"Is Homeschooling Expensive?"
Homeschooling can be expensive or inexpensive, elaborate or simple. Your choice of books and resources, where you acquire them, and the number of children yo have will determine the expense.
It would be easy to spend a bundle on all the scrumptious learning materials and books available. On the other hand, a superior education doesn't have to mean an expensive one. With the Internet, there are so many valuable resources avilable that you could probably homeschool your children K-12 and barely spend a penny.
You probably already have many things you can use. Books can be read again and toys can be taken apart and put back together. Go through what you have, looking at each item through the eyes of a homeschooler.
Ask relatives and friends for dusty treasures like books, microscopes, or telescopes. Ask other homeschoolers for things they're done with that you could purchase or borrow. Check out eBay, thrift stores, garage sales, and used book sales. Be sure to pick up a book on simple carpentry. You'll need bookcases soon! Build your own and cover some geometry too!
Once you start homeschooling, you'll look at things differently. When you ask, "What can my children learn from this?" it's amazing how you'll begin to look at everything in a new way.
"Where can I find materials and resources?"
The Internet is a one-stop shopping place. Look through catalogs and websites. find a homeschool convention and go! Look, learn, and browse. Talk to the vendors, who have a wealth of information to share. Don't forget to pay the laborer his dues and buy from those you learn from.
"How can I teach several ages at once?"
Few homeschoolers have children all in one grade! Instead of giving them all books for their own grades, teach them all together whenever you can. Teach history by reading a novel aloud and then giving each child age-appropriate assignments. Multi-level teaching is simple, and it works. Give your children their own books for the thre Rs and teach everything else together like "the old one-room schoolhouse" teacher did!
Multi-level teaching takes less time and is less expensive than using classroom curriculum. Be sure to look at unit studies when teaching different levels at the same time. We recommend www.Konos.com and Steward Ship (www.UnitStudies.com).
"What about socialization?"
One of the most common and silliest questions homeschoolers are asked is whether their children will get the socialization they need. Think about it: aren't there a lot of public-schooled children who can't relate to adults or other children? Go to any local public school, walk the halls, and watch for behaviors that you want your children to imitate.
You don't have to be with other people of the same age group in order to socialize or "be socialized". As adults, we would consider time spent visiting with our sister, mother, or grandmother to be legitimate socialization. This is true of children also. Whether they are spending time with their peers, parents, grandparents, or siblings, they are socializing. And aren't they good at it?
This information is still coming from my pamphlet that came with one of my issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and I will continue with more common questions in my next post.