Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Homeschooling ABCs by Terri Johnson

In August, Knowledge Quest had an offer to take the first five weeks of their Homeschooling ABCs course for free. I decided to do that, and I'm glad I did.

The first five weeks are covering the very basics...

A: A Quick Start. 10 Steps to a great start in homeschooling. This lesson was pretty much aimed at people pulling their kids from school to begin homeschooling, and it does a great job of outlining good first steps. As a forever homeschooler, there wasn't a lot that applied to me, but it was nice to get a reminder of the value of connecting with your kids and having fun together.

B: B is for Basics. This focused on the things that are truly essential to be teaching. I really, really needed to read the reminder about Bible and Character.

C: Copy the Classroom -- NOT. Great lesson on organizing and planning. What subjects do you need to cover, how do you figure out how much to do or how much time to spend... the lesson includes forms for planning. Solid lesson.

D: Dare to Differentiate. This one has to do with learning styles, a topic I tend to pooh-pooh. However, reading through what she has to say, and taking a test for myself online (that showed I was Multi-Modal, or some such phrase) and I realized that I dismiss the importance of learning styles because I learn well using any of them.

E: Establish your philosophy. This goes through some of the types of homeschooling: unschooling, school at home, classical, Charlotte Mason, maybe something else. As is usual in almost every modern definition of classical education, it is defined by the Trivium. Regardless, it was a good overview, and I liked the message that eclectic is not just okay, it is pretty normal. Use texts for math, unschool science, take a literature approach to history -- many of us use more than one style, depending on the subject and the age of the child.

Overall, I think this is a solid product, and I'm glad to have taken these five lessons. She's giving away the entire series, and I'd love to do that. For parents just starting in homeschooling, I think it is a bargain at $10/month. For moms suffering homeschool burn-out, it is probably also a bargain. And for moms who need some encouragement, or need to refocus, or are facing a change like kid #2 or #3 being school-aged this year, I can also see the value.

For me, it probably isn't worth the price, though. Not that I don't have things to learn still, but I am at a point where I feel pretty comfortable with the whole homeschooling thing. Most of the time. Now, their series for high school? If I had an extra $15 a month at this time of year, I'd sign up for that in a heartbeat.

Note: posting this is one of the things I can do to be entered into a drawing to win a couple more lessons or the whole series. The chance of winning this does not impact what I have to say, but obviously it did impact the timing of my saying it.

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