The Schoolhouse Review Crew offered up the challenge of Goals for August as the challenge for the week. I’ve been a bit stumped until I remembered that one of my goals for August is to find a way to help support homeschoolers in my community.
To that end I made a post in my local buy and sell group on facebook. I mentioned that if people had questions about homeschooling they could contact me.
How to Start Homeschooling in Ontario
Two ways depending on if your child has been part of the public school system or has not.
If they have in the public system been you need to send a letter of intent to your school board. Just tell them that you’ll be educating your child at home. They can’t demand additional information, you just need to tell them your intentions.
If you have never had a child in the public system, you simply start schooling.
What to Teach?
Homeschooling in Ontario is unregulated. This means you don’t need to follow the public school curriculum. You can design your schooling around the needs of your children.
If you do want to follow the Ontario school curriculum the Canadian Homeschooler has pulled together checklists up through grade 8.
A general suggestion if your children HAVE been in the public system, take some time off school (the summer is great for that). Observe your children, see what their interests are, observe their strengths and weaknesses, then consider what they have to learn. You use that knowledge to help teach your child.
For kindergarten, grade 1…you’ll find TONS of things online for them for free. You can buy a curriculum but you really don’t have to. You read, play a lot, and use life to teach.
English, Math, and Social studies form the basis of study for the younger years, adding in history, geography, science, as they climb through the elementary grades.
If you have a child who is fascinated by dinosaurs, kittens or dolls…use that interest to help them learn. You can do this through any of the grades. It doesn’t matter if you study the lifecycle of insects, or you study how bears or sharks. You can use the interest in one thing to segway into another topic. You sometimes never know where your studies will end up!
My son’s love of toads got us into carpentry, pond building, science of insects and reptiles, art, history, biology, soil composition, geography and engineering (toads have this amazing ability to climb and dig!). His love of weaponry had him researching history, ww1 and ww2, building armour, shields and various pieces of weaponry. Learning airspeed, sighting and sightlines, tension and accuracy. It’s fascinating how one interest can spread into increased learning.
Is it expensive?
To be honest, homeschooling is as expensive as you let it be. You can homeschool for free, or you can pay big bucks for curriculum and there is EVERYTHING inbetween.
One of the best sources of schooling that I have found is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. They provide a complete curriculum for your entire family. K-12. A lot of their 450 courses are interactive. They are American-based but honestly.. science, geography, social studies… pretty much the same right? Right now they have a huge deal on where you can get two years for the price of one. HUGE savings! 🙂 Use the coupon code SHARK20. You’ll only pay 179$ (US) for two years and thereafter only pay $179 for your annual membership.
One thing you need to weigh out is, free means more parental involvement in finding supplies, books, and piecing items together. This can be part of the joy of homeschooling though, finding all the pieces that make it work for each child.
A paid all-in-one curriculum means the work is done for you. All you need to do is purchase and set your children up. The younger your students are the more hands-on you’ll need to be regardless of what method you use. Also the newer to homeschooling your children are the more assistance they will need.
Homeschooling is not just school at home, it’s learning to be independent, to make choices about your learning, it’s learning to find how to work your way through difficult subjects, and promotes more internal accountability. The sooner you realize the difference between homeschooling and “school at home” the easier it will be for you and your children.
Where to do your schooling
My son does most of his schooling sitting on his bed with his cat beside him. 🙂 But occasionally joins me on the main floor with laptop in hand.
We have schooled at the kitchen table pondering the mysteries of math, meandered through a forest doing art and science together, partaken in field trips enjoying hands-on, immersive experiences, and learned geography and minerology hiking trails together. Learning can be done anywhere as long as you are willing to take the opportunity.
What are your goals for August? Are you working to support homeschoolers or new to homeschoolers in your area? If you live in South Huron I invite you to join my facebook group South Huron Homeschoolers. Together we can help our children learn.