In case you didn't catch it, Part 1
Part 2 of my little series will deal with more of the "nuts and bolts" of home education, containing more of the logistics for homeschooling in Minnesota. Keep in mind that some of what I say may be specific to my state; be sure to check out HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) for your state.
So you've decided to homeschool. While you are waiting for your catalogs to arrive, the first thing I tell people to do is join MACHE, HSLDA, and your local homeschool support group.
What? What is this lady talking about?
Oh, sorry. I'll slow down a bit.
If you live in MN, I highly recommend that you join MACHE, the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators.
I tell people that this is by far the best $35 I have ever spent on anything for our homeschool. Many states have similar organizations. Joining the state support group will help you feel more "plugged in", "in the loop", or any number of other catchy phrases.
I consider my membership, and the information I receive as a member, a little like Continuing Education classes. As the teacher, you need to be sure you are availing yourself to this kind of support from other homeschoolers.
My second recommendation is to join HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. HSLDA advocates for home education on the legal front, onCapitol Hill, in state legislatures, in the media and for the home education movement.
Even if you never need their services, your membership money can help make sure that our freedom to home school remains secure.
We didn't join when we first started homeschooling, thinking the cost too great. They have since added a monthly debit option which has made it much more affordable for our family.
Third, join your local support group. I resisted this at first. I still remember my dear friend Jen (who now lives FAR FAR AWAY *snif*) telling me about our local group. She called it a "support group" and I remember thinking, "I don't need anyone's support. I just took my kids out of public school in order to teach them myself. I don't need anyone telling me how to homeschool!"
See, I had this idea that a "support" group would be where a bunch of ladies sat around and as the meeting began, would introduce themselves by saying, "Hi. My name's Melissa and I'm a homeschool mom." And the rest of the group would respond in chorus with, "Hi Melissa." Like some sort of Al Anon Meeting. I pictured them telling me all the steps to "do it right". (I have since learned that there are no such steps!) It didn't take me too many months into the school year before I called her up and said, "When's the next meeting???????"
Our local group has a once monthly Mom's Night--oh, how I cherish these nights AND the ladies that come! Each evening has a pre-determined topic that we discuss. It is a great way to meet other moms who are in the same boat as I am; we share our ideas, our struggles, our failures, our successes, our crazy stories of the day...we laugh and we even cry together. It is a wonderful time of fellowship and a great way to strengthen our resolve to keep on keeping on.