Homeschooling Yourself

As a homeschooling parent, I do lots of research into what curriculum and methods I should use in order to best teach my children.  I enjoy reading books that talk about the methods that work for other homeschool families, and sometimes I find excellent and helpful tips.  I have books about the theory behind various genres of homeschooling and on what specific items I should be teaching my children. Those latter books, primarily the What Your [enter grade here] Grader Needs to Know series, were very dear to me as I first started out. Now that I’m figuring out what works for my kids–and that my kids don’t have to learn a specific list of facts and content created by someone else–I’m less inclined to pull them off the shelf.  In fact, they didn’t come off the shelf at all this school year…that is, until I had a moment of panic as I thought about whether the kids were prepared to take their achievement tests.

But in addition to books written strictly for a homeschooling audience, I think that college-level text books intended for Education majors who will go on to teach in a traditional school setting are, or can be, a jewel.  I’m currently reading Comprehensive Classroom Management: Creating Positive Learning Environments For All Students. It’s a 4th edition, with a good number of mistakes that should have been caught by an editor; but it appears that there are 10 editions, so those mistakes have hopefully been corrected by now.  I received this book for free at a yardsale.  I am enjoying my reading, and even taking notes on my favorite parts.  While I’m just simply enjoying reading this text, I am hoping that I can apply some of the concepts in this book to managing my multi-age, multi-grade homeschool classroom. I know there are probably homeschool-specific books out there with advice for helping me deal with the different attitudes and personalities of my kids in the classroom.  But for now, this is what I’m reading.

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The next homeschooling-related book on my ‘to-read’ list is Homeschooling and Loving It by Rebecca Kochenderfer.  (I received it recently through a freebie deal offered by Educents, a school and learning related deal site.  Although this particular deal is no longer available, they always have a lot of enticing and valuable deals.)  I’m not certain when exactly I’ll be able to start reading it.  That’s because I’ve decided to focus my personal education on topics related to my professional career–which, yes, I will get back to sometime down the road.  In the meantime, it seems taking classes is probably one of the best things I can do.  I recently discovered www.edX.org and I have registered for some of their classes that start this fall.  Their classes are free, and the lectures are taught by professors at places like MIT, Harvard, Georgetown, and more.  You can simply audit the class, or you can complete it and earn a Certificate of Mastery.  No, it’s not college credit (unless you find a college that will accept them as an equivalent, which I’m sure exists somewhere–or soon will), but it’s proof you did the work to complete a class.  In order to prepare for one of the classes I’m registered for, I need to study basic Biostatistics and Epidemiology.  I will be using OpenCourseWare in order to do this.  For those of you who have never utilized OpenCourseWare, I highly recommend it!  It can help you gain knowledge at your own pace for your personal or professional pursuits.  There are many courses listed under the ‘Education’ heading that homeschooling parents might find interesting or useful.  I also think it will be very useful as a homeschool supplement when my kids are bit older. (My oldest will begin 4th grade this fall, so, for the most part, we’re still in pretty basic stuff right now.)

What are you doing to ‘homeschool yourself’?  Are you working on professional material?  Homeschooling parents, do read only books specifically for homeschooling, or do you, like me, enjoy books intended for traditional teachers?  Do any of you have education or homeschooling books you love and recommend? I would love to hear about them so I can place them on my ‘to-read’ list!

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