Maybe you're researching home education way in advance of your child turning 6, or maybe you've decided (for whatever reason) to take a child away from a registered school and home educate them - often the first thing on a parent's mind is WHERE DO I START?!
If you are in New Zealand I can help you out there. If you're somewhere else in the world try and find a local or national home education support group.
So - for all you kiwis my top 5 tips are:
1. Download and read my "Beginners' Guide To Home Education"
It's free! But if you'd like to pay $3 for the download I would appreciate that. :)
The Beginners' Guide answers so many of the first questions a searching parent may have.
2. As mentioned in that Beginners' Guide - the National Council of Home Educators New Zealand has a website with even more information in it, pertaining to home education in New Zealand.
3. Also mentioned in the Beginners' Guide - Cynthia Hancox has a guide for completing the Application for Exemption - used and found to be invaluable to hundreds of New Zealand families over the years! Find Cynthia's website here.
4. This next tip is both an exciting part, and sometimes a challenging part of home education.
When considering HOW you are going to educate your children (don't forget that actually you have been educating them since they were born!) - it pays to look at YOUR LEARNING STYLE and that of your child.
I was fascinated by this topic when I started to learn about home education but I kept running into a brick wall because I actually didn't know my own learning style. Having come from a regular schooling background that didn't encourage and celebrate individual learning styles, I had to wait years till I figured it out.
Don't wait years!
Look closely at yourself. Look at how you react in different circumstances. Figure out what brings you joy, what seems like a chore, what you do because it's the adult thing to do and must be done. Separate all these things out and FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE!!
And now, look at your child. What do they love? What do they struggle with? Are there things they struggle with that can be dropped from their lives because really it doesn't matter? Or perhaps the struggle things can be put aside for a few years? Are they introverts? Extroverts? Artistic? Mathematically minded? Figure your child out, spend time with them enjoying each other's company WITHOUT EXPECTATION and see what you think.
As you figure out your learning style, and that of your child, you can start to formulate an ideal plan in your head of how you want home education to look. You might never achieve the goal of the ideal plan. But you might realise it wasn't for the best anyway. Or you might achieve it but both be uncomfortable with it, so move forward, change things. But at least you've got a starting point.
As explained in the Beginners' Guide there are various styles of home education - from formal to unschooling, and it's exciting to know that YOU can choose how you'd like to do things.
and the last hint:
5. Gather people around you who are a little further along the journey than you, and also some who are at the same point in the journey. It can take time to find families you gel with - similar goals, similar parenting styles etc. You might not find families in real life, but even online relationships can help a great deal!
I might come back to this subject some other time, but hopefully those 5 hints will encourage someone who is stuck at the start line. xx