Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knowledge Quest Inc's Homeschooling ABC's *PARENT Course* **

 Back in October I wrote a short "Preview" on Terri Johnson's Homeschooling ABC's~ a 26 week course for the new homeschooling parent. You might want to check it out again, and then read on. I was very impressed at the time, and excited about the potential for this course, and I still am!

Terri has broken down many of the tasks of a new homeschooling parent into less overwhelming "Bites", and added in other topics that might be easily overlooked by an overwhelmed, under-prepared homeschooling "Newbie". (I will likely use the term "Newbie" liberally, as it's quicker to type than "New homeschooling parent"...)

She addresses ALL Newbies, whether just "Researching" and in the preschool/kindergarten stage, or the abrupt "pulled my child out of public/private school mid-school-year because it isn't working for our family" stage. I will say that she doesn't jump into choosing curriculum right away(Terri doesn't address it thoroughly until the 6th week, but for a good reason!), which won't help with the mid-year jump in the short term(Letters of Intent, etc...) but will save a lot of time, stress, and money in the long run. I would also say that some of the first lessons may look at first glance like much of what is being shared applies mostly to those beginning their journey with the K/1st grade type ages, but no fear, there is a great deal of good, solid information and help here for the Jr High and High School Newbie as well. After all, most of scheduling, teaching and running a homeschool is the same, whether you have a young child or an older child, 1 child or many children. Learning and Education are .... Learning and Education! :)

So, what does this course "look" like?

Terri walks the Newbie through, from 10 simple steps to take in the first week, tackling the Basics(Bible/Character training and the 3 R's), to determining your teaching style(Educational Philosophy... Traditional, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic, Unschooling, Unit Study, etc...), and your child's/children's learning style(s) (there are three... do you know them?), as well as how to choose your curriculum, and then she delves into specific topics.

The timing and spacing of these lessons will help you make wise curriculum choices that fit YOUR family without overwhelming you right away with multiple books to buy, read, and research. She's done a LOT of that work for you! The number of resources and topics linked (in such an orderly and timely fashion) is fantastic. It would take ever so much more of your time, energy, and yes, almost certainly money, to come up with all of this information on your own.

While some people might prefer to get this information all at once, I really like Terri's concept of the weekly lesson for the parent. Each week she sends out an email with a link to that week's lesson (going from A-Z) She explores the topic, includes those links to resources that I just mentioned, gives an assignment for the week(just the right amount to keep you moving in the right direction without getting overwhelmed), and often includes a free "Bonus" gift (typically a download) that various companies have made available for those who take the Homeschooling ABC's course. In fact there are over $250 worth of materials that are included. That is a lot of bang for your buck!

Here is the "Syllabus" for this course, from A to Z

A Great Start in Homeschooling (10 first steps to take)
Begin with the Basics
Copy the Classroom (Not!) (organizing you space and schedule)
Dare to Differentiate (Learning Styles)
Establish Your Philosophy of Education
Finding the Best Curriculum for Your Family
Get Together~ Networking with Other Homeschooling Families
Hands-On Learning for Greater Retention
Internet and Library Research Skills
Just Say "No!"~ Staying Focused and On-Track (and when to say "Yes!")
Keeping Up with Kindergarteners and Preschoolers (and other little ones)
Living and Learning At Home(Keeping Up With Life)
Math Can Be Fun
Nature Study and Science Exploration
Out the Door~ Time for a Field-Trip
Phonics, Reading and Spelling
The Quintessential Expression of Art and Music
Review and FAQ
The "S" Question~ What About Socialization?
Teaching the Multi-Age Homeschool
Used Curriculum - What To Do With It
Writing's not so Tough!
EXplore His Earth through History & Geography
Yes, You Can Homeschool High School
Encouragement & Direction for the Months/Years Ahead(OK, so there isn't really a "Z".... but 25 out of 26 isn't bad!)

As someone who has been homeschooling for 7 years, I can say that it was a great "refresher" course for me, and I wish that it had been available when I was starting out. I can also see that I will be pulling it out again as a resource down the road.

As a support group leader, I can say that it is a unique resource which answers a lot of the "How do I....?" questions, that I will be pleased to recommend to new homeschooling families.

Terri gives you the encouragement, the tools, and the confidence to get your homeschool up and running. The cost of her course is $10/ month for the duration of 6 months(billed monthly). It's hard to beat that kind and quality of help for $2.30/week!

You can check out Homeschooling ABC's free 5-day mini course, to get a taste of what Knowledgequest and Terri Johnson have to offer the newbie homeschooler, and if you like what you see, sign up for the full course!


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