Saturday, January 31, 2009

Considering or Beginning Homeschooling Resources, Part II

If you've already decided you want to homeschool,
but aren't sure where to go from there or how to begin, JOIN MACHE!!

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MACHE is the
Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators. (MACHE is pronounced like "Mah-shay" as in "papier mâché.")
MACHE leadership is comprised of home educating parents who have "been there and done that." They seek to provide help for parents who would like to take control of their children's education in their own homes. (From the MACHE website)

Worth the price of membership is the Member Handbook each member recieves. It is FULL of everything you need to know in order to homeschool in Minnesota. It includes How To, Special Needs, Jr. & Sr. High, Scope & Sequence, Support Groups, Curriculum & Suppliers Lists, Minnesota Law, Legislative Affairs and Forms & Reference Materials. Wow.
In the How To section there is a "Homeschooling - Is It For Me" questionaire (also available online), a "How To Begin" step-by-step outline for beginner homeschoolers, sections on record keeping and resources for testing, advice for fathers, and much more! If you'd like to take a look at my binder before deciding on membership, I'd love to loan it to you.

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Another great thing MACHE offers is their Considering Homeschooling Workshop.
These workshops are designed especially for parents who are exploring the possibility of home educating or have recently begun the journey. Parents with children of all ages will find this workshop informative and practical. From the infant to the high school senior, parents are the most significant teacher their child will ever have.

What are some of the questions this workshop will answer?
  • What are the legal requirements for a parent to homeschool?
  • What do I need to get started?
  • Am I qualified to educate my children?
  • What about the socialization of my children?
  • Where do I find curriculum?
  • How do I choose curriculum?
  • How do I know it's the right choice for me?
  • What are the advantages of home educating my children?
  • How much does home education cost - financially and in other ways?
  • What if my children are older and in high school?
  • How is home education different from other education choices?

The next Workshop is on Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 9am to Noon
Three Rivers Church
5532 Hanrehan Lake Blvd. Savage, MN 55378 Map
$10.00 registration fee per individual or married couple
Register Online (Go to the MACHE Home Page and
click on the Online Registration link)
Direct all workshop questions to MACHE -- 763-717-9070 (local) or 866-717-9070 (out state)

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Lastly, every year MACHE holds an annual Conference and Curriculum Fair in April. This is the premiere opportunity for parents to get together and learn the "how to's" of homeschooling. It's amazing. This year it's being held April 3-4 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. You can find the complete brochure, Exhibitor and Speaker information, workshops and schedule at a glance on the website. This is really worth attending. I can't tell you how much this conference has informed, motivated and blessed me each time I've attended! Don't miss it!

However, if a two-day, information-packed conference seems like too much, consider attending one of the Special Sessions on Thursday April 2nd from noon to 5pm: "Getting Started 101: The Basics for Beginners" (For those who are planning to begin homeschooling this fall or just needing some extra help with the basics) or "Homeschooling Through High School" (for families of upper elementary and middle school students, as well as for those whose children are currently in public or private schools).

The cost of each of these two Special Sessions is $10 per person and is separate from the Conference registration. You will NOT need to register for the Conference to attend either of these Sessions. Detailed information is in the Conference Brochure and online. This would be a great use of $10 for anyone considering or beginning homeschooling!

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If you plan to attend the conference, let me know and we can ride together or meet up for lunch or something! It's more fun with a friend. :)


Friday, January 30, 2009

Considering or Beginning Homeschooling Resources, Part I: Books

Several friends have recently asked me to share some "Considering Homeschooling" or "Beginning Homeschooling" resources that I have found helpful. While it's tough to narrow down the books, websites, articles and blogs (there's so many great ones!), here are some of my favorites.


The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
by Susan W. Bauer and Jessie Wise

Although focusing on Classical education, this book is hands down one of the very best for any homeschooler. The first book I read, and the one I refer back to the most. If you get one book, get this one. "This book will instruct you, step by step, on how to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school - one that will train him or her to read, to think, to understand, to be well-rounded and curious about learning."

More at The Well-Trained Mind website.

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
by Karen Andreola

"A thorough chapter-by-chapter overview of the inspiring teaching principles of Christian educator Charlotte Mason, this book reveals the practical day by day method of how to teach "the Charlotte Mason way". The author offers friendly advice, and humor, along with the joys and struggles of real homeschool life. The book covers education, parenting, homeschooling and lots of encouraging advice for mothers."

This book has really shaped my homeschooling philosophy. Though the Charlotte Mason approach to home learning differs from the Classical, I've found ways to incorporate what I love about each style into our homeschooling and loved the somewhat eclectic result. You don't have to be married to one "style". Find what works - read books on different approaches, take away what seems good and don't worry about the rest!

More at Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company.

Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
by Harvey Bluedorn and Laurie Bluedorn

Reading this book is what convinced us to homeschool Grace, over 5 years ago! The book is very big and an indepth look at Classical education. If you don't want to buy the whole book, I recommend checking out their website; they have condensed versions of many of the book chapters. Specifically, I recommend:

Homeschools Should Increase, and Classrooms Should Decrease (Or, Seven Problems with Classroom Schools) - the article that started it all for us!

Seven Undeniable Truths of Homeschooling - all parents are Homeschoolers. It's just that some parents Homeschool more than others.

Ten Things to Do with Your Child Before Age Ten

More at Trivium Pursuit.

For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School
by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

The pioneering book about Charlotte Mason education, but offers so much more! This book is a classic and a must-read.

"For the Children's Sake is a book about what education can be--for your child, in your home, and in your school. It is based first on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human--to be a child, a parent, a teacher--and on the Christian meaning of life. At the same time it is deeply practical. Many of the central ideas have been tried and proven true over a century in almost every kind of educational situation. The ideas are in fact so true that they can be applied equally at home, in different schools, in Africa, in the inner city, and in your own community. But they are also ideas which Susan and her husband Ranald Macaulay have tried and proven in their own family and school experience."

I own all these books, plus several more good ones that I didn't mention here. Please let me know if you're interested in borrowing any of them!