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So You've Decided to Homeschool ... What Now? (page 2)

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Updated on Mar 5, 2009

Don't worry about finding the perfect fit. Parents should feel free to mix and match methods, according to Dunaway.

Another to keep in mind is how specialized you want your curriculum to be. At about age 9, children tend to hone in on particular interests, such as music, dance, or foreign language, according to Griffith. She says those interests can be satisfied through tutors, or mentors in the community who enjoy sharing information about their life's passions. Homeschoolers can also trade their skills with a practice known as co-oping. If you have a background in English, for instance, you may be wondering how you'll teach trigonometry. Well, there may be a parent with a degree in mathematics in your area thinking, “How am I going to teach grammar rules?”

If there aren't any homeschoolers nearby, the Internet remains one of the best ways for parents and students to research interests together, Griffith says; not only does it teach the child about the subject, but also about the process of learning. “You come across a lot of crummy information. This gives kids practice picking and choosing, rather than just taking the information that's handed to them in a textbook,” she says.

What about assessment? Some parents choose a traditional grading system, some keep narrative evaluation in the form of journals and diaries, while others prefer portfolios. Griffith says most parents will develop an intuitive sense for how their child is doing, and learn to ask themselves the essential questions, “Are they curious and do they have the skills to follow up on their curiosity?”

Most of all, learn to live with uncertainty, and don't be afraid to follow your gut. Intuition is key for homeschoolers, Griffith says, especially when the going gets tough. Public school parents worry, too - it's part of being a parent - but that doesn't necessarily mean your child is on the wrong track. Learning to trust yourself and your kids will prove to be your greatest tool.

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