testing requirement.

Hope this helps.


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