Here is a step-by-step guide to start STEP 1, the answer to the problem of education for students ages 5-6, and for preliterate students.
Before Starting -- Decide whether or not you wish to home school. If you're homeschooling, here are steps you will need to do. The first is FIND OUT WHAT YOU'RE REQUIRED TO DO LEGALLY TO HOMESCHOOL IN YOUR AREA AND DO IT. This may include registering your child as a homeschooler with a local school district, if they are of age. It may also require that you sign your child up with some sort of existing, and possibly accredited program. We are not a homeschool program, we offer curriculum only. You will need to establish ways of recording attendance and student accomplishments daily, for legal purposes.
Determine a semester schedule. When will you start and end? You might wish to align with your local school schedules, so that your student has time off when they do. But you certainly do not need to do this. Homeschoolers can do "school" whenever they want, day or night, summer or winter, spring or fall. This is one of the freedoms of homeschooling.
- Decide if you will work with a single student or a group. This does not impact your use or purchase of our courses, as they are designed to be done either way. However, it will determine how much space you need and how that space is organized.
- Purchase the needed courses and read them over, so you fully understand what each course requires.
- Purchase our inexpensive Reading Program which is built around the concept of word recognition rather than phonics. You may integrate this with an existing program you're using, particularly a phonics program, if you wish. Start working on reading every day.
- (Optional) Locate and secure a math program you have faith in and can deliver to a good result.
- Many lessons use objects and materials. You will certainly want storage for materials and courses. The student should have a table to work on that can be scarred and damaged a bit. Don't use wonderful furniture, use chairs and tables that can be used and abused comfortably. There should be room in the room to move about. The room should essentially be odor free, and comfortable as to temperature. The fewer visual distractions the better. Windows are nice, however. There should be a minimum of dangerous items the student could misuse. No phones in the room at this level. You may want to set up a computer on the Internet for certain supervised exercises, but have it on a password and keep it off most of the time. You will need a TV and DVD player, but keep it off entirely when not in use.
- There are materials you'll need to start:
- Each course three hole punched (IF you decide to print the course) and placed in a hard notebook you can carry
- A computer on the Internet
- A globe (optional, but a good idea)
- Pencils, paper
- Access to a play area, ideally with trees and flowers
- Determine a schedule you will use. We suggest the following, based on a reading and math program being integrated;
Morning -- A breakfast without sugar of any kind, and with a fair amount of protein, would be a good idea each day for the student.
9 a.m.--Some sort of fun morning orientation to get you and the student going. Maybe a walk, a game, or something along these lines. Keep this to under 15 minutes. Make it a part of your routine and theirs. Vary what you do as an orientation from week to week, somewhat.
9:15 a.m.--Either Living Your Life, or Creative Writing, which will account between them for 5 days of curriculum per week.
10:05 a.m.--A break. Maybe a non-sugar snack. Fruit might be a good choice.
11:00 a.m.--Play for 10 minutes.
11:10 a.m.--Either History or Science, which will account between them for 5 days of curriculum per week.
1:00 p.m.--Whatever reading program you're using. (You can put this back a half-hour if a nap seems in order after lunch. Your call.)
1:45 p.m.--End of study. Some sort of extra-curricular activities would be a good idea, such as organized sports, swim classes, dance, art classes, you name it. If your student is home schooling, after hours they should probably do things with other children.This schedule provide just over 3 hours of actual study time per day. We ask that you work to find ways to seriously restrict your student's TV, Internet, and electronic games. We have found these things more than simply distractions, and believe that they can be quite destructive when done to excess, of the student's ability to create, and to concentrate. Reading is good, and interactive "live" games and activities with family and friends. Creative assignments that the student is actually interested in without prompting is also very good. Creative assignments the student initiates are superb.
ALWAYS acknowledge your student when he or she completes a lesson plan! Let them know they did a great job. We all like to be told that.
- Keep your on-going clear daily records of attendance and accomplishments. Keep your legal requirements in and up to date. Home schooling should actually be your RIGHT, but many governments have turned it into a privilege. Do what is needed to protect your ability to home school, if you are home schooling. By all means, keep everything your student creates as a part of their schooling. Have separate folders for each subject work. Make certain work is clearly dated.